Massachusetts is decriminalizing psychedelics one city at a time.
The state of Massachusetts is inching its way toward decriminalizing psychedelics with a third city now making possession the lowest priority for law enforcement.
Thursday night, Northampton became the third city in the state to relax enforcement of laws against the possession, use and distribution of natural psychedelic plants, following a unanimous 8-0 vote by the City Council. Northampton follows Sommerville and Cambridge in decriminalizing the hallucinogens such as psilocybin, ayahuasca, ibogaine, and peyote.
“Psychedelic plants save lives,” advocacy group Baystaters said in an Instagram post praising the City Council’s vote, “in the name of public health and criminal justice, creating momentum for state reform.
“Our earth has given us a mushroom proven to help people work through depression, opioid addiction, tobacco addiction, cluster headaches, alcoholism, trauma, terminal illness anxiety, and possibly even dementia & traumatic brain injuries.”
The measure, “A Resolution Decriminalizing Controlled Substance Possession as well as Cultivation and Distribution of Psychedelic Plants,” was co-sponsored last month by at-large member William Dwight and Councilor Rachel Maiore. It expresses support for two pieces of related state legislation—one “establishing a task force to study equitable access to entheogenic plants” and another “relative to harm reduction and racial justice.” The actions lay the groundwork for eventually legalizing and regulating psychedelics.
Massachusetts cities Northampton, Sommerville, and Cambridge join other cities across the country including Oakland and Santa Cruz, Calif., and Ann Arbor, Mich., as well as Washington, D.C., in decriminalizing the possession of plant- and fungi-based psychedelics. In November, the state of Oregon made history when it passed an initiative to legalize psilocybin mushrooms for therapeutic purposes.
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