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Category Archives: Entheogens

From Cannabis MSO To Drug Development: Goodness Growth Wants To Understand Traditional Psychedelics Use – – Benzinga

Posted: September 16, 2021 at 6:06 am

Resurgent Biosciences, a subsidiary of Goodness Growth Holdings, Inc. (CSE:GDNS) (OTCQX:GDNSF), is launching a survey study that will look into the varying effects of entheogen and psychedelic experiences for therapeutic, religious and spiritual purposes.

The goal of the company is to understand the naturalistic use of entheogens and other substances typically used for healing in specific cultural and spiritual contexts.

Goodness Growth recently changed its name from Vireo Health in a move to encompass the psychedelics and natural medicine space, expanding beyond its cannabis MSO operations.

The studys approach seeks to complement current research into psychedelics, which is often done with synthetic substances (like MDMA, LSD or isolated psilocybin), in a strictly clinical context.

Lab-based research will always be an essential aspect of our research and development process. However, to create more effective psychedelic-based therapies and services, we believe it is equally important to thoroughly explore the tremendous wealth of experience and wisdom that already exists and is active today based on centuries of both spiritual and therapeutic practices, said chief medical officer Stephen Dahmer.

The observational pilot survey, which will be done online with one hundred anonymous subjects, has received approval from an independent Institutional Review Board registered with the Office for Human Research Protections at the federal Department of Health and Human Services.

According to the FDA, an Institutional Review Board is an appropriately constituted group that has been formally designated to review and monitor biomedical research involving human subjects.

The board has the authority to approve, require modificationsor disapprove research. Its aim is to protect the rights and welfare of human research subjects.

The survey will help inform Resurgent on future developments into psychedelic-based therapies by collecting anonymous data from 100 adults who self-report having participated in entheogen therapy centers and retreats during the last five years.The survey currently is open for participation via this link.

Photo byVlada KarpovichfromPexels.

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From Cannabis MSO To Drug Development: Goodness Growth Wants To Understand Traditional Psychedelics Use - - Benzinga

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Jarvis Brookfield on his psychedelic paintings, dream-like states and what it means to be human – Creative Boom

Posted: September 12, 2021 at 9:01 am

His latest series, titled Inaquien, is based on a made-up word meaning "inner acquaintance". It's inspired by Jarvis's personal experiences induced by entheogens substances known to alter our perception, mood, consciousness, cognition or behaviour, and often used in spiritual development. You know, mushrooms, cacti, plants that sort of thing.

In this case, Jarvis experiments to ask life's most profound questions: why are we here? Is any of this real? And why is it possible to experience different states of mind other than being awake or asleep? These are heavy questions for anyone to fathom. But it's undoubtedly enjoyable seeing Jarvis's attempts to make sense of it all, putting brush to canvas and letting his imagination run free. We spoke to Jarvis about his practice, spirituality and dreams, and how he hopes to inspire a sense of awe and wonder.

Thank you very much! At present, I feel that it's centred around creating imagined worlds that I hope for people to lose themselves within, even if only for a moment. They're luminous and colourful. Fluid, psychedelic, dimensional, and communicate a sense of vitality and abundance. Some people have said of how they feel spiritual, and others have pointed out a sense of fluidity and aliveness in it, too.

Haha! Yes, I am. Every morning from an early age, whenever she got the chance, my mum would share her detailed and curious dreams with us. I always enjoyed them more than any story in a book and cherished listening to them. I still get to hear a few from her here and there when we chat on the phone or when I get to see her.

But I think that listening to and enjoying them so much early on impressed me with curiosity for the inner worlds. I've always had a vivid dream life, too, and experienced a lot of sleep paralysis growing up, followed by several lucid dreams. But my first encounter with a psychedelic experience in Amsterdam baffled me. I remember switching off the lights of my hotel room, closing my eyes and watching a vast, bright, glistening, and golden light in what felt like a Ferris wheel turn and tumble in front of me. Since then, I have had several experiences which have shown me that there is far more to life than I could have ever imagined.

I'm talking about my psychedelic experiences. The images and places that my mind has been taken to and shown is utterly confounding but not an uncommon remark to the millions of other people who have ventured into the inner worlds. But alongside the visions. Voices during those experiences have whispered to me and offered suggestions, that after taking on board and integrating, changed my life for the better.

Yes, I dream about painting sometimes. Sometimes I'm working on one, and in others, I have been in the painting, surrounded by it. I've also seen some glorious paintings that have since dwindled in my memory that I wish I could paint! And I can't say for certain that it does or doesn't come from my dreams, but if it does, then it comes indirectly as I've never been compelled after a dream to paint what happened in it.

I remember seeing a vast, bright, glistening, and golden light in what felt like a Ferris wheel...Since then, I've had several experiences which have shown me that there is far more to life than I could have ever imagined.

Listening to Terence Mckenna's lengthy talks on YouTube (God bless whoever recorded them), he is such a captivating orator. Reading and contemplation also satiate my hunger. I regularly spend time in meditation and remember, which I couple with journaling and questioning. But I'm currently reading Brian Muraresku's 'The Immortality Key The Secret History of the Religion With No Name' it's a fascinating book that is unearthing how psychedelics played a role in the origins of Western civilization and perhaps religion.

It's a little mixture of the two. For most of the paintings in this body of work, I was looking into sacred spacesespecially mosques such as those in Uzbekistan and Iran. And what I fell in love with was the sensation of how the colours interacted with each other because of the intricate patterns. So, I used many of these colours as the basic templates for my colour palettes and adjusted them slightly. But as I started laying them down on the canvas', they started to change and evolve as if the painting had its own plan.

No, not really. I never knew what an artist was. And the perception I had of what an artist might be was whatever I had heard about Davinci. I remember that was the only artist's name which I knew, and even so, I don't think that I was aware that he created paintings. So the idea of being an artist as something to pursue full-time only came into my sphere of thought around 3-4 years ago.

One of the first books that I obsessed over at around 4/5 years old was a visual encyclopaedia by the publisher DK. I poured through constantly, and that book inspired a sense of joy for the inner world of objects because the pictures within it were of all the things of this world but broken down. It had ships, telephones, buildings, animals, the human body, and so much more. And today, as I'm creating work, this imagining of the internal dynamics or structure of the forms that I create in my work is always at the forefront of my thinking. But a lot of my early inspirations, such as Spiderman, Motocross bikes, Grand theft auto, football shoes and all of the other things, don't directly inform my work today.

Yes, it helped a lot. Being creative has always been a sort of escape for me in life, and over those initial 6 12 months after the first lockdown when the media rammed up the fear-mongering, I unwittingly doubled down on my creative time and created a lot of work. Most of which wasn't necessarily finished works, but what became most important for me during that time was the process because I began seeing its lessons, which teaches you a great deal about being present, calm, and relinquishing your expectations and attachment to outcomes. They're lessons that I'm continuously learning, but they acted as gentle reminders of what's important and kept me grounded during the lockdown.

Inaquien by Jarvis Brookfield will be his first solo show, launching on 17 September at LCB Depot in Leicester. Discover more at jarvisbrookfield.com or follow him on Instagram.

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Oregon Psilocybin Panel Teams Up With Harvard To Research Psychedelic History And Impacts Of Reform – Marijuana Moment

Posted: at 9:01 am

An Oregon state panel charged with advising on the implementation of a legal psilocybin therapy program has cleared a team of researchers to produce a comprehensive report on the science, history and culture of the psychedelic as regulators prepare to license facilities to administer it.

Members of the Oregon Psilocybin Advisory Board released an initial report in July that reviewed hundreds of studies into psilocybin, as required under the states historic, voter-approved 2020 medical legalization initiative. But they were pressed for time and will now be working with a recently established psychedelic research center at Harvard Law School to more thoroughly cover the subject.

Part of the intent of the new expanded research project is to help inform legislative efforts outside of Oregon where psychedelics reform is being considered.

Given increasing interest in psychedelics legislation, Oregon will likely be the first of several states to contemplate regulating psilocybin services, Mason Marks, who serves on theOregon advisory board for psilocybin, told Marijuana Moment.

To the extent that the [Ethical, Legal, and Social Implications]Report can help inform their decision making, it should be made available for that purpose, Marks, who is also the director of Harvardsfirst-of-its-kind psychedelics policy center, said. Hopefully, it can provide a bit of a roadmap for fruitful collaboration between states and the federal government.

The initial report that Oregons review panel submitted did conclude that psilocybin holds significant medical value for a number of mental health conditions. The substance is shown to be efficacious in reducing depression and anxiety, including in life-threatening conditions, members found.

But this forthcoming second reviewwhich the board approved late last month and will take up to six months to completewill cover much more ground. For example, experts will look at how psilocybin prohibition has affected marginalized communities and how Oregons reform law could impact those individuals.

Any recommendations included in the report will still need approval by the full board before being submitted to regulators at the Oregon Health Authority for consideration.

Potential sources of data include historical information on the Indigenous use of psilocybin, anthropology literature, religious scholarship, bioethics literature, medical and psychological literature from the mid-twentieth century, narrative descriptions of psilocybin use, public health data, legislative materials, and legal scholarship, a research proposal states. The project will review and analyze existing research only.

Marks told Marijuana Moment that its important to include the views and practices of Indigenous communities because their technologies are the foundation of the psychedelics industry.

Some cultures have used psychedelics including psilocybin for hundreds or thousands of years. In many respects, they are the authorities in this space, and we should acknowledge and respect their expertise, he said. There is often a tendency to take from marginalized communities or adopt policies without concern for how they are affected.

Marginalized communities should also be included because the U.S. war on drugs has had a devastating impact on them. Decades of punitive drug enforcement policies have disproportionately impacted communities of color, torn families apart, and destroyed many lives through violence and incarceration. Meanwhile, prohibition has deprived people with mental health conditions, another marginalized community, of the potential benefits of psilocybin. Its status as a Schedule I controlled substances inhibited research for half a century.

Other topics that the report will cover include how psilocybin affects communities, how cultural attitudes toward the psychedelic have changed over time, what community-based rituals have been established around psilocybin, how the entheogen could impact addiction and overdose rates and how other jurisdictions have reformed laws governing psilocybin.

The ELSI Report picks up where the Rapid Evidence Review left off. Without the time constraints of the first report, it can take a broader, more inclusive approach, Marks said. Some sources of particular importance may include academic literature from the fields of anthropology, law, public health, psychology, religion, and sociology.

Oregon Gov. Kate Browns (D) office announced the appointment of17 members of the psilocybin advisory boardin March. The panel is meant to help facilitate the implementation of the historic reform initiative.

The developments in Oregon come as lawmakers and advocates across the U.S. continue to pursue psychedelics reform.

Michigan senators on Thursday introduced a bill to legalize the possession, cultivation and delivery of an array of plant- and fungus-derived psychedelics like psilocybin and mescaline.

The Ann Arbor, Michigan City Councilapproved entheogenic decriminalization last yearand in July, local lawmakers passed a resolution to officially designate September asEntheogenic Plants and Fungi Awareness Month.

Efforts are also underway in Grand Rapids to enact a policy change for the psychedelic substances.

A California senator advanced a bill to legalize the possession of psychedelics through the Senate and two Assembly committees, buthe recently put the effort on pauseuntil next year to generate additional buy-in.

Activists in California are also hoping to place an initiative before voters in 2022 tolegalize the possession and sale of psilocybin. Anda legislative analysis of the proposal that was released last week found that it would reduce costs associated with enforcing laws against the substance.

OaklandandSanta Cruzhave already enacted psychedelics decriminalization.

Meanwhile, Denver activists who successfully led a 2019 campaign to make the citythe first in the U.S. to decriminalize psilocybin possessionhave their eyes set on broader reform, with plans in the works to end the criminalization of noncommercial gifting and communal use of the psychedelic.

Massachusetts cities that have enacted the policy change are:Northampton,SomervilleandCambridge. In July, state lawmakers heard testimony about a bill to create a task force charged withstudying the implications of legalizing psychedelics like psilocybin and ayahuasca.

The governor of Connecticut recently signed legislation recently that includes language requiring the state to carry outa study into the therapeutic potential of psilocybin mushrooms.

Texas also recently enacted a bill to require the statestudy the medical benefits of psychedelics for military veterans.

A New York lawmaker introduced a bill in June that would require the state to establish an institute to similarlyresearch the medical value of psychedelics.

In Oakland, the first city where a city council voted to broadly deprioritize criminalization of entheogenic substances, lawmakersapproved a follow-up resolutionin December that calls for the policy change to be adopted statewide and for local jurisdictions to be allowed to permit healing ceremonies where people could use psychedelics.

After Ann Arbor legislators passed a decriminalization resolution last year, a county prosecutor announcedthat his office will not be pursuing chargesover possessing entheogenic plants and fungiregardless of the amount at issue.

The Aspen, Colorado City Councildiscussed the therapeutic potential of psychedelicslike psilocybin and proposals to decriminalize such substances at a meeting in May. But members said, as it stands, enacting a reform would be more better handled at the state level while entheogens remain strictly federally controlled.

Seattle lawmakers also recently sent a letter to members of a local task force focused on the opioid overdose epidemic, imploring the group toinvestigate the therapeutic potential of psychedelics like ayahuasca and ibogaine in curbing addiction. In response, the task force issued a recommendation forthe widespread decriminalization of all drugs. The group said psychedelics in particular could represent a promising treatment to address substance abuse disorders and mental health issues.

Meanwhile, Portland, Oregon activists are mountinga push to have local lawmakers pass a resolutiondecriminalizing the cultivation, gifting and ceremonial use of a wide range of psychedelics.

In a setback for advocates, the U.S. House of Representatives recently voted against a proposal from Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) thatwould have removed a spending bill riderthat advocates say has restricted federal funds for research into Schedule I drugs, including psychedelics such as psilocybin, MDMA and ibogaine. However, it picked up considerably more votes this round thanwhen the congresswoman first introduced itin 2019.

Report provisions of separate, House-passed spending legislation also touch on the need toexpand cannabis and psychedelics research. The panel urged the National Institute On Drug Abuse (NIDA) to support expanded marijuana studies, for example. It further says that federal health agencies shouldpursue research into the therapeutic potential of psychedelicsfor military veterans suffering from a host of mental health conditions.

When it comes to broader drug policy reform, Oregon voters also approved an initiative in November todecriminalize possession of all drugs. This year, the Maine House of Representativespassed a drug decriminalization bill, but it laterdied in the Senate.

In May, lawmakers in Congress filed thefirst-ever legislation to federally decriminalize possessionof illicit substances.

Read the advisory boards proposal on the broader psilocybin report below:

Psilocybin research proposa by Marijuana Moment

Bidens Drug Czar Wants To Make It Easier To Research Marijuana, Psychedelics And Other Schedule I Substances

Image courtesy of Kristie Gianopulos.

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Oregon Psilocybin Panel Teams Up With Harvard To Research Psychedelic History And Impacts Of Reform - Marijuana Moment

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National Hemp Association Asks Congress To Budget $1 Billion To Support Industry Innovation – Marijuana Moment

Posted: at 9:01 am

A bill to legalize the possession of psychedelics in California has been put on pause until next year, but the Senate sponsor says the move is part of the complicated legislative process to get reform enactedand hes confident it will ultimately prevail.

Sen. Scott Wiener (D) submitted in a video message to a psychedelics policy forum led by the Chacruna Institute on Wednesday and discussed the challenges of passing such novel legislation. He said that it took significant compromise both internally and externally to get the bill through the Senate and two Assembly committees before he ultimately decided to temporarily pull it last month to build broader support for passage next year.

The senator also reiterated that he feels psychedelics reform is just one part of the mission. And he shares that perspective with David Bronner, another panelist at the forum who is the CEO of the soap company Dr. Bronners and has contributed financially to a number of drug policy reform efforts.

In the big picture, we need to end the war on drugsfor all drugsand we should not be criminalizing possession and use of drugs, Wiener said. Drugs are a health issue, drugs are many things, theyre not a criminal issue.

We need to stop packing our prisons full of people who are using drugs, who maybe have an addiction and so forth, he added. We need to take a health focusand I believe that we will get to the point in California where we achieve full drug decriminalization just like Oregon did during the 2020 election.

Bronner said that hes expecting statewide measures to decriminalize all drugs in 2024 in at least three additional states: California, Colorado and Washington State.

And so in the interim, the activist funder said he can accept certain revisions to the California psychedelics legislation, such as possession limits that were recently added, even if advocates dont ultimately agree with them.

I think its totally accomplishable to raise or eliminate these cut-offs [for psychedelics possession] in another decrim ballot measure, and Ill be pushing hard on that, Bronner said.

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Wiener, meanwhile, said that it may take us some time to get there on broader decriminalization, but hes confident that the states move to legalize marijuana could be followed up with psychedelics reform as his bill calls forand, from there, they can work on comprehensively ending drug prohibition.

This legislation has gone frankly further than I thought it would go, he said. We need more time to build support in the Assembly, but I was not sure that we would make it this far in our first try. Sometimes it takes multiple tries, so Im really proud of our coalition and of all the supporters. The legislative process is a complicated one, and sometimes you have to have give-and-take take so that not everyone might be in full agreement, as with any coalition.

While advocates broadly support ending psychedelics criminalization, the community did splinter on certain provisions as the senators legislation advanced. There were disagreements about the right policy for peyote because of sustainability concerns; there were disputes about possession limits that were added to the bill; there were concerns about the impact of legalizing the possession of ketamine.

The senator said that theyve tried to have an open door and be inclusive, and we will continue to do so moving forward.

I think that we still have a very strong piece of legislationand we are committed to passing it in 2022, Wiener said. I look forward to working with this amazing community.

The sponsor has spent significant energy building support for the reform proposal as it has moved through the legislature, including by holding a recent rallywith military veterans, law enforcement and health officials.

SB 519 would remove criminal penalties for possessing numerous psychedelicsincluding psilocybin mushrooms, DMT, ibogaine, LSD and MDMAfor adults 21 and older.

As a result of changes approved by one committee, the bill currently includes language laying out the limits for what is an allowable personal possession amount for each substance. That led Decriminalize Nature (DN), a group thats worked to enact psychedelics reform across the country, to call for the tabling of the legislation.

This pause on the bill until 2022 is likely welcome news for DN to that end, as members now have more time to make the case for eliminating the possession limitation provision, or reaching some kind of compromise.

Other advocates, however, say they were taking a practical position on the revision, accepting the possession limits in the interest of advancing the reform through a legislature that may otherwise defeat the bill if it contained no such restrictions.

In the Public Safety Committee, Wiener supported an amendment from the panel thatremoved ketamine from the list of psychedelicsincluded in the reform. Thats in addition to a series of technical revisions that were made to the legislation.

Under the measure, the state Department of Public Health would be required to establish a working group to study and make recommendations regarding possible regulatory systems that California could adopt to promote safe and equitable access to certain substances in permitted legal contexts. Those recommendations would be due by January 1, 2024.

For psilocybin specifically, the legislation would repeal provisions in California statute that prohibit the cultivation or transportation of any spores or mycelium capable of producing mushrooms or other material that contain the psychoactive ingredient.

Thebilloriginally included record sealing and resentencing provisions for people previously convicted of psychedelics possession offenses, but that language was removed in its last committee stop prior to the Senate floor vote as part of an amendment from the sponsor.

Marijuana Moment is already tracking more than 1,200 cannabis, psychedelics and drug policy bills in state legislatures and Congress this year. Patreon supporters pledging at least $25/month get access to our interactive maps, charts and hearing calendar so they dont miss any developments.Learn more about our marijuana bill tracker and become a supporter on Patreon to get access.

Wiener said the reasoning behind that deletion was that the policy ended up generating a huge price tag based on a fiscal analysis, but it could be addressed in separate legislation if the main bill passes.

Speaking at an event hosted by the Psychedelic and Entheogen Academic Council (PEAC) in June, the senator said advancing the legislation would befirst step toward decriminalizing all currently illicit drugs.He reiterated that point on Monday, stating that this bill is one step in the direction of ending the failed war on drugs.

While the bill is being described by lawmakers and advocates as simple decriminalization, the official legislative analysis of the proposal states that it makes possession and facilitated or supported use of specified hallucinogenics legal.

If the bill does ultimately pass through the legislature next year, it still remains unclear whether Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) would sign itthough the governor has long been an outspoken critic of the war on drugs.

Members of the psychedelics panel on Wednesday said in response to a question from Marijuana Moment that the governors office has not been involved in negotiations over the specifics of the bill, and they plan to engage in outreach with the administration later in the legislative process.

Previously, Wiener backed a prior ketamine-related amendment in an effort to build support for the legislation.

There are disagreements within the psychedelic world on it, the senator said at a meeting with activists in June. My view as you keep things in until you have to make a give, and thats one that we could potentially give on. You dont want to spontaneously give on things without getting some ability to move the bill forward as a result.

Mescaline, a psychoactive compound derived from peyote and other cacti, is another controversial psychedelic.

It was specifically excluded from the bills reform provisions in peyote-derived form, but the possession of the compound would be allowed if it comes from other plants such as the Bolivian Torch Cactus, San Pedro Cactus, or Peruvian Torch Cactus.

That decision on the peyote exclusion was informed by native groups who havestrongly pushed back against decriminalizing the cactifor conservationist reasons and because of its sacred value for their communities.

Meanwhile, California psychedelics activists recentlyfiled a petition for the 2022 ballot to make the state the first in the nation to legalize psilocybin mushrooms for any use. And a fiscal analysis of the proposal found that it would save the state millions in enforcement costs and also generate state and local tax revenue.

The psychedelics effort in the California legislature, whichWiener first previewed back in November, comes as activists are stepping up the push to enact psychedelics reform locally in cities in the state and across the country.

Michigan senators introduced a bill last week to legalize the possession, cultivation and deliveryof an array of plant- and fungus-derived psychedelics like psilocybin and mescaline.

The Ann Arbor, Michigan City Councilapproved entheogenic decriminalization last yearand in July, local lawmakers passed a resolution to officially designate September asEntheogenic Plants and Fungi Awareness Month.

Efforts are also underway in Grand Rapids to enact a policy change for the psychedelic substances.

In California, OaklandandSanta Cruzhave already enacted psychedelics decriminalization.

Meanwhile, Denver activists who successfully led a 2019 campaign to make the citythe first in the U.S. to decriminalize psilocybin possessionhave their eyes set on broader reform, with plans in the works to end the criminalization of noncommercial gifting and communal use of the psychedelic.

Massachusetts cities that have enacted the policy change are:Northampton,SomervilleandCambridge. In July, state lawmakers heard testimony about a bill to create a task force charged withstudying the implications of legalizing psychedelics like psilocybin and ayahuasca.

The governor of Connecticut recently signed legislation recently that includes language requiring the state to carry outa study into the therapeutic potential of psilocybin mushrooms.

Texas also recently enacted a bill to require the statestudy the medical benefits of psychedelics for military veterans.

A New York lawmaker introduced a bill in June that would require the state to establish an institute to similarlyresearch the medical value of psychedelics.

In Oakland, the first city where a city council voted to broadly deprioritize criminalization of entheogenic substances, lawmakersapproved a follow-up resolutionin December that calls for the policy change to be adopted statewide and for local jurisdictions to be allowed to permit healing ceremonies where people could use psychedelics.

After Ann Arbor legislators passed a decriminalization resolution last year, a county prosecutor announcedthat his office will not be pursuing chargesover possessing entheogenic plants and fungiregardless of the amount at issue.

The Aspen, Colorado City Councildiscussed the therapeutic potential of psychedelicslike psilocybin and proposals to decriminalize such substances at a meeting in May. But members said, as it stands, enacting a reform would be more better handled at the state level while entheogens remain strictly federally controlled.

Seattle lawmakers also recently sent a letter to members of a local task force focused on the opioid overdose epidemic, imploring the group toinvestigate the therapeutic potential of psychedelicslike ayahuasca and ibogaine in curbing addiction. In response, the task force issued a recommendation forthe widespread decriminalization of all drugs. The group said psychedelics in particular could represent a promising treatment to address substance abuse disorders and mental health issues.

Meanwhile, Portland, Oregon activists are mountinga push to have local lawmakers pass a resolutiondecriminalizing the cultivation, gifting and ceremonial use of a wide range of psychedelics.

In a setback for advocates, the U.S. House of Representatives recently voted against a proposal from Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) thatwould have removed a spending bill riderthat advocates say has restricted federal funds for research into Schedule I drugs, including psychedelics such as psilocybin, MDMA and ibogaine. However, it picked up considerably more votes this round thanwhen the congresswoman first introduced itin 2019.

Report provisions of separate, House-passed spending legislation also touch on the need toexpand cannabis and psychedelics research. The panel urged the National Institute On Drug Abuse (NIDA) to support expanded marijuana studies, for example. It further says that federal health agencies shouldpursue research into the therapeutic potential of psychedelicsfor military veterans suffering from a host of mental health conditions.

When it comes to broader drug policy reform, Oregon voters also approved an initiative in November todecriminalize possession of all drugs. This year, the Maine House of Representativespassed a drug decriminalization bill, but it laterdied in the Senate.

In May, lawmakers in Congress filed thefirst-ever legislation to federally decriminalize possessionof illicit substances.

Rhode Island Lawmakers Rally Behind Marijuana Equity Agenda As Legalization Talks Continue For Special Session

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Psychedelic Drug Therapy: Tips and Support for the Experience – Greatist

Posted: August 28, 2021 at 11:57 am

The fear began creeping in when I realized that I could no longer remember who I was.

I knew that I was on a beach beneath the starry sky, but concrete information like my name, past, where I was, or how Id gotten there were all frightfully elusive. I knew that I probably should recall my identity, but try as I might, I could not. As my mind spun and my heart galloped, the fear continued to bloom.

And then a thought arose: this feels familiar. There was a sensation coursing through me that I couldnt quite distinguish, but Id experienced it before. Wait I got it

I was bad tripping on LSD.

With this awareness came the understanding that, with time, my identity would ebb back in like the tide. No need to freak out. It was just a matter of time. At that moment I could be content to merely sit and consider the stars. The panic subsided. Bad trip averted, but only just.

Psychedelics arent new. In fact, thats an understatement, as psychedelics have been an integral aspect of human society for thousands of years. Come to think of it, what is rather new is their repression, which was virtually unheard of until LSD was banned in the United States back in 1967.

This prohibition put an effective end to mainstream research on substances like LSD, psilocybin (the delightful compound in so-called magic mushrooms), and mescaline for several decades, but the movement continued to bubble underground. Recently however, psychedelics also widely known as entheogens are enjoying a major comeback.

The FDA has declared that psilocybin and MDMA have the potential to be game-changing therapy tools. Cities and states have been decriminalizing the drugs left and right. Psychedelic therapy clinics are popping up across the country and around the globe, and there are even psychedelic stocks being traded on the market.

According to Dr. Julie Holland, a worldwide expert on street drugs and member of the Advisory Board at a psychedelic support organization called the Fireside Project, Clinical research is underway to see if psilocybin mushrooms may help to treat depression or the existential anxiety that often accompanies a terminal illness (at Johns Hopkins), or to treat addiction to alcohol (at NYU), cigarettes (Hopkins), or cocaine (in Alabama).

MDMA-assisted psychotherapy is being studied for the treatment of post-traumatic stress disorder (multi-center Phase IIII trials), and psilocybin is being studied in the treatment of obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) at Yale.

Suffice to say that with their potentially wide-ranging benefits, psychedelics might be one of the cures to what ails you.

That being said, its possible for the darkness to eclipse your trip regardless of your intentions. Theres only so much you can do to tame a tiger, and these substances have vivid stripes.

With this in mind, the Fireside Project has launched a new app to provide peer-to-peer support for psychonauts undergoing the rigors of a rough trip.

At the press of a button, the app connects you with an ambassador to walk you through the situation. That means different things for different people, but it can include anything from lending a sympathetic ear, to talking through the problem, to making helpful suggestions, to simply reminding you that the experience is temporary and that you will in fact come down.

And the support app is not solely for those having bad trips. It can also be used by people having a positive trip who want to talk about their experience with someone.

The general idea about a bad trip is that using psychedelics will cause you lose your mind and probably die. How dramatic.

Most of the risks with psychedelics have to do with behavioral toxicity, not physical toxicity, explains Holland. If someone isnt properly prepared, educated, and supervised, the risks increase.

But the truth is, while bad trips most certainly can happen, their actual results are almost always much less dire.

While this can indeed be taxing, its almost never dangerous. And the fact is that the majority of people who experience bad trips report that they turned out to be beneficial. A third of respondents described their trip down the dark rabbit hole as the most meaningful experience of their lives.

It may be unpleasant or uncomfortable, but sometimes, deep, significant behavioral changes still occur, says Holland. Sometimes facing your fears allows you to work through them better than running away from them.

Bad trips are often nothing more than you facing something you probably needed to face in the first place. Its your opportunity to look at and perhaps address repressed traumas or even aspirations.

A trip doesnt have to stumble its way into the bad zone to impart psychedelic wisdom. Sometimes you enjoy the same enlightening conclusions via a truly blissful experience.

Your best bet is to lessen the potential for a bad trip altogether by considering your set and setting beforehand. In a nutshell, this means taking steps to provide yourself with the appropriate surroundings (enjoyable companions, beautiful scenery, safety, etc.) and a prepared mindset (lack of immediate distress, healthily nourished, awareness of the rigors of the psychedelic state, and so on).

The Fireside Project app is the first of its kind, and well likely see similar tools emerge as the psychedelic space develops. But what if youre experiencing the fear and you dont have your phone handy? Here are a few tips for soothing or even ending a bad trip:

Remind yourself that it will end. One of the most common causes of a bad trip involves a fear that it will never end. It will. Remind yourself that youve taken a powerful substance and that while it feels overwhelming at the moment, it will start to wane, and within a few hours things will feel much more normal.

Change your setting. It might be that all you need is a quick change of scenery. That might mean going for a walk or even just moving to a different room.

Have some food or water. It could be that youre simply hungry or dehydrated, or you just need the distraction provided by food. Youd be amazed at how much the simple process of peeling an orange can do for your situation.

Art it up. This can mean many things: Put on some music (or change what youre listening to). Watch a movie. Play an instrument. Draw or paint. Sing. Its almost impossible to have a bad trip when youre singing.

Your best chance of enjoying a positive psychedelic trip is achieved through preparation creating the right set and setting. But if the grimness does set in, just remember that its not the end of the world.

The techniques above can work wonders for alleviating the situation, and tools like the Fireside Project app can provide much-needed support.

If all else fails, keep in mind that your so-called bad trip might be exactly what you needed. Its quite possible that youll emerge from your psychedelic adventure with a new perspective that will help you moving forward.

Nick Hilden is a travel, fitness, arts, and fiction writer whose work has appeared in the Daily Beast, the Los Angeles Times, Salon, Mens Health, Thrillist, Vice, and more. You can follow his travels and connect with him via Instagram or Twitter.

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Psychedelic Drug Therapy: Tips and Support for the Experience - Greatist

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University of Michigan police say safety will be top priority at psychedelic shroom festival – MLive.com

Posted: August 22, 2021 at 4:07 pm

ANN ARBOR, MI University of Michigan police are planning to keep an eye on a psychedelic plant and mushroom festival planned for Sept. 19 on the UM Diag in Ann Arbor.

Our top priority is ensuring the safety of the community, said Melissa Overton, UMs deputy police chief. Any significant violation of state or federal law or any use of entheogenic plants that poses a threat to public health, safety and welfare still could result in law enforcement involvement.

A group called Decriminalize Nature Michigan is organizing the three-hour event known as EntheoFest to celebrate the one-year anniversary of Ann Arbors move to declare entheogenic plants and fungi the citys lowest law-enforcement priority, effectively decriminalizing them at the city level.

That includes ayahuasca, ibogaine, mescaline, peyote, psilocybin mushrooms and other natural compounds with hallucinogenic properties deemed illegal under state and federal law, though not synthetic compounds like LSD.

UM police enforce state laws and technically still can make arrests for such substances on campus.

Shroom festival planned in Ann Arbor to celebrate psychedelic awareness month

Next months festival on the Diag is expected to include speakers, musical entertainment and educational booths, followed by a walk to UMs Nichols Arboretum.

Decriminalize Nature Michigan is coordinating with a student group known as the Student Association for Psychedelic Studies, which has reserved the Diag, organizers said.

Moss Herberholz, the student groups president, described it as a sacred plant and mushroom festival with a focus on Mother Nature and the incredible plants and fungi that she provides.

UM spokesman Rick Fitzgerald said the student groups application for use of the Diag is still under review.

Local psychedelics activist Chuck Ream is secretary of Decriminalize Nature Michigan, which grew out of Decriminalize Nature Ann Arbor. Ream said he supports good policing and agrees with the UM police about focusing on public health, safety and welfare.

This is a free speech event, Ream said. This is not a chance to come in and get really high. You can do that at home and we would prefer that you did that at home.

The festival is for people to come together to share information and enthusiasm about psychedelic plants and fungi and how they can be used for therapeutic and spiritual purposes, in addition to enjoyment, Ream said.

He expects about 200 to 300 people will show up, though its hard to predict and there could be as many as 2,000 to 3,000, he said. He doesnt expect police to bother people who arent bothering anyone, he said, and as a former government official and kindergarten teacher, his advice to festival-goers is, Everybody better behave properly.

We dont see it as a place to get high, he said. If someone is high, theyll be smiling a lot and that wont bother anyone at all. I assume police wont bust people for smiling too much.

Ream said he once drank a magic mushroom-infused tea and the next day his face hurt from smiling so much. He has used psychedelics for spiritual exploration, seeking what Mother God wants him to do to help save the earth, he said.

Its going to be mainly a shroom fest, in terms of what people are involved in now, he said of EntheoFest, adding it also will focus on other entheogenic plants with which people could become more involved in the future.

Jim Salome, Decriminalize Nature Michigan deputy director, said EntheoFest is a celebration of sacred medicines.

The organizing group will be advising people not to take any psychedelics at the event, Salome said.

Its not a party necessarily, he said, adding its a way to build the movement and also motivate people to contact state lawmakers to get Michigan laws changed.

Washtenaw County Prosecutor Eli Savit, state Rep. Yousef Rabhi, D-Ann Arbor, and state Sen. Jeff Irwin, D-Ann Arbor, are on the list of speakers for EntheoFest.

Savit has taken a stance against criminally charging people for use, possession or small-scale distribution of entheogenic plants and fungi, and Irwin has said he plans to introduce legislation next month to try to decriminalize the natural substances across Michigan.

After success in Ann Arbor, Decriminalize Nature Michigan has been working to advance its cause in other cities, including Lansing, East Lansing and Hazel Park. The group anticipates Grand Rapids and Detroit will act on the issue in the coming months.

I think this is really historic and happening fast, Ream said.

Organizers said theres still a chance EntheoFest could be canceled due to COVID-19 concerns. Theyre watching infection rates and case counts and waiting to see what decisions UM makes about campus events in the next month.

Were watching the numbers every day, Ream said. This whole thing is about health and safety and wholesomeness and we cannot have it become a vector of disease.

City Council voted 10-0 this week to approve a resolution declaring September to be Entheogenic Plant and Fungi Awareness Month, in hopes of increasing understanding of the potential benefits of psilocybin mushrooms and other psychedelic plants and fungi for mental health, personal and spiritual growth, as well as honoring the longstanding ancestral practices and relationships with these entheogens.

EntheoFest, which is planned for the same venue as the long-running Hash Bash marijuana rally in Ann Arbor, will take place every September, the council resolution states.

Clinical studies and research in the U.S., Canada and Europe have shown the safety and efficacy of entheogenic plants/fungi for treating a variety of mental health illnesses going back to the 1960s, the resolution states.

Further, it adds: The FDA has granted breakthrough therapy designation to psilocybin for use in major depressive disorders; psilocybin has been shown to ease treatment-resistant depression, end-of-life anxiety and cluster headaches, ibogaine has been shown to be an effective treatment for opiate addiction, and ayahuasca studies are currently underway to better understand its ability to address depression and substance dependence.

MORE FROM THE ANN ARBOR NEWS:

Michigan, State theaters requiring full COVID vaccination or negative test to attend movies, events

Ann Arbor using $59K in city funds to support a dozen community events

Ann Arbor housing development gets initial OK, but lack of EV chargers a concern

Mixed-use redevelopment proposed across from Ann Arbors Amtrak station

Ann Arbor surpasses Lansing for fifth-most populous Michigan city

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Two Years After Oakland’s Psychedelic Decrim, What’s Been the Impact? – Filter

Posted: August 4, 2021 at 2:10 pm

Over two years ago, in June 2019, the city of Oakland, California became the first in the US to decriminalize plant-based entheogens including psilocybin, iboga, ayahuasca and mescaline cacti. Since then, the reform seems to be having its intended effect of preventing arrests for these substances. However, as the psychedelic decriminalization movement grows in the city and state, how much help will it lend in the efforts to decriminalize all drugs and prevent overdose deaths?

We have not heard of any arrests in Oakland for entheogens, Carlos Plazola, co-founder of Decriminalize Nature, told Filter. His organization was instrumental in lobbying the city to decriminalize.

The only known instance of arrests around entheogen use post-decriminalization involved an August 2020 raid on a religious establishment, the Zide Door Church. The organization was reportedly exchanging and selling cannabis and mushrooms for spiritual use under a member-owner cooperative model. It attracted attention from health authorities and law enforcement, and was shut down.

Its all positive in terms of enforcement.

But even in this case, Plazola said that Oakland Police Department (OPD) omitted psilocybin from the arrest warrant, in an effort to respect the decriminalization measure. Its all positive in terms of enforcement, he said, adding that weve had no reported emergencies of anyone using mushrooms and doing something stupid.

Plazola who does not himself communicate with the OPD, cited Oakland Councilman Noel Gallo, who sponsored the successful psychedelic resolution, in reporting this information. The Oakland City Attorneys Office did not respond to Filters requests for comment.

The Alameda County Health Department toldFilter that in the last six months of 2019, across the whole county they recorded five emergency room visits and two hospitalizations for all hallucinogens (not LSD). There is no discernible patterns and nothing is statistically significantly different from before and after June 5, 2019, they said.

Its important to note that the apparent virtual absence of entheogen arrests comes in the context of rates that were already low. Prior to decriminalization, the OPD reported only 19 cases of psilocybin confiscation in five years, but kept no data on arrests for other entheogens.

There was not significant enforcement of psychedelics prior to 2019, Savannah ONeill, associate director of capacity building at the National Harm Reduction Coalition (NHRC), told Filter. It is great to have this victory to show a public shift around drug use, but in terms of enforcement it isnt the bulk of drug enforcement.

It hasnt significantly impacted how police engage with people who use [other] drugs.

Neither does she believe that psychedelic decriminalization has created any domino effect to improve how police interact with people who use other drugs in the city where she lives. It hasnt significantly impacted how police engage with people who use drugs in Oakland.

Arrest data from the state justice department for Alameda County, home to Oakland, suggest a larger trend. The most recent peak for felony drug arrests saw over 4,800 made in 2014. But numbers have dropped every year since, falling to only 641 arrests in 2020. It was in 2014 that California passing Proposition 47, reclassifying certain felony offenses as misdemeanors.

The data here are limited, as we dont know how many misdemeanor arrests were made for drugs, nor how many drug arrests occurred just in Oakland. So no solid conclusion can yet be reached on the impact of psychedelic decriminalization on arrests for other drugs.

Still, the impact of the Oakland resolution goes beyond preventing arrests. In a policy lens, ONeill said, it has created more room to talk about decriminalizing drugs, treating drugs as a public health issue and talking about the benefits of different drugs.

And Plazola said with pride that the reform has inspired more people in the city to learn about and work with entheogens. Its something that means a lot to him personally.

Growing up, In my Chicano community in San Jose, we only knew psychedelics as dangerous drugs the same as PCP or heroin, he said. It wasnt until I was in my late 40s that I learned about their healing potential.

When I tried it my immediate reaction was, why are these illegal? These should be readily available. Here we have all these Black, Brown, Asian, and Indigenous communities on the losing end of the War on Drugs, and we need to heal this trauma.

In all these communities, word is out. People are healing.

The work of Decriminalize Nature, he said, includes reaching out to the communities in Oakland that have the least. Since 2019 they have helped share educational resourcesabout entheogens with veterans, including unhoused folks, and with local organizations working in Black, Brown and Asian communities.Plazola was wary of getting into specifics about this work to protect the privacy of other parties involved.

Plazola also claimedciting an anonymous sourcethat home-growing of psilocybin for personal use has increased significantly since 2019.

More and more people are using mushrooms and entheogens to heal, he said. We hear from our ayahuasca churches that their participants have diversified, more Black, Brown and Asian participants, which was our goal.

In all these communities, word is out, he continued. People are healing. You go to a farmers market in East Oakland, theyre talking about mushrooms, they might even be exchanging them. You go to social justice community organizations, and theyre talking about these substances. Its everywhere.

Plazola and his organization are now looking to build upon the original reform by winning city residents the right to use these substances in communal settings. In December 2020, Decriminalize Nature successfully lobbied the City Council to pass the Oakland Community Healing Initiative resolution.It simply calls on the state government to give the city legal protection to allow people to use entheogens in group healing ceremonies.

Plazola explained that group healing ceremonies are technically decriminalized in the city of Oakland. People can gather together in, say, an ayahuasca center, and not seriously risk arrest from city police. These organizations may even solicit donations from participants, which is not technically legal but police are not focusing on itwith the exception of the Zide Door Church.

But city law doesnt prevent state or federal authorities from enforcing their own drug laws. Thats why the Oakland Community Healing Initiative calls for the state government to legally guarantee that cities allowing group healing ceremonies will not be raided.

Statewide psychedelic decriminalization is now a step closer to becoming reality. On June 29, a California Senate committee approved Senate Bill 519, which would remove criminal penalties for possession or sharing of psilocybin, DMT, ibogaine, LSD and MDMA. It would also require the state health department to study how California could regulate safe and equitable access to certain substances in permitted legal contexts. State Senator Scott Wiener of San Francisco sponsored the bill.

Plazola is encouraged by this progress, and clear-eyed about the end-goal, as he sees it, of access for all.

But while it is clear that psychedelic decriminalization in Oaklandand Californiais rapidly picking up steam, the success of this very specific movement raises a question: Will it bring the city or state any closer to decriminalization of all drugs?

In November 2020, Californias neighbor to the north, Oregon, became the first US state to decriminalize all drugs. This year, there are efforts to follow suit in a handful of other statesincluding from lawmakers in New York, Massachusetts and (at least in terms of studying the issue) Virginia. Reported lobbying efforts in Washington state may also result in a bill being introduced.

But California is not on this list. Why not?

We do have concerns with this approach, because it is our nature to create a false narrative that there are good versus bad drugs.

Jeanette Zanipatin, the California state director for the Drug Policy Alliance, told Filter that her organization initially considered lobbying to introduce a decriminalization bill in the legislature. However, after assessing the best prospects for meaningful success, DPA shifted its focus to supporting a 2024 ballot initiative to decriminalizewith a focus on ending racial disparities in arrest and incarceration rates, and increasing access to substance use disorder treatment.

I asked Zanipatin for her thoughts about the impact of efforts like Decriminalize Nature on prospects for the wider reforms she and her organization are pursuing.

In some instances local jurisdictions passing measures to decriminalize psychedelics could potentially add to the conversation about all-drug decriminalization, she said. However, we do have concerns with this approachdecriminalization of psychedelics firstbecause it is our inherent nature to create a false narrative that there are good versus bad drugs, and that a certain segment of society is more deserving [to not be] criminalized and have access to treatment.

Despite its reforms, California remains a fierce drug-war battleground, but the impacts are felt unequally. One illustration is the mixed results of Californias efforts to decriminalize and legalize marijuana. Racial disparities in arrests persistand even worsened in its two biggest cities, San Diego and Los Angeles. And a significant portion of marijuana tax revenue is helping fund more policing, instead of benefitting communities directly.

These continuing injustices are a reminder that well-meaning and beneficial drug policy reforms are not in themselves sufficient to end systemic racism.

Another important goal of decriminalization is to make drug use safer and thereby save lives. Oregons all-drug decriminalization plan illustrates this: It is just as much about helping people with substance use disorder get connected to treatment as it is about preventing arrests. In fact, the initiative takes money from cannabis tax revenues and uses it to expand access in a state with one of the worst treatment systems in the nation.

By promoting education about safe and responsible use of entheogens, Decriminalize Nature Oakland is surely helping to prevent negative experiences or medical emergencies related to these substances.

But when we talk about drug-related medical emergencies, we have to be clear about the most pressing problem facing California: a lethal drug overdose crisis, consisting mostly of poly-drug overdoses that involve synthetic opioids like fentanyl, and increasingly, stimulants like methamphetamine.

According to the state health department, drug overdose deaths in Alameda County remained relatively stable between 2008 and 2018, rising very slightly in 10 years to about 9.6 deaths per 100,000 people. Thats less than half of the national death rate.

A June 2018 notice from the county stated that opioid-involved deaths specifically decreased 49 percentsince 2015. It cited a combination of factors contributing to this fall, including better access to buprenorphine and naloxone.

Of course, focusing only on opioids can obscure less visible but still harmful trends in drug use and overdose. An October 2019 CDC study showed drug overdose deaths were increasing faster in California than in 37 other states. Many of those deaths involve methamphetamine or fentanyl, with California having one of the highest meth-involved fatality rates in the US.

Is it possible that psychedelic reforms in Oakland can help to reduce overdose, and other harms like HIV? It depends who you ask. The text of the Oakland psychedelic resolution adopted by City Council in June 2019 proposed that certain psychedelics may help people overcome substance use disorder related to opioids, methamphetamine, alcohol and other drugs.

We should create access to psychedelics as a form of healing, but I push back on the idea that these are the solutions or a cure to other drug use.

While various evidence supports some of these claims, not all are universally accepted, including by some harm reduction-oriented experts. And different impacted people, obviously, have very different experiences. But setting aside those debates, the logic seems to go that by making it easier for everyone to use these substances, we will also encourage more people with substance use disorder to self-treat with psychedelics.

We have to be sensitive in how we talk about this, said ONeill.

Harm reduction means that people center their own needs, define what violence is in their lives and have bodily autonomy, she said. We should create access to psychedelics as a form of healing, but I push back on the idea that these are the solutions or a cure to other drug use. We want more options for people.

By framing psychedelics as the savior of people who are addicted to other drugs, advocates risk supporting the good versus bad drugs narrative of which Zanipatin warnedperpetuating harms by denying people who use other drugs the safe supply they want and continuing to subject them to arrests.

ONeill commended members of Decriminalize Nature for taking a more holistic focus on these issues than many in the psychedelic movement. She and they were both involved with a task force in Oakland to decide if and how to reduce the Oakland police budget, in the wake of the 2020 George Floyd protests.

The people I have engaged with seem committed to the decriminalization of drugs, she said. Some of the Decriminalize Nature folks were part of our reimagining public safety process and were on board with recommending de-prioritizing enforcement of all drugs. [There was even support to] de-prioritize laws related to drug dealing, which is impressive.

People who want to safe consumption sites and those who want to host group healing ceremonies with entheogens share similar goals.

In Oakland, there is another intersection between psychedelics and overdose prevention. As Decriminalize Nature was fighting to have the state government protect group healing ceremonies, the Oakland City Council called for this legal protection to be included in Senate Bill 57.

SB 57 was an effort by legislators to authorize safe consumption sites in Californiaincluding a pilot in Oaklandto prevent deaths. Senator Wiener, who sponsors the psychedelic decriminalization bill, authored SB 57, too. But legislators pulled the bill in July due to a lack of support in the legislature.

Obviously, people who want to open safe consumption sites and those who want to host group healing ceremonies with entheogens share similar goals. All need lawmakers with the courage to protect them from federal law enforcement. Perhaps in the near future, these two movements will really join forces in California to win that right.

Though the psychedelic decriminalization movement has its criticsincluding from inside the drug policy reform and harm reduction movementsit is here to stay and growing stronger. For opponents of the drug war, the psychedelic movement shows a clear model for how to engage with local decision-makers and earn their support, and its reforms hold intrinsic value. But its successes, together with the drugs and people they leave out, demand psychedelic advocates vigilance against psychedelic exceptionalism.

Photograph of psilocybin mushrooms by Cannabis Pictures via Flickr, Creative Commons 2.0.

DPA previously provided a restricted grant to The Influence Foundation, which operates Filter, to support a Drug War Journalism Diversity Fellowship.

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Two Years After Oakland's Psychedelic Decrim, What's Been the Impact? - Filter

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Psychedelics Decriminalization Advancing In Three More Cities, Spanning From Coast To Coast – Marijuana Moment

Posted: at 2:10 pm

From Massachusetts to California, advocates are actively making new strides to reform local laws governing psychedelics like psilocybin and ayahuascabuilding on a national movement that has already seen numerous cities decriminalize entheogenic substances.

The momentum of the psychedelics decriminalization movement is abundantly clear when one considers the geopolitical landscape thats being targeted by activists associated with Decriminalize Nature of late. The latest cities where the reform move is generating steam are Easthampton, Massachusetts; Grand Rapids, Michigan and Arcata, California.

Heres a breakdown of where the efforts stand in each city:

The Easthampton City Council is exploring a resolution to decriminalize a wide range of entheogenic substances. Passing the measure would mean that Easthampton would be the fourth city in Massachusetts to enact the reform.

Councilors Owen Zaret, Thomas Peake and Salem Derby are sponsoring the resolution, which seeks to make enforcement of laws against certain psychedelics among the citys lowest priorities. Advocates with Bay Staters for Natural Medicine have helped spearhead the effort.

This is an opportunity to be forward-thinking and make a statement to undo historical harm done by criminalizing plants that have clear therapeutic properties, Zaret said in a press release. People should not be arrested or incarcerated for essentially using medicine. This lays a path towards legislation that allows for de-scheduling these plants, and creating a reasonable and safe regulatory framework for entheogenic therapy outside of the reach of Big Pharma.

Law Enforcement Action Partnership (LEAP) is also supporting the reform, and advocates have already met with local police officials to discuss the issue.

Many officers know arrests can make people suffering substance use disorder even worse off, James Davis, a volunteer for Bay Staters for Natural Medicine, said. We are grateful to first-responders having tough conversations in their own departments about how to treat people with humanitypossession arrests lose people their jobs, traumatize them, lose them access to benefits, and often makes fentanyl access easier in jails and prisons.

Other Massachusetts cities that have enacted the policy change are: Northampton,SomervilleandCambridge.

Last week, state lawmakers also heard testimony about a bill to create a task force charged withstudying the implications of legalizing psychedelics like psilocybin and ayahuasca.

In Grand Rapids, a local lawmaker who is advising the citys chapter of Decriminalize Nature recently said that he feels theres enough support to advance a psychedelics decriminalization resolution.

In terms of my discussions with my colleagues, theyre all very open minded to it; They all have a lot of questions, City Commissioner Kurt Reppart to MLive. Several of them have expressed explicit support. I believe we have enough support to pass a resolution.

He said the measure could go to a vote by the end of the year, though no actions are currently scheduled. City attorneys are currently reviewing the proposed language, after which point it would be sent to the city commissions Legislative Committee to advise on whether the body should approve or reject it.

The best case scenario for me is that during the fall it would come up and it would pass with a resounding vote, he said. I dont know if it would be unanimous, but it would be a strong vote.

As with most Decriminalize Nature proposals, the one being planned would not legalize the psychedelics, but simple possession and cultivation offenses involving the substances would be deprioritized for law enforcement.

If approved, this would be the second Michigan city to pass psychedelics decriminalization, following the Ann Arbor City Councils unanimous vote to pass a similar resolution last year.

Decriminalizing things that are not harming anyone ought to be the first thing that we take away from law enforcement and say, You know what, weve been asking you to do that. You no longer have to go to those places where you dont have the training and the expertise and its always uncomfortable, Reppart.

In Arcata, the City Councils Public Safety Committee recently advanced a psychedelics reform resolution led by Decriminalize Nature Humboldt. The panel revised it to restrict the policies on deprioritizing enforcement to use and possession in private spaces, and members also urged the inclusion of an educational campaign on the issue.

This action came after the full body ended up split on the proposal during earlier consideration. But the committees passage of the measure means it will be returned to the full Council.

The city has the power to prioritize where law enforcement goes and then where the resources go for that, Larry Norris, co-founder of Decriminalize Nature, said in testimony, according to The Times-Standard. It doesnt change the law. There are no changes to municipal code, but [decriminalization] really allows for the city to say, Hey, plants and mushrooms arent really a big priority for us, we have other things going on.

Councilmember Sarah Schaefer agreed to lead the resolution, which would make enforcement of laws against entheogenic substances like psilocybin and ibogaine among the citys lowest law enforcement priorities.

Danielle Daniel, lead organizer of Decriminalize Nature Humboldt, told Marijuana Moment that she has so much gratitude for the Arcata Public Safety Committees openness to understanding the healing potential of entheogenic plants and fungi, and the importance of decriminalization for our community.

With Decriminalize Nature Humboldts dedication to educating our community about entheogens, and how to take them in a therapeutic way, we hope to dispel any confusion or fear about decriminalization in Arcata, she said.

In California, Oakland and Santa Cruz have already enacted psychedelics decriminalization.

Marijuana Moment is already tracking more than 1,200 cannabis, psychedelics and drug policy bills in state legislatures and Congress this year. Patreon supporters pledging at least $25/month get access to our interactive maps, charts and hearing calendar so they dont miss any developments.Learn more about our marijuana bill tracker and become a supporter on Patreon to get access.

Heres more context on the psychedelics reform movement:

For the most part, the burgeoning psychedelics movement has been limited to decriminalizationwith the exception or Oregon, where voters elected to legalize psilocybin for therapeutic purposesduring last years election. California activists are also pushing to placepsilocybin legalization on the states 2022 ballotas a lawmaker works to pass a separate bill tolegalize possession of a wide range of psychedelicsthat has already passed the state Senate and two Assembly committees.

The latest developments in Easthampton, Grand Rapids and Arcata are some of the latest iterations of a national psychedelics reform movement thats spread since Denver became the first city to decriminalize psilocybin mushroomsin 2019.

The governor of Connecticut signed legislation recently that includes language requiring the state to carry outa study into the therapeutic potential of psilocybin mushrooms.

Texas also recently enacted a bill to require the statestudy the medical benefits of psychedelics for military veterans.

A New York lawmaker introduced a bill in June that would require the state to establish an institute to similarly research the medical value of psychedelics.

In Oakland, the first city where a city council voted to broadly deprioritize criminalization of entheogenic substances, lawmakersapproved a follow-up resolutionin December that calls for the policy change to be adopted statewide and for local jurisdictions to be allowed to permit healing ceremonies where people could use psychedelics.

After Ann Arbor legislators passed a decriminalization resolution last year, a county prosecutor recently announcedthat his office will not be pursuing chargesover possessing entheogenic plants and fungiregardless of the amount at issue.

The Aspen, Colorado City Councildiscussed the therapeutic potential of psychedelicslike psilocybin and proposals to decriminalize such substances at a meeting in May. But members said, as it stands, enacting a reform would be more better handled at the state level while entheogens remain strictly federally controlled.

Seattle lawmakers also recently sent a letter to members of a local task force focused on the opioid overdose epidemic, imploring the group toinvestigate the therapeutic potential of psychedelicslike ayahuasca and ibogaine in curbing addiction.

The psychedelics conversation is also catching on at the federal level.

But in a setback for advocates, the U.S. House of Representatives last week voted against a proposal from Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) that would have removed a spending bill rider that advocates say has restricted federal funds for research into Schedule I drugs, including psychedelics such as psilocybin, MDMA and ibogaine. However, it picked up considerably more votes this round than when the congresswoman first introduced it in 2019.

Report provisions of separate, House-passed spending legislation also touch on the need to expand cannabis and psychedelics research. The panel urged the National Institute On Drug Abuse (NIDA) to support expanded marijuana studies, for example

It further says that federal health agencies shouldpursue research into the therapeutic potential of psychedelicsfor military veterans suffering from a host of mental health conditions.

When it comes to broader drug policy reform, Oregon voters also approved an initiative in November todecriminalize possession of all drugs. This year, the Maine House of Representativespassed a drug decriminalization bill, but it laterdied in the Senate.

In May, lawmakers in Congress filed the first-ever legislation to federally decriminalize possessionof illicit substances.

Wyoming Marijuana Decriminalization And Medical Cannabis Initiatives Clear First 2022 Ballot Hurdle

Photo courtesy of Wikimedia/Workman.

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Witch City Tarot & Divination Gathering | Coby Michael Ward – Patheos

Posted: July 29, 2021 at 8:54 pm

Witch City Tarot Gathering 2021

I had the pleasure of attending a fantastic event, The Witch City Tarot & Divination Gathering. It was a virtual weekend-long event being held in the Witch City, Salem, MA. This weekend was all about Tarot, divination and building a sense of community. There was an impressive line-up of independent deck designers, artists and intuitives including the Shadowland Tarot, The Southern Gothic Oracle, and Lubanko Tarot to name a few. The event began Friday evening with an opening ritual conducted at Maison Vampyre, a sexy psychic parlour in Salem, followed by an introduction of the presenters. Maison Vampyre is a posh setting offering a variety of readings and energy work, in addition to being a beautiful event venue.

There were live performances throughout the weekend including a sensual burlesque show by Bianca Boom Boom and the terrifyingly talented Thea Munster, as well as an entrancing performance by DJ Lowkey Doom. With one of the most diverse performance line-ups I have seen, the weekend performances began with the talented Foulk Voegelis hauntingly beautiful harp composition.

There were enough classes to keep me busy the entire weekend! I had the pleasure of attending some of the wonderful presentations, and I plan on watching the recordings of the ones that I missed! There were some terrific workshops on creating your own deck and developing your intuitive powers. Also, there were also some interesting herbal classes, including my own, which I was very excited about! As an occult herbalist and practitioner, I love learning the different ways that people work with plants. The focus this weekend was on divinatory herbs, many of them entheogenic in nature. I was right in my element!

The workshop variety was wonderful! The organizers did an amazing job curating the line-up for the weekend. I say curate because the selection and specialization of everyones area of expertise made this such an enriching weekend. There were so many facets of different practices covered. Some of the other classes that I attended live were Intuitive Tarot 101 with Kris Gurky owner of Dark Moon Salem, Hoodoo in Memphis with Tony Kail, Candle Magick with June Jennings owner of Wicked Wax and a beautiful ceremony/workshop on the spirit of tobacco with Vrylak Faemanna owner of The Arcanist Witch Store. There was literally a class for everyone, from ecologists to introverts. The best thing about watching these presentations was seeing the passion everyone has for what they do. It is a blessing to have a space to share that passion with others.

I was asked by Kris to be a part of the Witch City Tarot Gathering (WCTG) this year. The event was held virtually, and I presented on Ritual Entheogens in Divination. The event is typically held in-person in historic Salem, MA; however, like many events this one was temporarily taken online. It is so important that we are still able to gather as a community, and events like this wouldnt be possible without the sacrifice of time, patience, and energy of those who organized it. This event was made possible through the efforts of Dark Moon Salem, Maison Vampyre and Wicked Wax. As well as and a lovely group of moderators and presenters.

If you have the chance be sure to check out the event, which will be IN PERSON next year (Jul 22-24 2022)

For more info go to: witchcitytarotgathering.com

Dark Moon Salem is ran by Kris Gurky, witch, herbalist and intuitive psychic where she offers a variety of in-person herbal workshops and retreats at The Witch Cottage in the woods of Massachusetts. Kris is just an all-around-bad-ass, and made this event not only possible, but one of the smoothest run that I have been a part of. The behind the scenes work that must happen to make an event like this enjoyable for attendees is quite a feat!

Wicked Wax owned and operated by experienced witch and candlemaker, June Jennings who creates high-end intention candles using magickal botanical ingredients. These candles ooze power, and contain some of Junes own personal magick! If you are looking for quality artisanal candles that pack a magickal punch be sure to check out Wicked Wax!

Maison Vampyre Salems exclusive vampyre parlour offers psychic readings and energy work. This elegant and private space is home to a variety of psychics and energy workers of different modalities. Located on Derby Square, Maison Vampyre is also a venue for dark weddings and nightside ceremonies. Maison Vampyre is presided over by Alexis Pharae, an ordained minister and vampyre witch.

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Witch City Tarot & Divination Gathering | Coby Michael Ward - Patheos

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With Push From New Nonprofit, Arcata City Council Will Soon Consider a Resolution That Would Decriminalize Psychedelic Plants and Fungi in Arcata -…

Posted: July 7, 2021 at 3:08 pm

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Arcata residents 21 and older may soon be free to embark on psychedelic trips without trip-to-the-police-department fears thanks to a new nonprofit named Decriminalize Nature Humboldt.

Stemming from a nationwide education campaign called Decriminalize Nature, the two-month-old local advocacy group hopes to push Arcata toward decriminalizing entheogenic plants and fungi. This would include the psychedelic drugs ibogaine (iboga shrub roots), dimethyltryptamine (ayahuasca), mescaline (cactus), psilocybin and psilocyn (magic mushrooms). The group posits that people seeking the medicinal benefits of entheogens should not be punished and that criminalization for using, possessing or sharing these drugs isnt productive anyway.

Decriminalize Nature Humboldt caught the attention of Arcata City Council Member Sarah Schaefer, who has agreed to introduce a resolution that would decriminalize entheogens within City limits.

Decriminalization is not legalization. If adopted, a resolution would simply establish that the investigation or arrest for cultivating, using or possessing entheogenic plants and fungi would become the lowest priority for the Arcata Police Department. Under current California law, the cultivation and possession of these substances is considered a misdemeanor and offenders can be subject to a fine and/or a jail sentence of up to one year.

(The sale of entheogenic plants and fungi is a felony deemed worthy of prison time. The decriminalization of selling entheogenic plants and fungi is not included in the scope of goals pursued by Decriminalize Nature Humboldt or their parent movement.)

Schaefer who during her campaign was approached by Arcatans interested in the decriminalization of psilocybin told the Outpost that a resolution would largely be about recognizing that this isnt something that should be demonized.

There are a lot of arguments for decriminalization. What seems to be the main argument in Arcata is the medicinal uses entheogens may provide for some people struggling with mental illnesses. People who want to use entheogens medicinally shouldnt have to worry about the law, Shaefer said. Its not just people that want to party.

For instance, administered through guided therapy trials, psilocybin and ayahuasca have been found to help improve moods long-term in patients struggling with severe depression. Other studies show that ibogaine helps kick opioid addiction.

I feel very dedicated to educating people on the medicinal qualities of these medicines helping people get the help they need to be happy, Danielle Daniel, lead organizer of Decriminalize Nature Humboldt, told the Outpost.

Daniel, who recently graduated from HSU with a masters in sociology, did a senior thesis on 18 people who have taken psilocybin mushrooms long-term. One of the main things that I found in the research was that even when people would take mushrooms for [recreational purposes] over medicinal, it made people better humans, Daniel said. People would stop lying, or they would stop littering, or they would just be more connected to nature, which is awesome. And that is what we need right now more connection with nature.

Picking up long-lasting and positive habits like increased care for nature or a decrease in criminal behavior after using entheogens has also been suggested by a few studies.

Another argument for decriminalizing entheogens is that the status quo of criminalizing drug users in general is counterproductive, expensive and inequitable.

Decriminalization of plant and fungi medicines in Arcata is the first step to right the wrong of the failed drug war. Nixons war was based on disrupting and arresting members in the civil rights group and anti-war group, not to protect people from substances and those who take them. The decision was based on politics, not science, Daniel said in a Decriminalize Nature Humboldt press release, which also noted that with a resolution, funds currently used for entheogen-related arrests could be redirected to other areas.

Meanwhile with medicinal uses in mind California lawmakers are also looking to smush the war on drugs with Senate Bill 519, which would decriminalize entheogenic plants and fungi as well as other hallucinogens, like LSD and ecstasy, across the state. Oregon is the only state that has decriminalized psychedelics (actually, all drugs, in small quantities), and has legalized entheogens for medical purposes.

California State Senator Scott Wiener, SB 519s author, argues that the war on drugs has criminalized addiction and has helped create a system of racist mass incarceration. Weve been trying to arrest our way and incarcerate our way out of drug use for more than 50 years. Its been a complete failure. It doesnt work, Wiener said in an interview with ABC10.

SB 519 was approved by the California State Senate last month and is now moving its way through the Assembly. Shaefer noted that in addition to immediate local benefits of decriminalization in Arcata, passing the resolution would indicate support for SB 519 as the Assembly moves toward that decision.

Shaefer also mentioned that decriminalizing locally could potentially open doors for researching entheogenic plants and fungi at Humboldt State University.

Oakland became the first city in California to decriminalize entheogens in 2019, and Santa Cruz followed soon after. If the resolution passes in Arcata, Decriminalize Nature Humboldt will look into whether other Humbodlt cities are interested in decriminalization, too.

It really has to do with the community, Daniel said. If I get involved in the community in Eureka and people are receptive, I would love to do that.

Why might a city not be interested? The main concerns people have about decriminalizing entheogenic plants are addiction risk and underage use, but both of those worries are kind of moot, Daniel said. Though healing, the experience is also exhausting, so most people dont want to use entheogens every day, Daniel said, plus, most people develop a quick tolerance. On top of that, studies indicate that entheogens are a useful treatment for kicking addictions, not developing them.

And in regard to the underage concern, this resolution would apply only to people over 21.

Some concerns about SB 519 include safety issues, like people accidentally picking and consuming poisonous mushrooms or driving during a trip. State and local decriminalization efforts are aimed to increase access for people seeking the medical benefits of entheogens, but would also allow recreational use, which some legislatures argue is unnecessary. One opponent of SB 519 is the Peace Officers Research Association of California, which fears decriminalization in California would increase drug dealing and crime.

Decriminalize Nature Humboldt will be tabling at every Arcata Farmers Market in July, where they will distribute information about entheogens, how to use them medicinally and what decriminalization rather than legalization means. The group has apetitionthat has so far collected 25 signatures.

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