California’s attorney general on Thursday approved language for a ballot initiative aiming to decriminalize psychedelic mushrooms for those 21-years-and-older, according to NBC News San Diego. Activists are looking for the initiative to appear on the 2022 ballot. According to the report, backers would like psilocybin, an entheogen found in various species of mushrooms, to be sold in stores.
“I believe it is possible that eventually, a critical mass or even a majority of states will legalize or decriminalize some or all of these psychedelics,” acting director of policy and advocacy for the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS) Ismail L. Ali told NBC News.
In addition to the initiative, legislators will be taking up a psychedelic decriminalization bill sponsored by Sen. Scott Wiener (D) during the 2022 session. The proposal passed some key hurdles last session, is backed by MAPS, and would decriminalize small amounts of psilocybin, psilocyn, ecstasy, LSD, DMT, and mescaline, the report says.
Although activists see these policy proposals as progress, Ali says much of the hard work for psychedelic decriminalization remains and that “policy change regarding psychedelics is not inevitable.”
“We are in an early and sensitive phase in the process, and much remains to be seen in how different states navigate the emerging policy landscape.”—Ali via NBC News
Opponents of the proposals view them as one more step toward legalizing drugs. Additionally, some advocates are cautious about psychedelic decriminalization — Matthew W. Johnson, associate director of the Johns Hopkins Center for Psychedelic & Consciousness Research, said that any decriminalization efforts should be paired with public education about the effects of the drugs.
“If someone’s using, the best way to deal with it is not to give them a felony or misdemeanor. I am supportive of decriminalizing drugs in general, but that doesn’t mean I want to encourage their use,” he said in the report.
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