Canadian Government Gives Formal Response to Petition to Decriminalize Psychedelics

Officials of the federal government of Canada have given an official response to a petition that called for psychedelic decriminalization in the country. The statement highlighted that there were various ways for some individuals to obtain exemptions to consume the substances legally, despite the drugs being illegal for the Canadian majority.

Government ministers stated that the psychedelic substances had to be studied more before any reforms were made. The petition, which garnered almost 15,000 signatures, was launched on the House of Commons’ site earlier this summer. The appeal requested legislators to decriminalize entheogenic fungi and plants to be used in various therapeutic practices, including healing ceremonies, as well as medical care.

Typically petitions have a 500-signature threshold, so by getting almost 30 times the number of signatures required, this proposal qualified to be presented to Parliament, with the government required to respond within 45 days. The petition was also read before the House of Commons on Sept. 30, 2020. The formal response from the government was announced last week.

The petition also calls for the government to respect the cultural and historical traditions around psychedelics. This would be done by the discontinuation of the enforcement of regulations or statutes that ban or impose heavy restrictions on adult use as well as the sharing or growing of any fungi or plant, particularly with regard to traditional use.

Ministers of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness, Health and Justice all issued statements. Despite two of the statements admitting that there are opportunities for solitary exemptions under the CDSA for specific types of drug use, all statements re-emphasize that the trafficking and possession as well as the manufacture of psychedelic substances are still illegal acts.

Psychedelic substances are required to be approved by Canada’s drug review process and be authorized by Health Canada before they can be used as a mainstream therapeutic.

David Lametti, the attorney general, stated that the law provided the Minister of Health with the power to grant exemptions from the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act for scientific, medical and other public interest purposes. The latter included the protection of fundamental freedoms, such as the freedom of peaceful assembly, expression and religion. Lametti added that the extensive decriminalization petition wouldn’t comply with Canada’s agreement with international drug conventions, which include the Psychotropic Substances UN Convention 1971.

There is hope, however. In September, Patty Hajdu, Canadian health minister, gave four cancer patients an exemption that would allow them to have their end-of-life care include the use of psychedelic mushrooms.

The psychedelic and functional mushrooms sector in Canada is witnessing a growth spurt. Cybin Inc. (NEO: CYBN) is one of the key players in this industry, and its management team, which has an impressive list of clinical studies under their belt, is poised to make the company a leader in the psychedelic medicines and related products space.

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