As cannabis legalization continues to sweep the nation, another movement has emerged in its wake.
In the past three years, ballot measures and city council resolutions to legalize or decriminalize naturally-occurring entheogenic plants and fungi—the term refers to a substance with mind-altering effects—have sprung up across the country.
That list of substances typically includes psychedelic mushrooms, ayahuasca, mescaline, ibogaine, and peyote. Cannabis is also considered an entheogen. These decrim measures generally do not apply to LSD or MDMA.
While Oregon is currently the sole US state where psilocybin has become legal for therapeutic use, over a dozen additional cities and counties have effectively decriminalized psilocybin and other entheogens as well. A measure that would legalize psychedelics statewide will go before Colorado voters in November, 2022.
It’s important to remember that “decriminalization,” in this context, simply means that law enforcement “deprioritizes” the enforcement of their prohibition as much as possible. Entheogens technically remain illegal in these cities and counties.
Read on for a list of America’s emerging psychedelic hot spots and the legal do’s and don’ts in each to ensure you’re staying within your legal rights.
In November 2020, Oregon voted in favor of Measure 110—which reduces the penalty for possession of small quantities of any and all drugs to a minor violation—by a margin of 58-42.
Under the new law, if you get caught with a small quantity of any illegal drug, you simply pay a $100 fine.
Measure 110 also establishes a robust drug addiction treatment and recovery program. Oregon will fund the program with both cannabis sales revenue and “the anticipated savings achieved from the current cost of enforcing criminal drug possession penalties.”
In the same election, Oregon passed Measure 109 by a margin of 56-44. That measure “legalizes, regulates, and taxes the manufacture, sale, and administration of psilocybin for mental health purposes.” Measure 109 permits the consumption and sale of psilocybin exclusively at a licensed “psilocybin service center,” and only under the supervision of a licensed “psilocybin service facilitator.”
It taxes the sale of psychedelic mushrooms at 15%.
The program will go into effect on January 1, 2023. Beginning this November, Oregon localities can vote to opt out of permitting sales: At least eleven cities and two counties will hold such a vote.
Ann Arbor / Washtenaw County, MI
In September 2020, the Ann Arbor City Council voted unanimously to effectively decriminalize the use, possession and personal cultivation of naturally occurring entheogenic plants and fungi.
Washtenaw County, where Ann Arbor is located, subsequently expanded the measure to apply county-wide. Law enforcement in the county will still charge anyone driving under the influence of an entheogenic substance, however.
In October 2021, the Arcata City Council voted unanimously to effectively decriminalize entheogenic plants and fungi for all adults.
In February 2021, Cambridge became the second Massachusetts city to effectively decriminalize entheogens. The vote passed in City Council on a vote of 8-1. The policy furthermore prevents the city from allocating funds towards the arrest of individuals for entheogens, and asks the County District Attorney to stop prosecuting people for the use, possession or cultivation of psychedelics without intent to distribute.
In May of 2019, Denver voters narrowly approved a ballot measure to effectively decriminalize psilocybin use and possession.
A few weeks later, Governor Jared Polis (D) signed House Bill 19-1263, which made the possession of small quantities of Schedule I or Schedule II substances a misdemeanor instead of a felony. That law went into effect in March 2020.
This November, Colorado will vote on the Natural Medicine Health Act. The measure would legalize the use, possession, and cultivation of most entheogens and open the door to regulated therapeutic treatment at licensed “healing centers.” It does not include possession limits. Nor does it legalize the recreational sale of entheogenic plants and fungi.
In October 2021, Easthampton City Council voted to effectively decriminalize entheogenic plants and fungi within city limits.
Hazel Park, MI
In March 2022, Hazel Park—directly north of Detroit—voted to effectively decriminalize entheogenic plants and fungi within city limits.
In March 2021, Northampton City Council voted unanimously to effectively decriminalize entheogenic plants and fungi.
In June 2019, Oakland became the first US city to effectively decriminalize entheogenic plants and fungi for adults via a unanimous City Council vote.
Port Townsend, WA
In December 2021, the Port Townsend City Council voted unanimously to effectively decriminalize entheogenic plants and fungi for adults.
San Francisco, CA
On Sept. 6, 2022, the San Francisco Board of Supervisors voted to decriminalize all entheogens, naming psychedelic drugs the lowest priority for local law enforcement agencies.
Santa Cruz, CA
In February 2020, the Santa Cruz City Council voted unanimously to effectively decriminalize the possession and personal cultivation of entheogenic plants and fungi.
In October 2021, Seattle City Council voted unanimously to effectively decriminalize entheogenic plants and fungi. The resolution dictates that the “investigation, arrest, and prosecution of anyone engaging in entheogen-related activities” should be considered the lowest priority for local law enforcement.
In January 2021, Somerville City Council voted unanimously to effectively decriminalize the use and possession of entheogenic plants and fungi.
In November 2020, DC residents voted 76-24 to effectively decriminalize the use and possession of entheogenic plants and fungi.