Last week, the city of San Francisco decriminalized entheogenic substances after its Board of Supervisors unanimously passed a measure that made entheogens the lowest priority for city law enforcement. The measure was sponsored by Supervisors Hillary Ronen and Dean Preston.
Its approval is a victory for Decriminalize Nature’s San Francisco chapter. Decriminalize Nature has influenced similar measures in Detroit, Oakland, Seattle, Denver and Washington, DC, as well as other counties and cities in the country.
The city’s initiative references SB 519, a California bill forwarded by Sen. Scott Wiener. This bill called for the decriminalization of a range of psychedelics, including MDMA, psilocin, LSD, DMT, ibogaine and psilocybin. The bill, which was put on hold till next year, also stipulated that no fines or penalties would be imposed on individuals aged 21 and above found in possession of the aforementioned substances.
While it does reference the California bill, San Francisco’s resolution doesn’t include MDMA and LSD in its final recommendations. Instead, it refers to the historical use of psilocybin mushrooms, mescaline-containing cacti, ayahuasca and iboga as evidence of these entheogens’ benefits and therapeutic value.
The measure even includes passages related to peyote and mescaline, which highlight that mescaline can be beneficial in healing alcohol and drug addiction and has also been used in sacred community healing and initiation rituals by various cultures for millennia.
The initiative’s primary target is the decriminalization of all entheogenic plants and plant-based compounds, which are classified under Schedule I of the Controlled Substances Act. The bill also urges local law enforcement and federal agencies to consider these substances as the lowest priority, and implores that no city resources be used in any investigations, arrests, detentions or prosecutions regarding the use of these entheogens.
In addition, the bill asks that the clerk of the board send a copy of the measure to the police department, the district attorney’s office, the sheriff’s department, Sen. Scott Wiener, Assembly members Phil Ting and Matt Haney, Gov. Gavin Newsom, Senators Alex Padilla and Dianne Feinstein, and Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi.
The inclusion of peyote in this resolution is a bone of contention, especially since Decriminalize Nature has been criticized in the past for including this particular entheogen in its decriminalization efforts, against the wishes of the Native American Church and other indigenous groups. The Native American Church has requested on many occasions that decriminalization campaigns exclude peyote in their bid to preserve the limited supply.
The growing awareness about the medical potential of psychedelics is fueling the wave of advocacy seeking to see drug laws reformed. At the same time, companies such as Delic Holdings Corp. (CSE: DELC) (OTCQB: DELCF) are also pursuing drug and product-development programs aimed at bringing psychedelic treatments to the patients who need viable alternatives to conventional treatments. These two forces are likely to converge in a powerful way that will trigger policy change at all levels in different jurisdictions.
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