Possessing and using psychedelic plants and fungi in the United States capital just became a lot less heaty.
On Monday, the Entheogenic Plant and Fungus Policy Act of 2020 — Initiative 81 — came into effect in Washington D.C., changing the law to make enforcement of psychedelics among the lowest police priorities.
After an initial delay, the new policy comes into force after the congressional review period of 30 legislative days mandated for all laws in the District of Columbia. No member of the House or Senate objected to Initiative 81.
Following a grassroots campaign led by Decriminalize Nature DC, the related ballot measure passed with 76% voter support in November’s federal election.
According to a statement from the advocacy group, these changes help ensure that residents benefiting from natural psychedelics known as entheogens will not face investigation, arrest or incarceration.
“Although current congressional restrictions bar D.C. from fully decriminalizing or lewgalizing natural psychedelics, Initiative 81 adds significant protections for those using entheogenic plants and fungi including psilocybin mushrooms, ayahuasca, iboga, and mescaline-containing cacti,” the statement reads. “These entheogenic plants and fungi can help those suffering from depression, anxiety, and addiction.”
Initiative 81 was initially proposed by Melissa Lavasani, a D.C. mother who used plant medicine to treat her severe postpartum depression.
“After more than a year of campaigning and educating D.C. residents about natural psychedelics, I am thrilled to see Initiative 81 take effect,” she said in the statement. “This historic moment is the culmination of countless hours of work and endless dedication from grassroots supporters across D.C. who made it their mission to change outdated laws that targeted people for using plant and fungi medicines to heal.”
“Thanks to their effort and support from voters across D.C., Initiative 81 has made a real, tangible change that is now enshrined in law.”
Top image by Jared Gnam