Team psychonaut just keeps on winning, don’t it?! Right after Somerville won the same thing in January, a second city in Massachusetts has voted YES to the use and possession of natural psychedelics. The Cambridge City Council voted by an astonishing 8-1 margin to decriminalise entheogens. (Entheogens are natural plants and fungi with trippy properties). Which includes psilocybin, the psychedelic compound in magic mushrooms and truffles.
Only Benefits, No Detriments
Before the vote, a few residents spoke before the council to share their personal stories. Among the loudest voices, there was local therapist Francis Guerriero. Guerriero’s patients had recovered from PTSD and other conditions with the help of ‘magic’:
“In my private practice I treat people who use entheogenic substances for their betterment. I support this because I see only benefits from [patients’] self reports, and I see no detriments.”
Guerriero’s patients are not alone. Harsh isolation from COVID-19 has pushed those at risk towards hard drugs for solace. And so worsens the opioid crisis in America. The order itself did not mince words, as you can see:
“The pandemic has led to a wave of heroin and opioid overdose deaths and depression in Massachusetts communities, two ailments that entheogenic plants have been shown to have particular strength in treating.”
Councilor Jivan Sobrinho-Wheeler, who sponsored the Cambridge order, also had a lot to say in support of psilocybin. Citing strong research, he said that magic mushrooms can help treat serious mental health conditions. These include depression, anxiety, and substance abuse. So, hats off to John Hopkins and other big medical researchers — job well done. Let’s keep those studies coming, shall we?!
Issue of Public Health
Like Somerville, Cambridge has ordered its law enforcement not to charge those caught with natural psychedelics. This includes magic mushrooms and truffles — or any controlled substances for that matter. The order even name-checked Middlesex County District Attorney Marian Ryan to stop prosecuting persons using entheogens or other controlled substances, right away.
“The use and possession of all controlled substances should be understood first and primarily as an issue of public health… by all employees of the city.”
A group of activists known as the Massachusetts Coalition for Decriminalisation played a huge part in drafting the Cambridge measure. Of course it passed with flying colours — the same supporters also helped draft the Somerville resolution in January, which also decriminalised magic mushrooms and truffles. Now, they’re spreading the gospel in other US areas.
However, a few critics say that despite promising results in clinical trials, there’s still a lot we don’t know. As far as we’re concerned, the potential benefits of magic mushrooms and truffles far outweigh any side effects — that is, if you can even find ‘em!
Prioritising Harm Reduction
“Drug Policy in the United States and the so-called ‘War on Drugs’ has historically led to unnecessary penalization, arrest, and incarceration of vulnerable people. Particularly people of colour and of limited financial means,” the order says. “Instead of prioritizing harm-reduction policies that treat drug abuse as an issue of public health.”
Harm reduction is a realistic approach to solving the opioid crisis. Vancouver, for instance, has opted to supply heroin to addicts in a controlled setting. Experts see it as an alternative to fentanyl — the potentially fatal flavour-of-the-hour that is killing thousands in suburban Canada.
Know what else is lined up to be a verifiable alternative to hard drugs? That’s right… magic mushrooms and truffles! Not only are shrooms affordable and entirely non-addictive, they can also help you spur creativity, live in the moment, and brighten your mood. Psilocybin has also been used in native cultures—and proven by scientific study — to treat a host of conditions. These include addiction, PTSD, chronic depression, grief, substance abuse, and end-of-life anxiety.
A Future for Fantastic Fungi
Since magic mushrooms and truffles remain illegal under federal law, they are still classified as controlled substances. Which means that Cambridge still cannot authorise or enable the following:
- Commercial sales or manufacturing of entheogenic plants and fungi;
- Possessing or distributing on school grounds;
- Driving under their influence; or
- Public disturbance while taking shrooms, etc.
But specific orders to decriminalise them, like in Cambridge and Somerville, will go a long way towards erasing the stigma of using psychedelics. Both for fun and for treating medical conditions… Massachusetts sure has come far, homie! Thankfully in 2021, more and more cities and states are seeing the War on Drugs as it truly is: a failure on many levels. Younger folks elected into office are sick of heavy-handed cure-all’s (the prison system, for example) for harmless offences, such as using psychedelics. As the order itself spills the tea:
“Criminalizing users of substances [such as natural psychedelics] is neither a just or effective legal approach.”
So what do you think? Are we getting closer to a brighter future for fantastic fungi? You bet we are!!