Psychedelics have been used for thousands of years in cultures worldwide for spiritual and healing purposes. However, in modern times, they have been classified as illegal substances, limiting access to those who could potentially benefit from their therapeutic properties. In an effort to change this, a group called the Massachusetts for Mental Health Options has proposed an initiative to decriminalize naturally occurring psychedelics and include a home grow provision.
Initially, the group had two versions of the initiative – Version A and Version B. Version A included decriminalization with a home grow provision. At the same time, Version B only focused on decriminalization without the provision for home cultivation. After conducting polling and gathering support, the group has announced that they will only pursue Version A in their efforts to change the laws surrounding psychedelics in Massachusetts, as reported first by Psychedelic Week.
For those less familiar with psychedelics, they are a class of substances that cause changes in perception, thought, and mood. These substances include naturally occurring options such as psilocybin mushrooms, ayahuasca, and peyote, which have been used for centuries by indigenous cultures for medicinal and spiritual purposes. Despite their potential therapeutic properties, psychedelics have been classified as Schedule I drugs in the United States, meaning they are considered to have no currently accepted medical use and a high potential for abuse.
In Massachusetts, it is currently illegal to possess psilocybin mushrooms or other psychedelics. However, there has been a growing movement towards decriminalizing and accessing these substances for healing purposes.
Massachusetts for Mental Health Options filed two slightly different versions of the ballot with the attorney general’s office back in August, Version A and Version B, which are nearly identical. They would create a regulated system for the supervised sale and consumption of psychedelics such as psilocybin, psilocin, mescaline, ibogaine, and dimethyltryptamine. While also requirements for onsite consumption and monitoring, both initiatives would eliminate criminal penalties for possessing, consuming, or sharing small amounts of plants and fungi containing the five psychedelics via Psychedelic Week.
The difference between Version A and Version B is that Version A includes a provision for home cultivation, allowing individuals to grow their own psychedelics at home. This is an essential aspect of the initiative, as it will enable more widespread access to these substances and potentially lower costs for those seeking healing.
The Role of New Approach
The organization spearheading the initiative is New Approach, a non-profit dedicated to creating legal and safe access to psychedelics. They conducted polling to determine which version of the initiative had stronger support from voters. The results showed that both versions had strong support, with Version A having slightly higher numbers.
Upon analyzing the data, New Approach decided only to collect signatures for Version A, decriminalization with a home grow provision included. This decision was made to ensure the best chance of success for the initiative and better serve the needs of individuals seeking healing through psychedelics.
“Our goal is to pass the most expansive policies that create as safe access to psychedelics as possible—that is viable and that voters will approve,” Jared Moffat, a spokesperson for New Approach, told Marijuana Moment, “We had lots of conversations with local coalition partners, and I think all of us agreed that the best policy would be to have more expansive protections for home cultivation.”
The announcement was met with mixed reviews, “I’m thrilled that you think it’s viable, based on evidence, that the bill with home grow is the one we should put our efforts behind,” said Lieutenant Sarko Gergerian of the Winthrop, Massachusetts Police Department. “I’m ready to help,” he said.
Others had different reactions to the news. Jamie Morey, who founded the Massachusetts-based Parents for Plant Medicine, said, “I’m very, very happy that home growing is gonna be included, but I have a lot of reservations,” “Frankly, to be honest [I’m unsure] about throwing my support to you guys, when there was no attempt to engage with the citizens of Massachusetts, you know, who’ve been fighting this fight for years now . . . like Bay Staters,” said Morey. “To have not had a conversation and a voice is disappointing.”
Natural plant organizations in Mass worry about the campaign’s lack of consultation with Massachusetts communities, that New Approach will distract from locally-developed legislation, and that it might create an expensive psychedelic program that excludes locals while costing taxpayers more than anticipated.
Despite the mixed reviews, it is clear that there is a growing interest and push for legal access to psychedelics in Massachusetts. Including a home grow, provision in the initiative highlights the importance of ensuring widespread accessibility and affordability for these substances.
While some may have reservations about New Approach’s involvement and potential corporate interests, it cannot be denied that its efforts have brought attention to this issue and sparked meaningful conversations within the community.
As discussions and debates continue, it is crucial for all parties involved to prioritize the well-being and needs of individuals seeking healing through psychedelics. Ultimately, the goal should be to create a safe and regulated system that allows for legal access to these substances while also considering the concerns and perspectives of different communities in Massachusetts. With continued collaboration and open communication, finding a solution that benefits all is possible. Only time will tell the outcome of this initiative, but one thing is certain – the conversation surrounding psychedelics in Massachusetts has only just begun.