Fifth Michigan City Approves Local Psychedelics Decriminalization Resolution

January 11, 2024 · Marijuana Moment

Another Michigan city has approved a resolution to locally deprioritize enforcement of laws against psychedelic substances, while expressing support for a statewide bill to legalize certain etheogenic plants and fungi.

On Tuesday, the Ypsilanti City Council took testimony from supporters and passed the psychedelics measure in an unanimous 6-0 vote.

The whereas section states that psychedelics can “catalyze profound experiences of personal and spiritual growth, have been shown by scientific and clinical studies and traditional practices to be beneficial to the health and well-being of individuals and communities in addressing” conditions such as anxiety and post-traumatic stress.

It also points out that the Washtenaw County District Attorney’s office expressed support for a similar resolution that was adopted in Ann Arbor in 2020.

The latest measure specifically says that it is not intended to legalize the commercial sale of psychedelics, but it makes the arrest and investigation of people for psychedelics-related activities such as possession and cultivation “the lowest law enforcement priority for the City of Ypsilanti.”

It also declares that “city funds or resources shall not be used in any investigation, detention, arrest, or prosecution arising out of alleged violations of state and federal law regarding the use of Entheogenic Plants.”

By approving the resolution, the City Council also voiced support for “the passage of SB 499,” a bill introduced in the state legislature by Sen. Jeff Irwin (D) that would legalize psychedelic plants and fungi so long as activities like cultivating and distributing the substances are done “without receiving money or other valuable consideration.”

Ypsilanti is now joining the ranks of several Michigan municipal governments that have moved to decriminalize psychedelics, including DetroitAnn ArborFerndale and Hazel Park. Only Massachusetts has seen more local jurisdictions pass the reform.

Not all Michigan cities to consider a decriminalization proposal have adopted it, however. Last May, the East Lansing City Council narrowly rejected a similar resolution, with the mayor and city attorney voicing concerns about possible legal ramifications.

In 2021, Grand Rapids, lawmakers approved a resolution supporting the decriminalization of a wide range of psychedelics. That measure, however, disappointed activists because it didn’t actually change any city enforcement practices and merely expressed support for future reforms.

In 2022, a group of activists failed to qualify a psychedelics legalization initiative for the ballot, saying they would refocus their efforts on the 2024 election.

Meanwhile, in August, Michigan lawmakers sent a letter to Congress, the U.S. Department of Defense and Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) urging them to prioritize research and investment in psychedelics and other “non-technology treatment options” to address psychological trauma from military service.

Outside of Michigan, officials in Massachusetts recently certified that activists submitted enough valid signatures to force legislative consideration of a psychedelics legalization initiative before the measure potentially heads to the state’s 2024 ballot.

Also, on Tuesday, a California Assembly committee unanimously approved a revised bill to create a state workgroup that would be tasked with exploring a regulatory framework to provide therapeutic access to psychedelics like psilocybin and ibogaine.

The sponsor of that legislation, Assemblymember Marie Waldron (R), will also be working with Sen. Scott Wiener (D) on a separate psychedelics therapeutic access bill that they plan to introduce in the coming weeks after California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) vetoed a broader legalization measure last year. (Full Story)

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