Ferndale Becomes Fourth Michigan City to Decriminalize Entheogens

The city of Ferndale has joined a small but growing number of cities in Michigan that have decriminalized entheogenic plants such as DMT, psilocybin mushrooms and ayahuasca. The Ferndale City Council announced last week that a motion to decriminalize entheogens had received unanimous approval.

While the resolution doesn’t legalize entheogens outright, it will make the prosecution of entheogen-related offenses a low priority for law enforcement. The resolution comes amid a surge in psychedelic research which revealed that hallucinogenics such as ayahuasca and magic mushrooms have potential mental health benefits.

According to the resolution, clinical and scientific studies coupled with traditional practices have shown that entheogenic plants can “catalyze profound experiences of spiritual and personal growth.” This has led to a multitude of state and local governments across the country that are considering either decriminalizing or outright legalizing the therapeutic use of entheogens.

The therapeutic potential of such hallucinogenics is so great that several universities and even the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs have involved themselves in psychedelic research to develop psychedelic-assisted therapies.

Ferndale is now the fourth city in Michigan to decriminalize entheogens alongside Anna Arbor, Detroit and Hazel Park.

Last year, psychedelic reform activists began taking steps to put a measure to legalize psychedelics on the statewide 2022 ballot. However, the activists including Students for Sensible Drug Policy announced in June 2022 that rather than trying to get a psychedelic measure onto the 2022 ballot, they would focus on qualifying such a measure for next year’s ballot.

Michigan Initiative for Community Healing Myc Williams said at the time that their aim of meeting the June 1, 2023, deadline was ambitious as activists had two months to collect the requisite signatures for the initiative. Williams said in a press release that it was time for the campaign to refocus its energy and that the activists would harness the momentum they had already built to get the measure onto the 2024 ballot.

With the resolution in place, the “planting, cultivating, purchasing, transportation and distribution” of entheogenic fungi and plants will have the “lowest law enforcement priority.”

Resolution sponsor Mayor Pro Tem Kat Bruner James said that the city will use funds that would have been spent on enforcing the psychedelic prohibition on other city functions.

Billy Horton from Decriminalize Nature Ferndale thanked the Ferndale City Council for approving the resolution to decriminalize entheogenic plants. He said that the Ferndale chapter of Decriminalize Nature would continue its efforts to educate the public on the safe use of plant medicines.

This drive to educate the public about plant-based medicines comes at a time when various enterprises, including Compass Pathways PLC (NASDAQ: CMPS), are taking major strides forward in the quest to commercialize therapeutic formulations from psilocybin and other psychedelics.

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