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Atlanta is considering the decriminalization of magic mushrooms and other psychedelics

This article was written by Lara Goldstein and originally published on Benzinga.

The growing demand for better treatments for mental health conditions is taking the discussion to the public sphere more often than not. 

With San Francisco’s final call to decriminalize psychedelics last week, it is now Atlanta’s turn. On September 12, the City Council Public Safety and Legal Administration Committee hosted a hearing to go through a resolution recently filed by city council member Liliana Bakhtiari aiming to follow San Francisco’s steps.

The discussion also seems to be aligned with what is happening on a state level, as Georgia’s House Defense and Veterans Affairs Committee recently heard testimonies from veterans regarding the use of psilocybin to treat PTSD. The state is considering funding scientific research to further understand the substance’s potential.

Where are psychedelics legal or decriminalized in the US?

The new bill would advise police to deprioritize enforcing the law on people carrying psychedelic mushrooms, or in other words, that no city funds would be used to investigate reports on individuals involved in the personal use, growth, or possession of entheogenic plants, fungi, spores or plant compounds.

The proposed legislation states that entheogenic substances promote “psychological and physical wellness” and “support and enhance religious and spiritual practices,” while it makes the important distinction —similarly to other current psychedelics decriminalization bills— of separating commercial sales from medicinal use. The prior would not be allowed under the new law. 

Speaking at the hearing, the bill’s advocates stated that they are part of a national movement to normalize the use of magic mushrooms and other plants as treatments for mental illness. One of them gave her personal testimony on the therapeutic benefits of these substances for treating anxiety and depression. 

The committee members didn’t yet decide to advance on the measure but did vote unanimously to hold it for further consideration and eventually keep discussing it in a future work session.

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