Seattle Decriminalizes Psychedelics Joining Denver, Oakland, Santa Cruz, Ann Arbor, Washington D.C

Seattle became the latest U.S. city to decriminalize entheogens – widely known as psychedelics - with the passage of Resolution 32021 on Monday. Under the resolution, which was approved unanimously, “the investigation, arrest, and prosecution of anyone engaging in entheogen-related activities should be among Seattle’s lowest law enforcement priorities.”

This measure follows current enforcement rules of the Seattle Police Department that disallow the detention or arrest of individuals or confiscation of drugs simply on suspicion of possessing psychedelics. The new rules aim to protect “individuals who cultivate entheogens for use in religious, spiritual, healing, or personal growth practices.”

Councilmember Andrew J. Lewis, who introduced the measure, thanked his colleagues who voted for the measure. 

“It is a long-overdue conversation to decriminalize these non-addictive natural substances,” Lewis said. “Our law enforcement officials certainly have more important things to do than arrest people for possession of entheogens, and this resolution affirms that.” 

Benefits Of Psychedelics

press release from the councilman’s office highlighted the benefits of psychedelics, noting they are known to help with depression, anxiety, substances use disorders, PTSD, grief, and intergenerational trauma. 

“These and other physical and mental conditions are plaguing many communities, which have been further demonstrated to be exacerbated by the impact of COVID-19,”  Lewis stated in the press release. 

With this important milestone, Seattle joins several other jurisdictions in the U.S. such as Oakland and Santa Cruz, California; Denver, Colorado; Ann Arbor, Michigan; 

Washington, D.C. and Oregon, which have all decriminalized some or all entheogens. These

U.S. cities also join Portugal, Brazil, Jamaica and the Netherlands, which have decriminalized some or all entheogens. 

During a symposium hosted by Lewis earlier this year with the aim of gathering authorities to promote and advocate for Seattle to make this move, the council member said he highlighted the importance of these substances to those who have had severe trauma. 

 “A community conversation intended to reconcile government policy with emerging medical research regarding potential benefits of psychedelics is already well underway,” Lewis said at the time. “We need to join the national conversation.” 

Photo: Courtesy of Zhifei Zhou on Unsplash

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