By Roland Sebestyén
Somerville is joining cities like Oakland, Santa Cruz and Ann Arbor in decriminalising possession of plant-and-fungi-based psychedelics as lawmakers approved the proposal unanimously. The move is in line with the growing support for an eased approach with regards to psychoactive substances in the US.
Marijuana Moment reports that Somerville City Council decided to approve the proposal that would make psychedelics, such as psilocybin mushroom (also known as ‘magic’ mushrooms) or ayahuasca, available for therapeutic use.
Reportedly, councillors argued that the drug war has been a failure and entheogenic substances might have medical upside after all.
Campaigners from Decriminalize Nature Massachusetts issued an open letter after their proposal having been approved: “By decriminalising psychedelic plants, Massachusetts can mainstream harm-reduction strategies as therapists, and health providers embrace these compounds for physical, psychological, and spiritual relief.
“Somerville has a chance to empower our neighbours, friends, and loved ones to seek the physical and spiritual relief they need and put public health above incarcerating people even in cases of addiction and abuse of controlled substances.”
Authorities will back up a little
Under the new measures, the city of Somerville will be legally bound to stop chasing people possessing, consuming and distributing psychedelics.
In reality, the drugs are still deemed illegal in the city, but councillors pledge that cases in connection to certain substances will be “among the lowest priorities.”
However, the measures will still neither allow commercial sales of the drugs nor possessing and using the substances near schools.
According to a councillor talking to Rolling Stones, it is hoped that the law could be put in “local ordinance” in the near future.
Somerville’s move comes after several cities and areas, such as Denver and Oakland, have decriminalised certain psychedelics over the last few years.
Most notably, the US state of Oregon opted to decriminalise all kinds of drugs during the 2020 US elections.
Voters overwhelmingly supported to decriminalise the possession of small amounts of hard drugs, including cocaine, heroin, methamphetamine, ecstasy, LSD, methadone, and oxycodone, and “the use of psilocybin mushrooms for medical purposes.”