Grand Rapids stops decriminalizing mushrooms and psychedelic plants

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GRAND RAPIDS, MI – The leaders of Grand Rapids stop before effectively decriminalizing the use, possession, growth and donation of psychoactive plants and fungi.

The wording of the Grand Rapids resolution is weaker than that approved earlier by Ann Arbor. Grand Rapids defenders have been pushing for something similar to the Ann Arbor change.

In a 5-2 split on Tuesday morning, September 28, Grand Rapids city commissioners gave their initial approval to a resolution supporting the current low priority of local law enforcement efforts against those who use or possess psychoactive plants and fungi classified as “entheogenic”.

Unlike the resolution and city policy change passed almost a year ago by Ann Arbor, the Grand Rapids measure does not describe supporting or deprioritizing law enforcement for those who plant, grow, buy, transport or distribute entheogens.

Local advocacy group Decriminalize Nature Grand Rapids, which led efforts to get a resolution from city leaders, called on them to pass a resolution modeled on that of Ann Arbor and a number of other towns. involved in the national campaign that provides this magnitude of deprioritization.

Related: Grand Rapids could decriminalize psychedelic mushrooms and plants later this year

The sale of entheogens, which includes psilocybin mushrooms, cacti containing mescaline, ayahuasca and ibogaine, remains prohibited in Ann Arbor and would remain so under the Grand Rapids resolution. Plants and fungi remain illegal under federal and state laws.

Decriminalizing Nature GR originally asked Grand Rapids, like Ann Arbor, to declare the cultivation, possession, use and donation of entheogens as the city’s lowest law enforcement priority and qu ‘no budgetary resources would be devoted to the investigation, detention, arrest or prosecution of these. .

Grand Rapids resolution says local enforcement of laws regarding the possession and use of entheogens has not been a high priority and that “very little public money” is spent on investigation and prosecution. proactive in these crimes. Additionally, the resolution says the city commission “supports the continued low priority” of enforcement efforts against use and possession violations.

The resolution will now be referred back to the city committee at its 7 p.m. meeting on Tuesday for a final vote.

Nature GR decriminalization campaigners say non-addictive entheogens show promise in treating drug addiction, anxiety and bereavement at the end of life, Parkinson’s disease and other neurodegenerative diseases, PTSD, depression and more. They can also encourage spiritual and personal growth.

The Grand Rapids resolution states that “those seeking to improve their health and well-being through the use of plants and entheogenic fungi should have the freedom to explore these methods of healing without the risk of arrest and prosecution. “.

“It reminds me of a conversation we had around this table over a decade ago when we talked about medical marijuana,” said Mayor Rosalynn Bliss. “I plan to support this today because I think there is a medical impact and it can really have a significant impact on people with mental health issues and medical conditions.”

Decriminalize Nature GR began pushing for the resolution after the success of sister group Decriminalize Nature Ann Arbor, or DNA2, which led the city of Ann Arbor’s leaders to pass a stronger resolution and policy change. in September 2020. There are similar movements at the state and national levels.

The two dissenting votes Tuesday morning came from Third Ward City Commissioners Senita Lenear and Nathaniel Moody.

Lenear, citing law enforcement’s already weak attention to offenses, said she did not view resolution as a priority when considering which offenses the city should decriminalize.

In the past two or three years, she said, about six people in the city have been arrested for these offenses and the practice of the police department is already not to arrest “in this case”.

“If this had been part of a larger set of decriminalizing different offenses in our city, it probably would have been a little more acceptable,” Lenear said.

While she appreciates the information shared by Decriminalize Nature GR, she said she also wished the city had heard from a public health facility about the potential medicinal benefits of entheogens, such as when the city was considering medical marijuana. .

“I think there is a lot more work to be done to educate the public,” Lenear said. “And so I get concerned when the city, when the government makes a statement of this magnitude and the result of that statement potentially helps the public to think that we are supporting something that we haven’t necessarily had a dialogue on and of research. “

The Grand Rapids resolution, if passed, would express support for local, state and federal legislative efforts to decriminalize entheogenic plants and fungi.

In Ann Arbor, that specifically meant calling on the Washtenaw County District Attorney to stop the prosecution of those involved in the use of entheogens. Washtenaw County District Attorney Eli Savit then adopted a policy stating that his office would no longer prosecute the cases of those who use, grow or own entheogens.

The Grand Rapids resolution does not call on Kent County District Attorney Chris Becker to take action.

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