Detroit Votes To Decriminalize Drugs Like Magic Mushrooms Amid Psychedelic Renaissance

Voters in Detroit backed a ballot proposal on Tuesday to effectively decriminalize some psychedelic plants and fungi, such as magic mushrooms, with the city becoming the latest in the U.S. to loosen restrictions regarding the use of psychoactive substances.

Around 61 percent of voters who cast their ballot said "Yes" to Proposal E, with only a simple majority required for its approval. Overall, more than 93,000 ballots were cast—representing a turnout of around 18 percent among the city's 502,000 registered voters—although results have yet to be certified.

The measure means that the city will decriminalize "to the fullest extent permitted under Michigan law" the personal possession and therapeutic use of entheogenic plants and fungi, such as magic mushrooms, peyote and iboga, by adults.

It also means that city police will treat personal possession and therapeutic use of entheogenic plants and fungi by adults as one of their "lowest law enforcement priorities."

Entheogens are psychoactive substances that induce visionary experiences, characterized by alterations in perception, mood, consciousness, cognition and behavior.

At the federal level, it is still illegal to cultivate or possess many psychoactive plants and fungi because they contain restricted substances. Magic mushrooms, for example, contain psilocin and psilocybin, which are classified as Schedule I drugs.

Approval of Proposal E does not legalize the use of such plants and fungi in Detroit due to federal restrictions. But it does mean that the Detroit Police Department will be instructed to cease investigations and prosecutions of individuals who possess and use them. The proposal does not decriminalize the sale of entheogenic plants and fungi in the city.

Proposal E was placed on Tuesday's ballot after a successful initiative petition led by local activists, including Decriminalize Nature Detroit—the local chapter of a national grassroots advocacy group that has been responsible fort several ongoing decriminalization initiatives at the state and municipal level.

"Congratulations Detroit! Thank you to everyone who showed up to vote, to everyone who organized, everyone who has been leading the way & everyone continuing the work!" Decriminalize Nature Detroit said in an Instagram post following Tuesday's vote.

Organizer Moudou Baqui previously told Truffle Report that the initiative would "would allow personal possession and cultivation of sacred plant medicines, including psilocybin, iboga, and ayahuasca," and would allow small businesses to conduct ceremonies involving these substances in the city.

Tuesday's vote means Detroit will join several other jurisdictions in the U.S. that have taken steps to loosen restrictions on certain psychoactive substances amid the so-called "psychedelic renaissance."

In May 2019, Denver, Colorado became the first city in the U.S. to deprioritize the enforcement of laws prohibiting the personal possession magic mushrooms.

Since then, several municipalities, including Oakland, California, Ann Arbor, Michigan, and the District of Columbia, as well as the state of Oregon have passed similar legislation.

Some psychedelic drugs are increasingly garnering interest from researchers for their potential therapeutic benefits.

Magic mushroom assisted-therapy, for example, has shown promise for the treatment of depression, anxiety, and other mental health conditions. Meanwhile, MDMA-assisted therapy could be helpful for people who suffer from PTSD and individuals on the autism spectrum.

Greg Rovner, CEO of Heally, a California-based telemedicine platform for psychedelic clinics and patients looking for alternative medicine treatment, welcomed the result of Tuesday's vote in a statement provided to Newsweek.

"We would like to congratulate the residents of Detroit for voting in favor of proposal E. This is a great first step that will significantly reduce the number of people arrested for possession of entheogenic plants, as we've seen in Oakland, Denver and the whole state of Oregon. We hope local initiatives will push the federal movement toward ending prohibition and open more opportunities for medical research."

Psychoactive mushrooms
Stock image showing magic mushrooms. iStock