Seattle City Council unanimously voted on Monday for a resolution supporting the decriminalization of psilocybin and other psychedelics.
The resolution, which is non-binding and serves only as a recommendation to the Seattle Police Department, states “that the identification, arrest and prosecution of those involved in entheogen-related activities should be among the lowest law enforcement priorities in the city of Seattle “. The Council supports “the complete decriminalization of these activities”.
Psilocybin or “mushrooms” is a hallucinogenic drug that falls under the most restrictive List I, which the US federal government defines as “drugs, substances, or chemicals are defined as drugs that are not currently used medicinally and have a high potential for abuse.”
The city council noted that, according to their virtual meeting, such substances are often used for spiritual purposes.
“These non-addictive natural products have real potential in clinical and therapeutic settings to really change people’s lives,” said Councilor Andrew Lewis. “This resolution really sets the stage as the first major step in Washington State to advance this policy.”
“These substances have tremendous potential to provide cutting-edge treatments for substance abuse, recovery from brain injury, and other problems,” Lewis told Bloomberg. “I want to make sure that we follow science in our policies to regulate these substances.”
Lewis’ office found drugs like psilocybin show promise for patients suffering from depression and other mental health problems.
Councilor Kshama Sawant was not pleased that the city council did not make the resolution a binding ordinance.
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“I’m a little confused about this resolution,” Sawant said, according to local MyNorthwest news agency. “We have not pushed for decisions instead of regulations where it is possible, realistic and politically and morally necessary for the Council to issue a regulation.
“I can’t see the plausible reasons why councilors who claim to support this issue are not putting a regulation that takes concrete action into the city’s computers and instead put forward a resolution that only empowers them has to make requests, “she added.
Other cities have decriminalized psilocybin, such as Washington, DC, Denver, and Ann Arbor. Oregon legalized the drug nationwide for therapeutic use in 2020.