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Detroit Votes to Decriminalize Possession of Psychedelics

Detroit has become the latest major American city to decriminalize psychedelics after a ballot initiative titled ‘Proposal E’ was approved by voters late Tuesday. With all polls reporting, the measure passed by a margin of just over 61%, making the “personal possession and therapeutic use” of naturally occurring entheogenic plants and fungi by adults the city’s lowest law enforcement priority. 

Most municipal decriminalization efforts have been carried out through city council votes. Detroit is an exception, with local activists having to pursue a ballot initiative to provide residents with the opportunity for direct input.

The language of the measure submitted to the state authority asked whether or not “voters of the City of Detroit [will] adopt an ordinance to the 2019 Detroit City Code that would decriminalize to the fullest extent permitted under Michigan law the personal possession and therapeutic use of Entheogenic Plants by persons twenty-one (21) years of age and older, make the personal possession and therapeutic use of Entheogenic Plants by persons twenty-one (21) years of age and older the city’s lowest law-enforcement priority, and establish an entheogen policy review panel to assess and report on the effects of the ordinance.”

The effort behind Proposal E was spearheaded by Decriminalize Nature Detroit, the local chapter of the national grassroots advocacy group responsible for many of the ongoing state and municipal level decriminalization initiatives currently in the works throughout North America.

When asked for comment, organizer Moudou Baqui told Truffle Report that “We had an amazing turnout, and that’s what really helped my enthusiasm as we attempted to like engage voters. They were already informed about [these] subjects,” he said, adding, “many of them were already passionate about voting yes for it, and even those people that have concerns, we realized that they had misinformation or lack of information. It was beautiful just seeing the people vote for another model. It’s always great to see leadership’s adoption, but to hear the voice of people gives you so much confidence.”

Baqui had previously told Truffle that the initiative “would allow personal possession and cultivation of sacred plant medicines, including psilocybin, iboga, and ayahuasca,’ and would permit small businesses to conduct community based ceremonies in the city.

Michigan has been the site of several major advances in the ongoing push to reschedule naturally occurring psychedelic plants and fungi. The city of Ann Arbor was among the first in the U.S. to pass a resolution making arrests for psychedelics its lowest enforcement priority. This was followed by Washtenaw County’s prosecutor agreeing to end charges for related offenses. 

News Coverage of Ann Arbor’s decision last year, courtesy of Local 4

Ann Arbor recently celebrated the first anniversary of its decriminalization vote with EntheoFest, an event dedicated to raising awareness of the healing potential of psychedelic substances. 

A senate bill has also been introduced in the Michigan Legislature with the aim of decriminalizing possession of psychedelics at the state level. 

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