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Tuesday, May 30, 2023

Seattle Legalizes Psychedelics

Proponents of the legalization of psychedelics has won a victory. Seattle’s City Council approved a resolution Monday to decriminalize a wide range of activities around psychedelic drugs, including the cultivation and sharing of psilocybin mushrooms, ayahuasca, ibogaine and non-peyote-derived mescaline. The landmark measure extends what is already Seattle city policy not to arrest or prosecute people for personal drug possession to further protect the cultivation and sharing of psychedelic plants and fungi for “religious, spiritual, healing, or personal growth practices.”

State Sen. Jesse Salomon, D-Shoreline, says to change that in Washington, not just decriminalizes the drug but makes the active ingredient in the mushrooms available for therapeutic and creative purposes. 

Enacted, the Psilocybin Wellness and Opportunity Act would allow individuals to consume products containing psilocybin and psilocin, the two main active ingredients in psychedelic mushrooms, under the support of a trained and state-licensed psilocybin service administrator. Mason Marks, a senior fellow and project lead on the Project at Psychedelics Law and Regulation at Harvard Law School who helped to draft some sections of the bill, told Marijuana Moment that it “builds on the momentum of previous psilocybin policy reform efforts in Seattle and across the country.” Voters in neighboring Oregon passed an initiative in 2020.

Under supported adult use, psilocybin services are made available to people 21 and older for nearly any purpose,” Mason Marks, a senior fellow and project lead on the Project at Psychedelics Law and Regulation at Harvard Law School, who helped author the bill. Psilocybe azurescens and Psilocybe cyanescens are two psychedelic varieties that grow in damp, wooded areas in Washington and Oregon and produce visual hallucinations when ingested. These mushrooms — while freely growing and with a centurieslong record of use among Indigenous people — are also Schedule I controlled substances: illegal drugs up there with heroin and marijuana, according to the federal government. 

Jesse Salomon, “This is a practice as old as humanity itself and it is time to incorporate this opportunity to heal into our toolbox here in Washington state,” he said. “We should not deny ourselves the benefits of these services when there is so much suffering in our communities.”

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