In the November 2020 elections, Washington D.C. residents will have the historic opportunity to successfully decriminalize plant-based hallucinogenic substances. Supporters of the Entheogenic Plant and Fungus Policy Act (Initiative 81) recently collected more than 25,000 signatures. This was the prerequisite to get the initiative on the ballot. They collected 25,477, to be exact.
There is overwhelming support for psychedelic decriminalization in the District of Columbia. It is attributable to the emotional shock caused amid the pandemic. The unintended consequences of the coronavirus pandemic extend from the shutdowns of education and implementation of new social protocols to millions of job layoffs and business closures. Accordingly, psychedelic therapy may be the only viable method to safely and effectively treat increasing rates of emotional trauma. Recent polls indicate Initiative 81 is favored by more than 55% of the Washington, D.C. voters. Yet, the ruling ultimately lies in the hands of Congress.
The Psychedelic Medicine Space
The current psychedelic renaissance has shed light ton psychedelics and plant-based hallucinogenic. They are not just substances, but rather plant-based medicines. A variety of psychedelics, including cannabis, psilocybin (magic mushrooms), and ayahuasca, have a long history of being used as traditional medicine in local communities. Nonetheless, ethnopharmacology, or the study of medicines derived from plants and fungi, hasn’t been in the spotlight until recently. Many renowned researchers and doctors anticipate that the pandemic will create one of the worst mental health crises in modern history. And while our society is also currently facing an opioid epidemic, the last thing that Americans need is further prescriptions for painkillers to suppress and blanket depression and anxiety.
To eliminate opiates and combat the mental health crises, researchers are finding psychedelic treatment and therapy are essential. This is especially true in our current crucial and potentially fatal circumstances. Doctors and healthcare professionals have dramatically shifted their pharmaceutical model, from a lifetime of drug-taking to organized psychedelic therapy sessions with a trained counselor. A specific number of treatment sessions with a psychedelic substance have proven to be life-altering and enduring for patients experiencing mental health ailments. The universal plant-based medicine breakthrough in the scientific community has just begun. However, many states, as well as D.C., still outlaw such psychedelic substances.
The Voters’ Majority
While the District of Columbia currently stands against the use or possession of psychedelics, other states are all-in for plant medicines. Take Denver, Oakland, and Santa Cruz, for instance. With hopes of aiding residents’ mental health conditions, these cities have effectively decriminalized psilocybin. This is transforming the country’s medicine space permanently. As D.C. residents campaign for drug policy reform and aim to decriminalize psychedelics, so do those in other states across the country, like Oregon, Montana, and Arizona.
The plant-based medicine movement is spreading nationwide. A handful of Congresspersons, however, are against cannabis and psilocybin legalization, concerned about potential abuse and adverse side effects. Likewise, they are wary of the dangers of engaging in activities while under the influence. These members of Congress include Rep. Andy Harris (R-Md.). Nevertheless, cities like Washington, D.C. are beginning to push to legalize plant-based psychedelics for therapeutic purposes. Needlessly to say, a majority of D.C. voters favor the decriminalization of psychedelics amid the COVID-19 outbreak.