A new bill aiming to decriminalize “magic mushrooms” and other psychedelic plants in the District went into effect on Monday, March 15.
Known as Initiative 81, the Entheogenic Plant and Fungus Policy Act of 2020, was approved in November 2020 with more than 70 percent support from DC voters. It later passed a 30-day review period in the House and Senate, before becoming law.
With the new legislation, law enforcement agencies in the District are expected to make arrests and prosecution for the possession or use of psychedelic plants their lowest priority.
Decriminalize Nature DC, a cannabis rights group that led the campaign for Initiative 81, celebrated the implementation of the law in a press release.
Thank you to everyone who worked on and supported this important reform!https://t.co/kxBbjeGVdw
— DecrimNatureDC (@DecrimNatureDC) March 15, 2021
“These changes help ensure that residents benefiting from natural psychedelics known as entheogens will not face investigation, arrest or incarceration,” the group said. “Although current congressional restrictions bar DC from fully decriminalizing or legalizing natural psychedelics, Initiative 81 adds significant protections for those using entheogenic plants and fungi including psilocybin mushrooms, ayahuasca, iboga, and mescaline-containing cacti. These entheogenic plants and fungi can help those suffering from depression, anxiety, and addiction.”
Melissa Lavasani, a DC mother of two and the proposer of Initiative 81, also hailed the group’s victory, saying:
“After more than a year of campaigning and educating DC residents about natural psychedelics, I am thrilled to see Initiative 81 take effect. This historic moment is the culmination of countless hours of work and endless dedication from grassroots supporters across DC who made it their mission to change outdated laws that targeted people for using plant and fungi medicines to heal. Thanks to their effort and support from voters across DC, Initiative 81 has made a real, tangible change that is now enshrined in law.”
Lavasani says she overcame severe postpartum depression thanks to natural psychedelics.