Seattle Decriminalizes Psychedelics, Becomes Largest American City to Do So

At the start of this week, the city council of Seattle approved a measure to decriminalize non-commercial activity of psychedelics, which includes the sharing and cultivation of substances such as mescaline that haven’t been derived from peyote, ibogaine, ayahuasca and magic mushrooms. This resolution extends the city’s already existing policy to not prosecute or arrest individuals for drug possession and protect the sharing and growing of psychedelic fungi and plants for personal growth, healing, spiritual or religious practices.

The measure, which was approved unanimously, stipulates that the arrest or prosecution of any person engaging in entheogen-related activities should be one of the city’s lowest enforcement priorities. The bill further requests that law enforcement focus on adopting the practice as departmental policy.

Before the vote was cast, council member Andrew Lewis, who introduced the measure, stated that these natural and nonaddictive substances possessed the potential in therapeutic and clinical settings to make huge differences in individuals’ lives. A press release from Lewis’s office stated that research on psychedelic substances had shown that the substances possessed benefits for people suffering from intergenerational trauma, grief, end-of-life anxiety, PTSD, substance use disorders, severe anxiety and depression.

The measure was partly inspired by the council’s interest in decreasing deaths associated with opioid use. Earlier in June, members requested that the local task force conducting research on the overdose crisis should explore public policy governing psychedelic drugs. A few months later, the task force recommended that Seattle consider eliminating criminal penalties imposed on all drugs and decriminalize psychedelic substances.

Concurrently, members of Decriminalize Nature Seattle have spent more than two years calling on the council to remove penalties imposed on the sharing and cultivation of psychedelic substances. In May, the advocacy group advanced a draft ordinance to the office of the councillor, at Lewis’s request.

The approval of the measure was applauded by the group, which noted that Seattle was now the biggest city in the United States to have passed a decriminalization resolution. The version of the measure that was approved by the city council includes amendments to an earlier draft that was heard in September by the Public Safety and Human Services Committee.

For instance, it excluded a provision that would have requested Seattle’s Office of Intergovernmental Relations to come up with a decriminalization measure for lawmakers to introduce at the state level. In addition to this, it excluded peyote from its entheogen definition, pointing to its unique cultural significance to particular indigenous groups and its endangered ecological status.

It is a bit of a lucky coincidence that as many advocates are campaigning to see policies around psychedelic substances reformed, many companies such as Cybin Inc. (NYSE American: CYBN) (NEO: CYBN) are undertaking drug-development activities aimed at bringing approved psychedelic-based therapeutics on the market.

NOTE TO INVESTORS: The latest news and updates relating to Cybin Inc. (NEO: CYBN) (NYSE American: CYBN) are available in the company’s newsroom at https://ibn.fm/CYBN

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