Oct 6, 2021 - Politics & Policy

Seattle votes to decriminalize certain psychedelics

Psilocybe mushrooms at the Numinus Bioscience lab in Nanaimo, British Columbia, Canada, on Wednesday, Sept. 1, 2021

Photo: James MacDonald/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Seattle's City Council voted unanimously on Monday to decriminalize psilocybin and other naturally occurring psychedelics, Bloomberg reports.

Why it matters: The city's move comes amid a broader discussion regarding the medical application of psychedelic drugs and their potential applications for treating a range of mental and behavioral health disorders.

  • Past studies have indicated psychedelics can be safely administered in combination with other therapies and that treatment may alleviate depression, obsessive-compulsive disorder, and substance use disorders, Axios' Alison Synder writes.
  • Other cities such as Denver and Ann Arbor, Michigan, have enacted similar policies to decriminalize psilocybin, per Bloomberg.

Details: The City Council passed the measure that makes "the investigation, arrest, and prosecution of anyone engaging in entheogen-related activities should be among The City of Seattle’s lowest law enforcement priorities," the resolution reads.

  • The city council also said they will pursue changes to the municipal code.

What they're saying: "A community conversation intended to reconcile government policy with emerging medical research regarding potential benefits of psychedelics is already well underway," Councilmember Andrew Lewis said in a statement.

  • "In a medically appropriate and supervised environment, people who have experienced severe trauma could benefit from these substances. We need to join the national conversation," he added.

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