Psychedelic plants have been used throughout history across a variety of cultures. However, the use of psychedelic drugs has only recently seen some massive gains when it comes to legalization and decriminalization.
Denver, CO, became the first U.S. city to decriminalize psychedelic mushrooms in 2019
Oregon became the first U.S. state to legalize psilocybin for therapeutic use in 2020
Specific cities in Michigan, Massachusetts, California, and Washington State have decriminalized psychedelics
Psychedelics such as psilocybin have been studied for their potential therapeutic benefits in treating a variety of mental health concerns
So, in the year 2023, where are natural psychedelics actually legal? And if not under federal law, what states are at the forefront of psychedelic legalization?
Below, you'll find a comprehensive list of places in the United States where psychedelic drugs have been either legalized or decriminalized. So keep reading!
Legalization vs. decriminalization
Before we dive in, it's important to differentiate legalization from decriminalization. When states decriminalize psychedelic plants and fungi, they're essentially ridding of the strict criminal penalties associated with the medical and recreational uses of psychedelics.
However, technically, these psychedelics remain illegal even after being decriminalized. But many believe that decriminalization is the first step toward legalization.
What happens after decriminalization?
Once a drug has been legalized, it can be used and sold freely, though certain requirements may still persist. Take alcohol, for example.
Alcohol use is legal but is only permissible for individuals over the age of 21. The same types of qualifications may apply to any psychedelic laws that pass.
Psychedelic legalization in the U.S.
In the U.S., legal structures differ between federal, state, and local jurisdictions. While federal laws supersede all state and local laws, there are also a variety of exclusions.
This will be important to keep in mind as we go through the various states and counties that have taken steps to either legalize or decriminalize the personal use of any psychedelic drug.
Oregon became the first U.S. state to legalize psilocybin and regulate psilocybin therapy in November 2020 under Measure 109. Having gone into effect in January 2023, psilocybin mushrooms are currently being used to treat mental health conditions in supervised healing centers.
Potential benefits of psilocybin treatments
Recent studies have supported the claim that psilocybin treatment may effectively treat post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and other mental health issues. But this isn't to say that psilocybin mushrooms don't have some regulations around them.
Oregon also passed a second bill, Measure 110, which classifies small-scale drug possession as a civil violation with a $100 fine. While Oregon may be the first state in the U.S. to legalize mushrooms, there are several other states and cities that are following suit.
Soon after, Governor Jared Polis signed House Bill 19-1263, which made the possession of small quantities of Schedule I or Schedule II controlled substances a misdemeanor rather than a felony.
The Natural Medicine Health Act
In November 2022, Colorado passed the Natural Medicine Health Act, which legalized the use of five psychedelic substances, including psilocybin, ibogaine, mescaline, and ayahuasca. These substances have only been legalized for individuals aged 21 and up.
This Act also ensures that healing centers are now allowed to access and administer these drugs, making it the second U.S. state after Oregon to legalize mushrooms and the use of any other common psychedelics.
Psychedelic decriminalization in the U.S.
While psilocybin remains illegal in the following states and counties, they have still effectively decriminalized adult possession and use of a controlled substance.
D.C. residents voted to approve the Entheogenic Plant and Fungus Policy Act in November 2020 to essentially decriminalize psilocybin mushrooms as well as the use and possession of naturally occurring entheogenic plants and fungi.
Ann Arbor/Washtenaw County, MI
In September 2020, the city council of Ann Arbor voted to decriminalize entheogenic fungi and plants. Soon after, the county prosecutor's office expanded Ann Arbor's city council vote to cover the entire Michigan county.
Detroit's city council passed a bill in November 2021 that decriminalized psilocybin mushrooms and other psychedelic mushrooms and fungi within city limits.
Hazel Park, MI
In March 2022, the city council passed a resolution to decriminalize the possession of entheogenic plants such as magic mushrooms. In fact, Councilmember Luke Londo went as far as to recognize psychedelic substances as "legitimate medicinal and therapeutic substances that have improved countless lives."
In January 2021, council members unanimously voted to pass a resolution that would decriminalize psychedelics. This made Somerville the first Massachusetts community to approve such a measure and led to similar changes in local laws throughout the state.
Cambridge followed suit in February 2021 with council members passing legislation to decriminalize the psychedelics that are derived from plants or mushrooms.
Next was Northampton and their council members' vote to decriminalize in March 2021.
Finally, Easthampton became the fourth city in Massachusetts to decriminalize in October 2021.
In October 2021, Arcata council members unanimously approved the resolution to decriminalize psychedelic fungi and plants for all adults.
In June 2019, Oakland unanimously voted to decriminalize psychedelic fungi and plants for adults, becoming the first U.S. city to decriminalize some psychedelics.
San Francisco, CA
The Board of Supervisors voted to decriminalize all entheogens in September 2022. This named hallucinogenic drugs as the lowest priority for local law enforcement agencies.
Santa Cruz, CA
In February 2020, Santa Cruz council members voted unanimously to decriminalize possession, personal use, and personal cultivation of psychedelic fungi and plants.
Port Townsend, WA
Port Townsend city leaders decriminalized the personal use and personal possession of psilocybin in December 2021.
In February 2022, Seattle similarly decriminalized psychedelic drugs, making it the largest U.S. city to do so.
Why psychedelics, and why now?
While major psychedelic drugs have long been stigmatized, certain psychedelics have been studied for their potential beneficial and therapeutic effects, namely in relation to mental health treatment and mental health care.
In February 2022, clinical trials reported in the Journal of Psychopharmacology that participants with a long-term history of depression actually saw a decrease in their depression following the medical use of psilocybin through a series of drug regimens.
After these results were published, Roland Griffiths, founding director of the Johns Hopkins Center for Psychedelic and Consciousness Research, released the following statement:
"Compared to standard antidepressants, which must be taken for long stretches of time, psilocybin has the potential to enduringly relieve the symptoms of depression with one or two treatments."
If you're up to date with new synthetic psychedelic treatments, then you've probably heard of folks receiving a ketamine treatment. Since the 1980s, ketamine has been researched for its potential treatment of psychiatric disorders.
And in 2019, an experimental ketamine nasal spray was approved by the FDA for psychiatric use. Ketamine is legal for medical and therapeutic usage in all 50 states, as well as in the District of Columbia, and remains the only psychedelic substance currently legal across the board.
From the first wave of psilocybin decriminalization in 2019 till the year 2023, there have been plenty of changes in the laws surrounding magic mushrooms and other psychedelics.
Ultimately, psychedelics are on the brink of a major breakthrough in the United States. Here at Clean Remedies, we're keeping up with decriminalization laws regarding the possession and use of psychedelics.
Keep Reading: 3 Legal Ways To Get High In 2023
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