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D.C. Could Decriminalize Psychedelic Plants and Mushrooms

D.C. Could Decriminalize Psychedelic Plants and Mushrooms
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An initiative to decriminalize magic mushrooms and psychedelic plants in D.C. is one step closer to getting on the ballot this November. 

The people of the District of Columbia find that use of entheogenic plants and fungi have been demonstrated, through scientific studies, to be beneficial in addressing a variety of afflictions including substance abuse, addiction, trauma, post-traumatic stress syndrome, chronic depression, anxiety, diabetes, cluster headaches and other conditions; and that practices with entheogenic plants and fungi have longs existed, have been considered sacred to a number of cultures and religions for millennia and continue to be enhanced and improved. –Section 1. Findings and Declaration of Policy, ENTHEOGENIC PLANT AND FUNGUS POLICY ACT OF 2020

The Entheogenic Plant and Fungus Policy Act of 2020

Yesterday, proponents and supporters of the Entheogenic Plant and Fungus Policy Act of 2020 gathered in front of the D.C. Election Board to argue for the medicinal benefits of psychedelic mushrooms and plants. As the Election Board Chairman D. Michael Bennet attested, the proponents’ testimonies were “compelling.” Thus, the advocates succeeded in convincing the board to allow them to move onto the next arduous step.

Now Decriminalize Nature DC, the advocacy group leading the charge, will have to gather 25,000 signatures from DC voters before July 1st in order to get the measure on the ballot this November. 

The Objective is to Decriminalize Psychedelic Plants

Following in the footsteps of cities such as Denver and Oakland, the objective is to simply decriminalize psychedelic mushrooms and plants. Joseph Sandler, an attorney for Decriminalize Nature D.C., clarified that “The proposed initiative would not in any way legalize, or reduce any penalty for possession, use or distribution, of entheogenic plants. “It would simply enact new language establishing a new policy to be implemented by MPD.” 

Spokeswoman Shares Her Story

At the head of the movement is Melissa Lavasani, a budget officer at the D.C. Department of Energy and Environment. Her own personal battle with severe led her to experiment with taking microdoses of psychedelic mushrooms. In just a few days after starting, “Everything started to transform in my life,” Lavasani said.

“People are suffering. And if you’re not suffering, you know someone that’s suffering. This issue really touches a lot of people in this country. Our message is we want to educate you on safe use, we’re not advocating for partying with it. This is very serious work for us,” Lavasani said.

Now that the ballot initiative successfully got over this hurdle, the proponents can focus their energies on educating the public in order to obtain the necessary signatures. Though the D.C. Board of Elections agreed that the evidence was compelling, the proponents now need to convince D.C. voters.

Support the Decrim Initiatives Across the Country with Your Voice

Along with D.C., dozens of cities across the nation are advocating for policy change around psychedelic plants. And they need our help. The supporters of the ballot initiative stepped forward yesterday. They shared their own “compelling” stories, bolstered by the scientific evidence. This made a difference.

This is why coming out of the psychedelic closet is crucial. Our voices will push these ballots through the initial procedures. More importantly, the majority of the citizens in the United States remain misinformed and miseducated. This is not a time to be silent: share your stories and educate yourself. Converse with those in and out of your circle about the evidence that is coming out and your own journey. As Lavasani said, educating the public is paramount in the pursuit of our freedom to consume responsibly and in tackling a huge crisis that indeed affects us all. 

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