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On October 16th, 2019, Chicago’s Committee on Health and Human Relations took a very bold step: they unanimously passed a resolution that could decriminalize entheogenic plants and fungi. The resolution is the result of work by Decriminalize Nature, and it could help spread the recent trend of decriminalizing entheogens to the Midwest.
Of course, this is only a first step. Despite the 50-0 vote in favor of the resolution, the law in Chicago has not yet changed. There will be time for the community to speak out on the topic before the city council will either approve or reject it. The resolution would not legalize the use or sale of natural entheogens, but would instead make enforcement of their prohibition the lowest priority for law enforcement in the city.
There are myriad benefits to these efforts, however long they take to succeed. First and foremost, no longer arresting people for using or possessing natural entheogens will alleviate the pressure prohibition from the War on Drugs has caused on state and federal prisons.
Equally important is the fact that more people could have potential access to substances that can have a profound impact on their recovery or mental health. Entheogens including psilocybin present exceptional potential for individuals with intractable mental illnesses and a history of trauma.
Unfortunately, the prohibition of these natural substances has prevented most medical research from taking place. With more municipalities opening the doorway to the end of prohibition on psychedelics, we may see a resurgence in medical and academic research in these substances that will not only lead to breakthroughs in how we handle mental health problems in our society but also how people talk about entheogens and hallucinogens.
For previous Ladybud articles about entheogens, click here.