LANSING, Mich. (Sept. 8, 2021) – A bill introduced in the Michigan Senate would legalize possession and cultivation of plant and fungus-derived psychedelics including psilocybin and mescaline despite federal prohibition of the same.

Sen. Jeff Irwin (D) and Sen. Adam Hollier (D) introduced Senate Bill 631 (SB631) on Sept. 2. The proposed law would exempt people from criminal penalties for the possession, cultivation and delivery of plants and fungi that naturally produce DMT, ibogaine, mescaline, psilocybin and psilocin as long as the individual is not “receiving money or other valuable consideration for the entheogenic plant or fungus.”

Under the law, people could charge “a reasonable fee for counseling, spiritual guidance, or a related service that is provided in conjunction with the use of an entheogenic plant or fungus under the guidance and supervision of an individual providing the service.”

In a tweet, Sen. Irwin said “decriminalization of entheogenic substances makes sense.”

“There is medicinal value. These plants and fungi have religious significance. And these substances are relatively safe and not prone to abuse. Let’s stop wasting time and money making more victims of the War on Drugs.”

Last year, the city of Ann Arbor passed a policy directive that effectively decriminalized psilocybin and other naturally occurring psychedelics.

Psilocybin is a hallucinogenic compound found in certain mushrooms. A number of studies have shown psilocybin to be effective in the treatment of depression, PTSD, chronic pain and addiction. For instance, a Johns Hopkins study found that “psilocybin produces substantial and sustained decreases in depression and anxiety in patients with life-threatening cancer.”

Despite the move to decriminalize psilocybin and other and its promising medical uses, the federal government maintains a total ban on the substance.

LEGALITY

Under the Controlled Substances Act (CSA) passed in 1970, the federal government maintains a complete prohibition of psilocybin. Of course, the federal government lacks any constitutional authority to ban or regulate such substances within the borders of a state, despite the opinion of the politically connected lawyers on the Supreme Court. If you doubt this, ask yourself why it took a constitutional amendment to institute federal alcohol prohibition.

Passage of SB631 would effectively end state enforcement of laws prohibiting the possession of psilocybin in Michigan. As we’ve seen with marijuana and hemp, when states and localities stop enforcing laws banning a substance, the federal government finds it virtually impossible to maintain prohibition. For instance, FBI statistics show that law enforcement makes approximately 99 of 100 marijuana arrests under state, not federal law. By curtailing or ending state prohibition, states sweep part of the basis for 99 percent of marijuana arrests.

Furthermore, figures indicate it would take 40 percent of the DEA’s yearly annual budget just to investigate and raid all of the dispensaries in Los Angeles – a single city in a single state. That doesn’t include the cost of prosecution either. The lesson? The feds lack the resources to enforce marijuana prohibition without state and local assistance, and the same will likely hold true with psilocybin.

Passage of SB631 would take the very first step toward nullifying psilocybin prohibition in practice and effect.

WHAT’S NEXT

SB631 was referred to the Senate Committee On Judiciary and Public Safety where it must pass by a majority vote before moving forward in the legislative process.


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