21.6 C
New York
Wednesday, December 1, 2021

Latest Posts

Singer Melissa Etheridge And Activist Van Jones Promote Psychedelics Reform As Movement Grows

The fight to end the criminalization of psychedelics and give patients access to natural plants and fungi has achieved success in a growing number of cities and states in recent years, and on Thursday the cause got a boost from prominent people in the entertainment and political fields.

Musician Melissa Etheridge and criminal justice reform activist Van Jones spoke at an event hosted by the nonprofit group End Well, which focused on how certain psychedelics can help ease in end-of-life anxiety and other mental health conditions. Both Etheridge and Jones spoke about the need to break with the status quo and allow patients to access alternative treatments.

Etheridge has become an outspoken advocate for marijuana reform in the years since she started using the plant medicinally after being diagnosed with breast cancer in her 40s.

She said at the virtual event that she feels the “discussion of psychedelics and plant medicine is extremely important,” and she has “a deep belief that these entheogens—these plant medicines that have been available on Earth since the beginning of time—play a big part and are here for the purpose of helping us humans guide ourselves and our loved ones.”

“I truly believe that psilocybin is a real key to helping people through the fear of death,” she said in her opening remarks for the End in Mind conference.

Asked by Marijuana Moment about whether she plans to use her influence to similarly advance psychedelics reform as she has with cannabis, Etheridge said she’s “feeling very positive about all the state and local psychedelic reforms that are coming.”

“I’m definitely going to do what I can to be an advocate for this and maybe help people understand how these plant medicines can play a very important role in our human life and experience,” she said.

Jones, meanwhile, stressed that he’s not somebody with personal experience using intoxicating substances—even legal products like wine. But he sees the value in ending criminalization, and psychedelics reform is part of the solution.

“When you’re trying to solve real problems, you very quickly realize you need big coalitions. Connection is key to that,” he said. “I’m not someone with personal experience, but people who I trust and respect have reported to me that some of the most powerful, expansive experiences that they’ve had have been supported by some of these substances.”

Jones might not have a personal history of using psychedelics despite participating in Thursday’s event, but as he listed off the various drugs he hasn’t tried, he did include a notable caveat in his discussion.

“I am as fair and reasonable a person on this as you possibly can,” he said. “I’ve never—I have not yet—tried ayahuasca, mushrooms, nothing. I am as straight as you can get on this stuff.” The operative term there is “yet,” though Jones didn’t go any further in suggesting he might be open to experimenting with psychedelics at some point.

The criminal justice reform activists also addressed the need for broader drug policy reform beyond psychedelics.

“What I’m saying is that, for some of the intoxicants that have caused a lot of harm, we need a better approach than locking people up for those,” he said. “And for those that are more medicinal and that have medicinal uses, we need better access to those.”

Activists across the U.S. are working to advance these reforms. Cities across the U.S. have already enacted policies to deprioritize enforcement of laws against certain psychedelics like psilocybin and ayahuasca.

Last week, advocates helped to effectively decriminalize a wide range of psychedelics, with the Arcata City Council unanimously approving the reform. That marked the third California city to decriminalize psychedelics, following similar reforms that lawmakers have enacted in Oakland and Santa Cruz.

In Oakland, the first city in the country where a city council voted to broadly deprioritize criminalization of entheogenic substances, lawmakers approved a follow-up resolution in December that calls for the policy change to be adopted statewide and for local jurisdictions to be allowed to permit healing ceremonies where people could use psychedelics.

A bill to legalize psychedelics in California advanced through the Senate and two Assembly committees this year before being pulled by the sponsor to buy more time to generate support among lawmakers. The plan is to take up the reform during next year’s second half of the legislative session, and the senator behind the measure says he’s confident it will pass.

California activists are separately collecting signatures for a ballot initiative to legalize psilocybin mushrooms in the state.

Seattle’s City Council recently approved a resolution to decriminalize noncommercial activity around a wide range of psychedelic substances, including the cultivation and sharing of psilocybin mushrooms, ayahuasca, ibogaine and non-peyote-derived mescaline.

Detroit could be one of the next to enact a policy change, with voters set to weigh in on a local ballot measure next month to decriminalize entheogenic substances.

At the same time that local advocates are pursuing reform, a pair of Michigan state senators introduced a bill last month to legalize the possession, cultivation and delivery of an array of plant- and fungus-derived psychedelics like psilocybin and mescaline. If voters in the state’s most populous city approve the local measure, it could make state lawmakers take a more serious look at broader reform.

Also in Michigan, the Grand Rapids City Council approved a resolution last month calling for decriminalization of a wide range of psychedelics. The Ann Arbor City Council has already elected to make enforcement of laws prohibition psychedelics like psilocybin, ayahuasca and DMT among the city’s lowest priorities—and lawmakers recently followed up by declaring September Entheogenic Plants and Fungi Awareness Month.

After Ann Arbor legislators passed that decriminalization resolution last year, the Washtenaw County prosecutor announced that his office will not be pursuing charges over possessing entheogenic plants and fungi, “regardless of the amount at issue.”


Marijuana Moment is already tracking more than 1,200 cannabis, psychedelics and drug policy bills in state legislatures and Congress this year. Patreon supporters pledging at least $25/month get access to our interactive maps, charts and hearing calendar so they don’t miss any developments.

Learn more about our marijuana bill tracker and become a supporter on Patreon to get access.

The top Democrat in the Florida Senate filed a bill last month that would require the state to research the medical benefits of psychedelics such as psilocybin and MDMA.

Earlier this year, Texas enacted a law directing state officials to study psychedelics’ medical value.

The governor of Connecticut signed a bill in June that includes language requiring the state to carry out a study into the therapeutic potential of psilocybin mushrooms.

Oregon voters passed a pair of initiatives last November to legalize psilocybin therapy and decriminalize possession of all drugs. On the local level, activists in Portland are mounting a push to have local lawmakers pass a resolution decriminalizing the cultivation, gifting and ceremonial use of a wide range of psychedelics.

Washington, D.C. voters also approved a ballot measure last year to deprioritize enforcement of laws criminalizing psychedelics.

In Massachusetts, the Northampton City Council passed a resolution in April stipulating that no government or police funds should be used to enforce laws criminalizing people for using or possessing entheogenic plants and fungi. Somerville and Cambridge have also moved to effectively decriminalize psychedelics.

A New York lawmaker introduced a bill in June that would require the state to establish an institute to similarly research the medical value of psychedelics.

The Maine House of Representatives passed a drug decriminalization bill this year, but it later died in the Senate.

Meanwhile, Denver activists who successfully led the 2019 campaign to make the city the first in the U.S. to decriminalize psilocybin possession have set their eyes on broader reform, with plans in the works to end the criminalization of noncommercial gifting and communal use of the psychedelic. A city panel there is recommending expansion of the decriminalization policy to cover gifting and social use.

In a setback for advocates, the U.S. House of Representatives recently voted against a proposal from Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) that would have removed a spending bill rider that advocates say has restricted federal funds for research into Schedule I drugs, including psychedelics such as psilocybin, MDMA and ibogaine. However, it picked up considerably more votes this round than when the congresswoman first introduced it in 2019.

Report provisions of separate, House-passed spending legislation also touch on the need to expand cannabis and psychedelics research. The panel urged NIDA to support expanded marijuana studies, for example. It further says that federal health agencies should pursue research into the therapeutic potential of psychedelics for military veterans suffering from a host of mental health conditions.

There was an attempt by a Republican congressman to attach language into a defense spending bill that would promote research into psychedelics therapy for active duty military members, but it was not made in order in the House Rules Committee last month.

For what it’s worth, Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-OR), a longstanding champion of marijuana reform in Congress, said this month that he intends to help bring the psychedelics reform movement to Capitol Hill “this year.”

Report provisions of separate, House-passed spending legislation also touch on the need to expand cannabis and psychedelics research. The panel urged NIDA to support expanded marijuana studies, for example. It further says that federal health agencies should pursue research into the therapeutic potential of psychedelics for military veterans suffering from a host of mental health conditions.

NIDA also recently announced it’s funding a study into whether psilocybin can help people quit smoking cigarettes.

An official with the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs also said at a recent congressional hearing that the agency is “very closely” following research into the potential therapeutic benefits of psychedelics like MDMA for military veterans.

In May, lawmakers in Congress filed the first-ever legislation to federally decriminalize possession of illicit substances.

Florida Democratic Candidates For Governor Fight Over Who Supports Marijuana Reform The Most

Photo elements courtesy of carlosemmaskype and Apollo.

Marijuana Moment is made possible with support from readers. If you rely on our cannabis advocacy journalism to stay informed, please consider a monthly Patreon pledge.

Source : marijuanamoment.net

Latest Posts

Don't Miss

Stay in touch

To be updated with all the latest news, offers and special announcements.