Despite the overwhelming evidence showing that kidnapping and caging people for possessing illegal substances does nothing to prevent use and only leads to more crime and suffering, government is still hell bent on enforcing the war on drugs. Like a crack addict who needs to find his next fix, the state is unable to resist the temptation to kick in doors, shake down brown people, and ruin lives to enforce the drug war.
Instead of realizing the horrific nature of the enforcement of prohibition, many cities across the country double down on the drug war instead of admitting failure. As we can see from watching it unfold, this only leads to more suffering and more crime. Luckily, there are cities, and now entire states in other parts of the country that are taking steps to stop this violent war and the implications for such measures are only beneficial to all human kind.
Eight years ago, Colorado citizens—tired of the war on drugs and wise to the near-limitless benefits of cannabis—made US history by voting to legalize recreational marijuana. Then, in 2019, this state once again placed themselves on the right side of history as they voted to decriminalize magic mushrooms. But this was just the beginning and their momentum is spreading—faster and stronger, toward decriminalizing all plant-based psychedelics. Then, last year, the state of Oregon decriminalized all drugs.
Now, another spark has erupted, and this time it is in Michigan. In March, Hazel Park City Council voted to decriminalize psilocybin and other naturally occurring psychedelics — following the lead of municipalities across the country.
Hazel Park is the third city in Michigan to pass a resolution to decriminalize psilocybin and the fourteenth in the nation.
Apair of House Democrats introduced legislation on Tuesday that would decriminalize possession of all drugs at the federal level for personal use and begin the process of prioritizing a public health approach to drug use over punishment and policing. These are the necessary first steps, advocates say, for ending the war on drugs 50 years after it was first declared by President Richard Nixon.
Representatives Cori Bush (D-Missouri) and Bonnie Watson Coleman (D-New Jersey) introduced the Drug Policy Reform Act, which would eliminate federal criminal penalties for possession of any drug for personal use, including marijuana, cocaine, opioids, various psychedelics and other drugs banned under the Controlled Substances Act. The bill aims to begin repairing some of the damage to communities and the lives of individuals caused by the drug war, which has contributed heavily to mass incarceration and other forms of state violence that have fallen hardest on low-income communities and people of color.
“The economic stability of our carceral state depends on this misguided and racist policy, and we are here to say, no more, it’s time that we end this destruction,” Bush told reporters on Tuesday, adding that, as a nurse in St. Louis, she saw how criminalization and stigma harms people who use drugs. “Imagine what we could do if we built systems of care that treated and supported people…that is the world we should build.”
While the 2020 presidential results remained unclear the morning after Election Day, one thing for certain is that voters overwhelmingly approved a series of measures aimed at the war on drugs, including the legalization of marijuana in New Jersey, Arizona, and Montana, the decriminalization of psychedelic mushrooms in Washington, D.C. and the decriminalization of all drugs in Oregon.
Voters in the state of Oregon also voted in favor of Measure 109, which allows for patients 21-and-over to buy, possess, and consume psychedelic drugs at “psilocybin service centers,” under the supervision of trained facilitators, while Measure 110 — which decriminalized personal possession of drugs like heroin, methamphetamine, LSD and MDMA — also overwhelmingly passed with 60 percent of votes in favor; Measure 110 also called for the establishment of a drug addiction treatment program funded by its marijuana tax revenue.
“Today’s victory is a landmark declaration that the time has come to stop criminalizing people for drug use,” Kassandra Frederique, executive director of the Drug Policy Alliance that spearheaded the measure, said in a statement.
Drug policy reform advocates are asking a key congressional committee to reject a Republican lawmaker’s attempt to block Washington, D.C. from enacting an initiative to decriminalize certain psychedelics.
Rep. Andy Harris (R-MD)—who has also championed provisions preventing D.C. from implementing legal marijuana sales after local voters passed a cannabis initiative in 2014—signaled last week that he’s planning to introduce an amendment to a spending bill during a committee meeting on Wednesday that would restrict the District from allowing the psychedelics measure to be implemented even if it is approved by voters in November.
The Drug Policy Alliance (DPA) is in favor of the proposal and, on Tuesday, it sent a letter to leadership in the House Appropriations Committee asking members to oppose Harris’s amendment and any other effort to restrict the democratic process for D.C. residents.
The measure, which hasn’t formally qualified for the ballot yet but received significantly more signatures than required when activists submitted them last week, would make a wide range of entheogenic substances including psilocybin mushrooms and ayahuasca among the jurisdiction’s lowest law enforcement priorities. However, it wouldn’t technically change local statute.