New Bill Would Make Michigan 1st State to Legalize Recreational Psychedelics

Michigan has had legal recreational cannabis since 2018, and is now looking to up the ante. A new bill introduced in the Michigan senate, would make Michigan the first state to legalize recreational psychedelics. This is incredible in a country where not only are psychedelics federally illegal, but only one state – Oregon – has anything similar, what with a medical legalization for psilocybin, which also decriminalizes recreational use. Will Michigan really push through recreational psychedelics?

Cannabis and psychedelics restrictions are loosening everywhere, with Michigan looking to be the 1st state to legalize recreational psychedelics if legislation goes through. The growth of the cannabis industry has helped this along, while also providing us with a bunch of great new products that were never available before. Like delta-8 THC, a different kind of THC which doesn’t make users anxious, or produce cloudy heads, or couch locking, while providing virtually the same medical benefits. In fact, there are tons of compounds from the cannabis plant that interested users can try. Take a look at our deals for delta-8 THC, delta 10 thc, THC-O, THCV, THC-P, HHC and even hemp-derived delta 9 thc, and see how big the world of weed has gotten.

Is this for real?

Indeed it is. Thursday, September 3rd, 2021, the Michigan Senate introduced SB 631 which would officially legalize the cultivation, delivery, creation, and possession of recreational psychedelics derived from plants, which include compounds like psilocybin and mescaline. This would be on a personal level only, with the bill stating that “receiving money or other valuable consideration for the entheogenic plant or fungus” would still be illegal. However, the bill would force the update of the state statute to not allow criminal penalties for these actions when done on an individual basis.

While this is called a ‘legalization’ in some places, and a ‘decriminalization’ in others, as there is no stated punishment whatsoever, this would qualify as a legalization. Decriminalization measures do come with civil penalties, which doesn’t seem to be the case here. And since its not specific to medical disorders, it’s not specifically for medical use. To be more precise, the co-authors of the bill want the legalization of plants used for religious reasons, but there doesn’t seem to be any caveat about requiring anything formal to show religious intent, meaning it would be open to anyone. Since the government can’t tell a person when or how to be spiritual, it would be incredibly hard to put legal boundaries on spiritual use.

The bill specifies the exception of both cannabis (which we knew), as well as “a substance listed in section 7212”, from Controlled Substance violations. It states: “An individual is not in violation of this section if the individual manufactures, creates, delivers, or possesses with intent to manufacture, create, or deliver an entheogenic plant or fungus without receiving money or other valuable consideration for the entheogenic plant or fungus.”

entheogenic plants

Since money can’t be transferred, according to the bill, no commercial market would be started. However, having said that, it does allow individuals to charge a fee for services like counseling, spiritual guidance, or any other service related to the use of entheogenic plants. So, a person can’t sell the plants to another person, but a person can charge another person to counsel them through a trip.

The bill doesn’t speak about ‘psychedelics’, so much as ‘entheogenic substances’. An entheogen is a “psychoactive, hallucinogenic substance or preparation (such as psilocybin or ayahuasca) especially when derived from plants or fungi and used in religious, spiritual, or ritualistic contexts.” Michigan’s bill would allow for recreational psychedelics in the form of plants and fungi which are natural producers of the substances DMT, ibogaine, mescaline, psilocybin and psilocyn.

Two democratic senators brought forth the bill: Sens. Jeff Irwin and Adam Hollier. The bill comes as the result of a strong push in Michigan for psychedelics reform, headed by activist group Decriminalize Nature, which has been pushing local city councils within the state to reform current laws. In fact, Michigan stands out as a central point for the psychedelics movement, partly because of the activist groups, and the work they do. This is still quite a big step, though, so whether it can actually pass into law remains to be seen.

What’s the current status of psychedelics in Michigan?

Michigan and its current bill to legalize recreational psychedelics, is just the latest move in a state which has already made a lot of progress in loosening up restrictions for psychedelics. Last year Ann Arbor’s city council decriminalized entheogenic plants, and the city even designated (officially, as per governmental resolution) the month of September as ‘Entheogenic Plants and Fungi Awareness Month’. When the legislation was passed, it was announced by a county prosecutor that no charges will be pursued for possessing entheogenic plants and fungi, and this regardless of the amount in question.

Elsewhere in the state, Grand Rapids is currently working to enact policy changes for psychedelics. It’s expected that by fall of this year, the city will ‘de-prioritize possession, cultivation, and use of entheogenic plants and fungi.’ How is de-prioritization different from decriminalization? Decriminalization is when criminal penalties are taken away, but still with legal consequences of some kind. De-prioritization means it’s simply not a priority to do something about it, whether it has criminal penalties or not. In this case, according to Kurt Reppart, Grand Rapid’s City Commissioner, it’s “allowing for what’s called the ‘grow, gift, gather’ model… outside of that, the rest of this is illegal.”

Apart from the locations mentioned, psychedelics are not legal in Michigan for medical or recreational use, and are currently on the state’s Controlled Substances list, with fines and jail time attached for offenders.

Where does Michigan stand with cannabis?

Michigan is certainly showing itself to be one of the more forward-thinking states when it comes to getting rid of antiquated drug laws. Back in 2008, Michigan legalized medical cannabis via the Michigan Compassionate Care Initiative, which was passed on November 4th of that year. This bill came with measures for the possession of up to 2.5 ounces for medical patients, and allowed patients and caregivers to cultivate up to 12 plants. This measure was approved by voters overwhelmingly. The bill did not come with the inclusion of dispensaries, however, that was amended in 2016, when Governor Rick Snyder signed a set of bills, which allowed a commercial market to open for medicinal use.

legalized recreational cannabis

Then in 2018, the Michigan Regulation and Taxation of Marihuana Act was passed to legalize and regulate an adult-use market, for those 21 and above. The new law allows adult residents to carry up to 2.5 grams on their person in public, and have up to 10 ounces at home, along with the ability to cultivate up to 12 plants. The bill passed by ballot measure with Proposal 1, with nearly 56% of voters in support.

In order to get the initiative on the 2018 ballot, some 365,000 signatures were collected and submitted in 2017 for recreational cannabis legalization. The initiative was officially certified on April 26th of that year by the state, and by election time, voters were able to decide the fate of recreational marijuana in their state.

To give an idea of just how much Michigan seems to be into cannabis, the state created the very first Cannabis Studies Degree a few years ago, which is offered by Michigan Universities. This four-year degree teaches all about cannabis, from growing the plants, to processing into products, to laws and regulations concerning it. Since that time, many more universities have opened up similar programs in other states.

The psychedelics movement is picking up in the US

If the Michigan bill passes to legalize recreational psychedelics, it would make Michigan the first state to legalize the recreational use of psychedelics, even if it wouldn’t immediately create a commercial market. But Michigan isn’t the only state to make headway in the fight to end prohibition laws for psychedelics. One of the biggest recent wins came from Oregon, which put Measure 109 on the 2020 ballot, which authorized the creation of a program to allow licensed providers to medically administer plants containing psilocybin for those 21 and above. The measure passed with 55.75% of the vote, and also worked to decriminalize the drug under other non-medical circumstances.

Plenty of locations in the US also have decriminalization measures for psychedelics including Denver, Colorado, which was the first to pass such a measure in 2019 to decriminalize psilocybin. In California, Oakland and Santa Cruz did the same later that year and in the beginning of 2020, respectively. Washington DC decriminalized psilocybin in November 2020 through Initiative 81, which also included ayahuasca, and mescaline. Massachusetts saw similar policies set in Somerville, Cambridge, and Northampton in January, February, and April of 2021 respectively.

Aside from these places where decriminalization measures have already been set, plenty more locations are working on getting policies through local governments. California, for one, is looking to put a ballot measure before voters in 2022, which would legalize the possession and sale of psilocybin, thus creating the first legal market if it does happen. In Denver, which was first to decriminalize, there are plans to expand the current laws to decriminalize noncommercial gifting and communal use of these plants.

psilocybin

Massachusetts, which already has three decriminalized locations, is subsequently looking to pass a bill that would create a taskforce to study implications of psychedelic legalizations. Connecticut has newly signed legislation which requires the state to study the therapeutic value of psilocybin. Texas did the same in terms of how these substances can be used for military veterans, and New York too has passed legislation requiring a facility to be established to research psychedelic benefits medically.

In Seattle, legislators are interested in how ayahuasca and ibogaine can be used specifically to help deal with the massive opioid issue, and in neighboring Oregon, which still leads the way, there is a push for cultivation, gifting, and religious use of many other psychedelics other than psilocybin, to be legalized. Oregon voters have already approved a measure to decriminalize the possession of all illicit drugs.

Beyond all this, it should be remembered that not only has the FDA earmarked both psilocybin and MDMA as ‘breakthrough therapies’, meant to get products to market faster, but the DEA just recently proposed a massive increase in the amount of cannabis and psilocybin to be produced for scientific research, meaning two government agencies are very clearly pushing for greater psychedelic awareness and use. And of course, esketamine, a close relative of ketamine, is already legal in the US for medical use for major depression and suicidal thoughts.

Conclusion

It’s hard to say whether this new Michigan bill to legalize psychedelics will go through, as this is obviously a contentious subject. However, laws are progressing very quickly, and in light of how cannabis has gained so much traction, it makes sense that psychedelics will enjoy the same benefits, especially as so much positive medical evidence is coming out on them. Much like with cannabis, if more and more states break with federal code, there will eventually come a time when the US government will be forced to legalize, or accept that it has no power over its states.

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DisclaimerHi, I’m a researcher and writer. I’m not a doctor, lawyer, or businessperson. All information in my articles is sourced and referenced, and all opinions stated are mine. I am not giving anyone advise, and though I am more than happy to discuss topics, should someone have a further question or concern, they should seek guidance from a relevant professional.

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Psychedelic Legalization to Follow in the Footsteps of Cannabis

Just like cannabis gradually became a regular part of the mainstream conversation during the last decade, over the next few years we can expect to hear much more about psychedelics – everything from medical benefits to legalization efforts, societal views to current studies, and beyond. Given the safe and natural element to using these types of compounds, it’s no surprise that psychedelics are following the same path as cannabis: decriminalization and eventual re-legalization on the basis of scientific research and cultural acceptance.

Psychedelic research and legalization is a hot topic right now, and of all the psychedelics, THC is still the most popular one. For THC users who have a problem with the anxiety or experience paranoia, delta-8 THC might be preferable. If you think you could benefit from this altered version of THC, take a look at our awesome delta-8 THC deals, and try it out for yourself.


What are Psychedelics?

Psychedelic drugs are a subset of hallucinogens. They contain psychoactive compounds that are capable of altering a person’s mood, perception, and cognition; sometimes permanently. The active compounds are usually found in nature, like psilocybin or mescaline, but they can also be manmade, like LSD.

Psychedelics are known for causing ‘trips’, which is what the high is referred to. When a person is tripping, they may have altered perceptions of the world around them. Many people believe this is limited to visual and auditory hallucinations, but it can also include feeling, tasting, and smelling things that are not real, as well as a heightened sense of connection and understanding, and greater feelings of introspection.  

The trips that people most commonly associate with these types of the drugs are the ones in which a state of hallucinogenic delirium is reached, but that is not always the case. Many times, it is more of an experience than a trip, and something can be learned and achieved psychologically with every small dose.

The word itself, ‘psychedelics’, was first used in 1957 to recognize substances that were said to open the mind, however, the more scientific term for them is ‘entheogens’. This term was adopted, not necessarily for the sake of being scientific, but rather to allow the field to operate without the stigma attached to psychedelics from the smear campaigns of the 1960’s. The term entheogen comes from Greek where it means ‘building the god within’.

Different psychedelics produce different trips. For example, with DMT you can expect a short high lasting less than 1 hour, whereas LSD, psilocybin, and mescaline trips can last up to ten hours. Some hallucinogens are more potent than others, like mushrooms vs acid. The active compounds are different in each drug so there is a lot of variation to the effects that can be felt.  

Some people experience bad trips in which negative, or even scary, hallucinations are experienced, and/or a rapid heartbeat, sweating, nausea, disorientation, and fatigue occur. There is indication that the majority of these symptoms can be controlled through proper dosing. This is why most modern-day, therapeutic users of psychedelics consume the drugs in micro-doses.

Medical Research on Psychedelics

Just like cannabis, legalization and normalization of psychedelic drugs would be impossible if there weren’t some type of medical benefits to show on paper. Luckily, the research does exist, especially in the field of mental health. A study published just last month in the journal Nature Medicine found that MDMA-assisted therapy could be “a potential breakthrough treatment” for post-traumatic stress disorder.

Other studies have looked at psilocybin, the active ingredient in magic mushrooms, as a possible treatment option for clinical depression, and the results were incredibly promising. Additional research is underway to determine the effectiveness of numerous other psychedelics as well, including LSD and ketamine.

Most psychedelics are serotonergic, meaning the affect the serotonin receptors in our bodies. Many antidepressant drugs involve some type of serotonin signaling, although there are numerous different ways that substances can interact with these receptors. Using pharmaceuticals often leaves the patient with many unwanted side effects, whereas natural compounds are typically considered safer, when used correctly.

Psychedelics had a brief stint in modern medicine in the 1950s and several psychologists at the time were utilizing them to treat patients with depression and addiction, LSD in particular. They found it to be especially helpful in curbing alcoholism, which can be proven by this study in which it was reported that even 1 full year after treatment, subjects were still off the booze.

Known as ‘psychedelic therapy’ in the U.S. and ‘psycholytic therapy in the U.K., it was really catching on. However, when these compounds were added to the Schedule 1 narcotics list in both countries, the ability to research psychedelics, let alone utilize them in treatment plans, came to a screeching halt.

In recent years, we’ve seen a massive shift in the way the public, as well as healthcare and government agencies, view this class of drugs. The FDA itself has deemed both psilocybin and MDMA (magic mushrooms and ecstasy) as “leading breakthrough therapies” for depression and PTSD. This means that we can anticipate a rush in research and development for products containing these active ingredients in the very near future.

Psychedelic Legalization Efforts

The heavy regulation of psychedelics began in 1966, just as these drugs started making their way in the realm of recreational use. At the time, ‘recreational’ use of psychoactive substances was rooted in their ability to expand one’s consciousness. Psychedelic activists of today could very well be driven by similar motives, but the focus of their public campaigns is ‘safe, natural, alternative healthcare’ – a topic that many people have been showing greater interest in over the last decade.

Looking at it from a purely legal perspective, it not only makes sense, but it seems like the only logical way to tackle a subject like this one. Pushing for full legalization of highly intoxicating substances is already a pretty tall order, but if using the argument that our collective consciousness is suffering and in need of expansion, you can imagine that the movement wouldn’t gain much traction (regardless of how true sentiment that actually is).                                           

Psychedelic legalization will undoubtedly face many of the same challenges we have seen time and time again in the fight for cannabis legalization. We know medical research fueled by cultural mainstreaming makes for a remarkably effective weapon against outdated regulations. But despite how far we have come on both of those fronts in the cannabis industry, it remains federally prohibited. And when looking at our current administration, we know that Joe Biden really has a bug up his you-know-what about cannabis, so it seems incredibly unlikely that we will see any kind of turnaround with psychedelic regulations on his watch.

Nevertheless, we know it’s in the cards and by the end of this decade it will be a booming industry. Numerous, cities, states and countries have relaxed their laws surrounding possession and use of psychedelics drugs.

Cultural Views on Psychedelic Legalization

Compared to cannabis, psychedelic have the unique advantage of being carrying less social stigma. Many advocates of psychedelic drugs are healers themselves, dedicated to conserving cultural traditions regarding the healing of pain and trauma through rituals that include psychedelic use – and this will be a huge contributing factor to eventual legalization.

From their initial emergence into the mainstream discussion, psychedelics have been positioned as a therapeutic drug, rather than recreational; as compounds that you use in micro doses to get only the psychological benefits without any of the psychoactive side effects; and as compounds that will soon be utilized in some of the most cutting-edge therapy sessions, by the most progressive practitioners.

Stigma still exists, as is the case with any intoxicating compound, but much of this stems from completely irrelevant fear; and luckily it’s nowhere as commonplace as it has been in years prior. Most people, even those who generally lean conservative, are adopting more liberal views when it comes to the use of certain substances, especially those that are found in nature. Plant-based healing is a much more popular concept now that in has been in our nation’s recent past.  

Looking West

In a big move for the psychedelic industry, a bill was recently passed by a second California Senate committee which would legalize the possession of numerous different forms of psychoactive drugs in the Golden State. The legislation, which was sponsored by Senator Scott Wiener (D), advanced through the Public Safety Committee earlier this month, followed by a pass from the Health Committee one week later. If this bill fully passes, an extensive list of psychedelics including psilocybin mushrooms, DMT, ibogaine, LSD, and MDMA would be legalized for adults aged 21 and older.

Additionally, the bill would call for the expungement of prior convictions for possession of psychedelic drugs, the same way the state is trying to expunge cannabis convictions; as well as redefining what paraphernalia will be lawful to possess and use with these newly legalized substances.

If this all sounds vaguely familiar it’s because California was also the first state to legalize medical cannabis use back in 1996, long before it was a frequent topic in any political discourse. The golden state is also the birthplace of most cultural cannabis trends over the last few decades. California has been at the forefront of cannabis legalization efforts since the early 1970s and is one of the first states to begin expunging prior cannabis-related convictions after Prop 64 passed in 2016.

“The war on drugs has been an abject failure because it is based on the false belief, the false notion, that criminalizing people, arresting them, incarcerating them for possessing, for using drugs, will somehow deter use and improve public safety,” commented democratic Senator Scott Wiener. “It has done neither.”

Oregon, Washington and Colorado are also very liberal states that have been working to change the national narrative on drug use, particularly cannabis and other psychedelics. Oregon became the first state in the United States to decriminalize the possession of all drugs. Possessing heroin, cocaine, methamphetamine and other intoxicating substances for personal use is no longer a criminal offense in Oregon. Those drugs are still against the law, as is selling them. But possession is now a civil – not criminal – violation that may result in a fine or court-ordered therapy, not jail.

Final Thoughts

The path to drug legalization can be bumpy, and taking psychedelics from illegal to medical-use-only to legal for adult-use will take some time. But based on current patterns, we can expect this will happen relatively soon. Just like cannabinoids, psychedelic compounds are the medicine of the future and when legalization does occur, there will be an industry boom like we’ve never seen before.

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Major Hurdle Passed in California Psychedelics Legalization Bill

In a big move for the psychedelic industry, a bill was recently passed by a second California Senate committee which would legalize the possession of numerous different forms of psychoactive drugs in the Golden State.

The legislation, which was sponsored by Senator Scott Wiener (D), advanced through the Public Safety Committee earlier this month, followed by a pass from the Health Committee one week later. If this bill fully passes, an extensive list of psychedelics including psilocybin mushrooms, DMT, ibogaine, LSD, and MDMA would be legalized for adults aged 21 and older.

“The war on drugs has been an abject failure because it is based on the false belief, the false notion, that criminalizing people, arresting them, incarcerating them for possessing, for using drugs, will somehow deter use and improve public safety,” commented Wiener before the vote took place. “It has done neither.”

“Instead we have spent trillions in the last half century on the war on drugs, more people are using drugs now, there’s more addiction, there are more overdoses—I’m talking about drugs generally, not psychedelics. And we have busted taxpayer dollars, and we need to move towards a more health-based approach,” he added.

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According to the bill text, “the state Department of Public Health would be required to establish a working group to study and make recommendations regarding possible regulatory systems that California could adopt to promote safe and equitable access to certain substances in permitted legal contexts.” Those recommendations would be due by January 1, 2024.

Additionally, the bill would call for the expungement of prior convictions for possession of psychedelic drugs, the same way the state is trying to expunge cannabis convictions; as well as redefining what paraphernalia will be lawful to possess and use with these newly legalized substances.

The bill excludes the use of peyote, an endangered plant, to ensure its availability for traditional Native American spiritual practices, according to the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies, or MAPS, a global psychedelic research and education organization.

Numerous cities, states, and regions in the U.S. have already loosened restrictions on the therapeutic use of psychedelic mushrooms, including all of Oregon and New Jersey, Denver CO, Oakland CA, and Washington D.C.

Psychedelic drugs have shown the ability to treat many different mental health disorders – such as depression, anxiety, and PTSD – in a safe, natural, and effective way. Anecdotal evidence has found that even one dose can make permanent changes in the way our brains are wired, for the better. Legalization would allow for much more in depth studies, which is desperately need at this point in time.  

Click here to learn more about SENATE BILL 519 to legalize psychedelic drugs in the state of California, and don’t forget to subscribe to The CBD Flowers Weekly Newsletter for more articles like this one and exclusive deals on flowers and other products.

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