First Oregon legalized psilocybin with Ballot Measure 109, approved by voters in November 2020. Then Colorado followed suit, but with the possibility of legalizing other classic psychedelics soon, via Proposition 122, approved by voters in November 2022. So who’s next?
Many insiders are looking at Michigan, which has stepped up its decriminalization movements over the last two years, as the answer to that question.
A third city in the state, the Detroit suburb of Hazel Park, approved a psychedelics decriminalization bill when a city council resolution was approved in September. The moved followed similar efforts in Ann Arbor (a resolution approved unanimously by city council in September 2020) and Detroit (Proposal E, approved by just over 61% of voters in November 2021).
In addition, a resolution declaring support for decriminalization was adopted in Grand Rapids, in September 2021.
Several other Michigan cities are also working on similar decriminalization measures, including:
- East Lansing
- Madison Heights
- Traverse City
No other state appears to be on the same fast-track to getting full-state psychedelics legalization as Michigan.
California is running a close second – three municipalities have decriminalized already, including Santa Cruz, Oakland, and San Francisco – though a bill to decriminalize psychedelics in the entire state (SB 58) was killed after its introduction in August. A new version was introduced in December. That bill will face its first committee hearing and legislative vote in the spring, after the California legislature reconvenes for the 2023-24 session in January, according to the LA Times.
But the language of some of these Michigan resolutions implies that decriminalization could lead to state-wide legalization very soon. One example comes from the Ann Arbor-Washtenaw County resolution, which states that fundamentally “prosecuting entheogenic plants use or possession is not in the interest of justice,” and that “it would be capricious to continue pursuing entheogenic-related charges” in Ann Arbor and other parts of the county.
Legislation on decriminalizing psychedelics has been proposed in various other states over the last two years, including Kansas (HB 2465, “The Legalized Homegrown Psilocybin Mushroom act of 2022,” killed in May 2022); Pennsylvania ( HB 1959, “The Public Health Benefits of Psilocybin Act For the Research and Clinical Studies of Psilocybin,” now in the Committee on Health); New York (AB A8569A, in the Assembly Health Committee); and Massachusetts (S 1282, “An Act to Resolve Establishing a Special Commission on Psychedelic Drug Use for Clinical Trials and Therapy”). Some working groups in other states are studying the medical use of psychedelics.
But none of these appear as far along as Michigan’s decriminalization actions. What’s more, “The Michigan Decriminalization of Psilocybin Mushrooms and Other Plants and Fungi Initiative” may appear on the ballot in Michigan as an indirect initiated state statute on Nov. 5, 2024. That ballot measure would decriminalize the cultivation, possession, and use of psilocybin, ibogaine, mescaline, peyote, and dimethyltryptamine, effectively legalizing psychedelics in the entire state. A group pushing for the initiative originally had planned for it to be on the November 2022 ballot.
Myc Williams, the director of Decriminalize Nature Michigan, has said the efforts toward legalization are far from over, and his coalition of activists supporting the initiative is grateful for the visibility their collection efforts have brought the issue thus far.
“It’s time to refocus our energy,” Williams wrote in a news release. “We knew a June 1 deadline to make the 2022 ballot was ambitious with just over two months to collect, and now we know we have the momentum necessary to move forward with a normal 180-day collection period. We’ll see ya at the polls in 2024.”