Detroit Just Decriminalized Magic Mushrooms and Other Psychedelics

Last week the citizens of Detroit, Michigan voted to decriminalize “Entheogenic Fungi” used for pharmaceutical purposes. This change, which won 61 percent of the vote, means that the possession of plant based psychedelics in no longer cause for arrest in and of itself. This includes psilocybin mushrooms, ibogaine which comes from Africa, ayahuasca which is popular in religious ceremonies in South America, as well as peyote and mescaline which come from certain cacti.

Dropping the classification to this lowest level directs law enforcement officers not to arrest or charge individuals for possession of these substances. But, if possession is connected to another crime, officers can still charge individuals for possessing any of these plants since they are still technically illegal.

BACKGROUND: LEGACY OF THE FAILED WAR ON DRUGS

Proponents of the new law point out that enforcement of existing drug laws is typically tilted toward minorities. They also note that drugs of this nature have very little potential for abuse. In Detroit, where the population is overwhelmingly black, some hope this move can help equalize perceived injustices in the enforcement.

“Detroiters voted in high numbers in support of further decriminalization,” Michigan State Sen. Adam Hollier of Detroit told the PBS NewsHour after the election. “The war on drugs was a war on Black and brown communities and it’s good to see Black communities pushing back.”

ANALYSIS: WHAT Does Legalization of “magic mushrooms” MEAN FOR LAW ENFORCEMENT?

Based on the wording of the legislation, voters were asked if they support moving to “decriminalize to the fullest extent permitted under Michigan law the personal possession and therapeutic use of entheogenic plants by adults and make the personal possession and therapeutic use of entheogenic plants by adults the city’s lowest law-enforcement priority.”

Much like cannabis laws sweeping across the U.S., numerous cities and states have made a similar legal change to psychedelic substances. Denver was the first to take this step when they decriminalized psychedelic mushrooms in 2019. Since then three states, (Oregon, Rhode Island and New Jersey) eight more cities and the District of Columbia have also decriminalized entheogenic plants.

OUTLOOK: WHO WILL LEGALIZE PSYHEDELICS NEXT?

More states are now looking at the criminality of these types of drugs. In September, 2021, the State of California decided it would take on the issue. Such a change would be a significant step toward a national change, given the sheer size and population of the Golden State. A change in federal drug laws is not expected any time soon, but earlier this year, Rolling Stone Magazine asked if Joe Biden will be the president to decriminalize these drugs at the federal level.

Follow and connect with author Christopher Plain on Twitter: @plain_fiction