Decriminalize Nature Portland
Decriminalize Nature Portland

A group of activists in Portland, Oregon, are working on decriminalizing psychedelics in the city, touting the benefits of drugs like psilocybin and ayahuasca for mental health. 

Decriminalize Nature Portland needs 37,638 signatures from voters by July 6 in order to advance the issue to a ballot.

The movement’s website argues that “people have cultural and spiritual relationships with psychedelic plants and mushrooms and we have the right to engage in communion that restores our connection with ourselves, each-other, and the Earth around us.”

Earlier this year, Denver, Colorado, and Oakland, California, became the first two US cities to decriminalize magic mushrooms.

The umbrella organization Decriminalize Nature was responsible for the initiative in Oakland as well.

“The response so far has been overwhelmingly positive, and we’re looking to expand our forces and our team in order to mobilize and inspire. We’re so grateful to the people of Portland for getting us this far on 100 percent people power,” Holly Sullivan, a volunteer with Decriminalize Nature Portland, told Marijuana Moment.

Psyched About Psychedelics

According to Decriminalize Nature, dozens of other cities across the US are seeing increased activity directed towards the decriminalization of psychedelic mushrooms which, like marijuana, are classified as Schedule 1 drugs. 

On the political front, congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is reportedly in favor of decriminalizing psychedelics and researching their potential medical benefits.

Presidential hopeful Andrew Yang, who saw a surge in support following the most recent Democratic debate, also tweeted in support of psilocybin mushrooms this month.

“A veteran in Davenport told me that psilocybin mushrooms were the only treatment he found effective for his depression after returning home. We should explore making psilocybin mushrooms legal for medical and therapeutic use particularly for veterans,” the entrepreneur posted on Twitter.

But perhaps the most exciting news concerning psychedelics in 2019, which was most certainly a good year for advocates, was the launch of the first psychedelic research center in the US.

The Center for Psychedelic and Consciousness Research at Johns Hopkins Medicine has received over $17 million from private donors to look into the possible therapeutic effects of psychedelic drugs on a wide variety of conditions, including Alzheimer’s, PTSD, eating disorders, and depression.