Ann Arbor City Council Votes to Decriminalize Psychedelics

Earlier on Monday, the Ann Arbor, Michigan City Council unanimously voted to decriminalize a wide range of psychedelic substances. Decriminalize Nature Ann Arbor, an organization that advocates for decriminalization of entheogenic plants such as ayahuasca and psilocybin, with different branches across the country, brought the proposal before the city council.

Council members Jeff Hayner (D) and Anne Bannister (D) sponsored the measure, which is similar to previously approved measures in Santa Cruz and Oakland, California.

In a recent press release, Hayner said that the decriminalization of naturally-occurring psychedelic medicines is necessary for progress and that we could no longer keep turning a blind eye towards the benefits that these medicines possess.

In addition, chair of Decriminalize Nature Ann Arbor, Julie Barron, stated that as a therapist, she saw a lot of people who desperately sought help and despite the scientific evidence and clinical trials on psychedelic plants/fungi that show their potential benefits, they’re not available to the people of Ann Arbor. She added that Western medicine had eliminated the use of these psychedelic substances and the resolution was a step in restoring the connection between man and nature.

The measure discusses a number of potential therapeutic applications of psychedelic substances, including the treatment of depression and addiction. It also adds that psychedelics can bring about profound experiences of spiritual and personal growth.

While manufacturing and commercial sales of the substances will still be prohibited, the resolution declares that the investigation and arrest of individuals for cultivating, planting, purchasing, distributing, transporting, possessing or engaging in practices with entheogenic plant compounds or plants that are on the Schedule 1 DEA list will be a low enforcement priority for the Ann Arbor City.

Barron added that Decriminalize Nature Ann Arbor had asked the city council to help eradicate the fear of prosecution and arrest of people who use these substances. They instead asked that the community continue to offer harm reduction practices and educational practices as they build a container for the substances’ use.

This is another win for the psychedelics reform movement that has spread across the nation since last year when Denver became the first city to decriminalize psilocybin mushrooms through a voter initiative.

In Washington DC, activists have successfully qualified a decriminalization of psychedelics measure for the November ballot and the recent polls show that the support for policy change is strong.

In July, Oakland activists released a proposed initiative to allow Oakland residents to use various plant medicine entheogenic substances in healing ceremonies. Last month, they revealed guidelines for safely and also effectively taking part in those ceremonies.

The winds of change are blowing, and they are blowing in a direction that companies like Pure Extract Technologies Inc. probably prefer.

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