Voters of Washington, DC expressed their support for psychedelic mushrooms through a favorable vote for Initiative 81, reported Marijuana Moment. Also called Decriminalize Psychedelic Plants, the Initiative received 195,773 votes, which comprises 76.18% of overall numbers. This initiative was included in the recent ballot with the effort of various organizations.
Congress is in charge of policies in DC, which means that the new law will be implemented after undergoing a 30-day evaluation period. The process gives federal legislators the power to block the new law. A similar case has been observed in the past where federal lawmakers took down a medical marijuana ballot measure approved by voters.
In a press release, Decriminalize Nature DC Chairwoman Melissa Lavasani said, “Initiative 81’s success was driven by grassroots support from DC voters. We are thrilled that DC residents voted to support common-sense drug policy reforms that help end part of the war on drugs.”
This move can have positive effects on communities affected by the war on drugs, Lavasani added, that this progress can be a move toward partially ending the war on drugs, “while ensuring that DC residents benefiting from plant and fungi medicines are not police targets.”
Decriminalize Nature DC campaigned for this initiative a few months before the election. It launched a campaign signature that was signed by almost 35,000 residents, way more than the required 24,835 valid signatures. The initiative was also supported by the District of Columbia Democratic Party.
DC ballot initiative is noted as the “first time the sweeping policy was enacted through a ballot initiative,” said Marijuana Moment.
What it Means for Psychedelics
It is not the first time that decriminalization of psychedelic plants such as mushrooms and cannabis has been discussed in the country. Denver was the very first city in the United States to decriminalize psilocybin, the active compound in magic mushrooms. The measure was also voter-approved and is credit as the spark that ignited the psychedelic law reform movement in the country. Meanwhile, Oregon has legalized medical psilocybin this past election.
Oakland, Santa Cruz, and Ann Arbor have decriminalized the possession of plants and fungi psychedelics.
Given that the legalization of psilocybin in Denver resulted in a movement to legalize psychedelics, this victory in the nation’s capital can be a good thing for other cities and entire states in the future.
This, combined with support from various organizations can result in further reforms, especially when it comes to medical applications. According to Marijuana Moment, the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies was able to raise $30 million in donations which can aid in finishing its research on using MDMA for post-traumatic stress disorder treatment.
The organization was able to gather donations for several large businesses that had nothing to do with drug reform. Moreover, the University of California at Berkeley revealed plans for a research facility committed to studying psychedelics and education.
Record-Breaking Support for Marijuana
Aside from the gradual successes for psychedelics, cannabis has been gaining more traction across the nation. A Gallup study revealed that Americans have shown record-breaking support for the plant with 68% of adults backing legalization measures. Statistically, the numbers are not very different compared to 2019 figures, which showed that 66% supported such reforms.
Nevertheless, 68% is the highest seen by Gallup since it started measuring support for cannabis in 1969. Back then, only 12% of the population was in favor of the plant, This number increased to 28% in 1977 and stayed under 30% until 2000. The most recent poll was done before the election.
After Election Day, the support for the plant became more apparent. A Vox report said that marijuana decriminalization was voted positively in various states including Arizona, Montana, New Jersey, and South Dakota. These measures cover recreational legalization. Mississippi and South Dakota (which had another ballot initiative for medical marijuana) also made the plant legal for medicinal use.
According to Vox, “All of the measures won with relatively strong support, by 5 or more percentage points, in an election season that could otherwise come down to the smallest of margins – literally tenths of a percent – in the presidential and congressional races.”
The report also noted that the approval in Montana, Mississippi, and South Dakota “is peculiar” because they are known as conservative states with votes for Donald Trump. However, it also clarified that even Republicans have expressed support for the plant over the past years.
What the stronger support for marijuana means, however, is that Americans are now rejecting the war on drugs, which resulted in dire effects on specific communities. Moreover, the drug war has also resulted in the incarceration and fining for mere possession. It is important to note that while the reforms in certain states have legalized marijuana, penalties can still apply for possession, distribution, and transport over the regulated amount.
Meanwhile, cannabis supporters in congress have encouraged their colleagues to support the plant next month. Representatives Earl Blumenauer and Barbara Lee wrote a Dear Colleague letter, saying, “Americans in five very different states voted overwhelmingly to liberalize their cannabis policies and it is clearer than ever that the American people are demanding a change to outdated cannabis laws.”
The Dear Colleague letter was revealed after the House announced a floor vote tackling the federal de-scheduling of the plant through the Marijuana Opportunity, Reinvestment, and Expungement (MORE) Act. It was written as a call for support for this session.
Blumenauer and Lee also stated that the recent cannabis successes should create a “sense of urgency” for Congress in order to “[catch] up to the American people.” Regarding the presidency, Blumenauer expressed optimism about a Biden administration and the Department of Justice. He is confident that these “would be a constructive player” when it comes to legalization
The Bottom Line
Cannabis legalization has been a hot topic for the past years. With more and more states approving drug reforms, especially those concerning psychedelic plants and fungi such as cannabis and mushrooms, the call for support has intensified greatly and has even shown positive results.