From Massachusetts to California, advocates are actively making new strides to reform local laws governing psychedelics like psilocybin and ayahuasca—building on a national movement that has already seen numerous cities decriminalize entheogenic substances.
The momentum of the psychedelics decriminalization movement is abundantly clear when one considers the geopolitical landscape that’s being targeted by activists associated with Decriminalize Nature of late. The latest cities where the reform move is generating steam are Easthampton, Massachusetts; Grand Rapids, Michigan and Arcata, California.
Here’s a breakdown of where the efforts stand in each city:
The Easthampton City Council is exploring a resolution to decriminalize a wide range of entheogenic substances. Passing the measure would mean that Easthampton would be the fourth city in Massachusetts to enact the reform.
Councilors Owen Zaret, Thomas Peake and Salem Derby are sponsoring the resolution, which seeks to make enforcement of laws against certain psychedelics among the city’s lowest priorities. Advocates with Bay Staters for Natural Medicine have helped spearhead the effort.
“This is an opportunity to be forward-thinking and make a statement to undo historical harm done by criminalizing plants that have clear therapeutic properties,” Zaret said in a press release. “People should not be arrested or incarcerated for essentially using medicine. This lays a path towards legislation that allows for de-scheduling these plants, and creating a reasonable and safe regulatory framework for entheogenic therapy outside of the reach of Big Pharma.”
Law Enforcement Action Partnership (LEAP) is also supporting the reform, and advocates have already met with local police officials to discuss the issue.
“Many officers know arrests can make people suffering substance use disorder even worse off,” James Davis, a volunteer for Bay Staters for Natural Medicine, said. “We are grateful to first-responders having tough conversations in their own departments about how to