The Slatest

D.C. and Oregon Vote to Start Decriminalizing Shrooms

About 18 psilocybin mushrooms, on a white background.
Dangerous times for Maureen Dowd. Alan Rockefeller (CC BY-SA 3.0)

Election results are beginning to come in, and there are two bits of reassuring news amid all the anxiety: Voters in the District of Columbia overwhelmingly chose to decriminalize psilocybin mushrooms, while Oregonians have passed a measure legalizing psilocybin for medical use. In D.C., Initiative Measure 81 has passed, which means that, at least in theory, prosecuting people for possession, cultivation, or sale of a variety of psychedelic plants and fungi will soon be one of the D.C. police department’s lowest priorities. In Oregon, Measure 109 goes even further, legalizing psilocybin therapies in controlled environments, which is good, because psychedelics may help people overcome addictions, anxiety, and depression. In a night filled with races that are depressingly close, these measures provide an inspiring example of citizens forcing an unwilling government to respect their wishes: In this case, their wishes to check right the fuck out of this reality for a while, thanks.

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Unfortunately, however, we’ll all have to wait a little while before heading to Oregon to seek treatment for our crippling depression or heading to D.C. to hang out at the Air and Space Museum tripping balls and giggling at the spacesuits. First of all, the Air and Space Museum is mostly closed at the moment because we’re in the middle of an uncontrolled pandemic. Second, because D.C. doesn’t really get to self-govern, its decriminalization measure won’t become law unless it passes review by both the D.C. Council and Congress. In 1998, Congress—well, Bob Barr, mostly—overturned a previous D.C. marijuana decriminalization initiative, and history could easily repeat itself. In Oregon, it’ll be two years before regulatory details are worked out, and that’s before accounting for time dilation. Still, in a night full of ambiguous-to-alarming news, these votes serve as a bellwether for the nation. We may not know who’ll be president yet, or how much further our fall into fascism will go, but there’s one thing we can be sure of: The public’s interest in legalizing hallucinogens is nowhere near peaking.

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