Seattle city council members are being asked to review decriminalizing psychedelics.
Seattle may be next city to decriminalize psychedelics. Seven members of the city council asked the soon-to-launch Overdose Emergency and Innovative Recovery Task Force to look into the local policies regarding psychedelics and noted the therapeutic potential of psychedelics in treating mental health conditions.
The panel, led by Black Lives Matter Seattle-King County and VOCAL Washington, is tasked with reviewing how governments and communities can tackle the number of overdoses, racial inequities in drug-user health, and criminal-legal system challenges.
“We recognize that decriminalization, and ideally legalization, is the way to create a safer environment for everyone,” VOCAL-WA program director Malika Lamont told the Seattle Times. “Especially with psychedelics, there’s so much potential for the treatment of behavioral health issues. Using all the resources at our disposal in safe ways to create wellness for people, that’s overdose prevention.”
In their written request to the drug overdose and recovery panel, city council members cited new research into psychedelic medicine as the reason for their interest. Recent studies have shown that psychedelics such as psilocybin and MDMA, currently illegal in the United States, can effectively treat mental health conditions such as anxiety, depression, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), drug addiction, and even traumatic brain injuries. The request essentially supports the policy changes laid out by the advocacy group Decrim Nature Seattle.
“It is the time to act on this,” said Councilmember Andrew Lewis.
If the action leads to the city decriminalizing psychedelic medicine, Seattle will join other cities like Denver, Colorado, Oakland and Santa Cruz, California, and Somerville and Cambridge, Massachusetts, as well as the state of Oregon.