Minneapolis effectively decriminalizes certain psychedelics
Minneapolis is set to become the next major city to decriminalize psychedelics. Mayor Jacob Frey issued an executive order instructing Minneapolis police to deprioritize the enforcement of laws around entheogenic compounds such as psilocybin mushrooms, ayahuasca tea, mescaline, and iboga.
The city’s police force has been ordered not to engage in the detention, arrest, or prosecution of people who are growing, gathering, gifting, or using psychedelic plants and fungi. Mayor Frey cited the potential these compounds have in the treatment of mental health conditions as one of his reasons for issuing the order.
“Regardless of the stigma attached, when you look at the science behind the benefits of entheogens, it all points in one direction. Experts are telling us that these plants help people, and that’s the business we should be in – helping people,” Frey said in a statement.
“With a rise in deaths of despair in our city, and in our society, the data is showing that these plants can help be a remedy. That’s the message I hope this executive order sends elsewhere.”
Minneapolis Police Chief: “I stand with the mayor…”
It’s important to note that the directive does not legalize psychedelics, and prosecutors are able to use their discretion when it comes to criminal cases around entheogenic plants. The order explicitly states that the commercial sale or manufacturing of these compounds does not fall under the directive. Possessing any psychedelics in schools, while driving, or alongside a weapon is strictly prohibited.
The Minneapolis Police Department (MDP) is reportedly on board with the mayor’s decision, according to a statement from Minneapolis Police Chief Brian O’Hara.
“I recognize that many of our community members see benefits in using these natural substances for health or religious purposes,” O’Hara said. “I stand with the mayor in support of this action and will ensure the MPD continues to maintain the safety of all residents and community members.”
Minneapolis psychedelics announcement see advocates look ahead to statewide reform
In his order, Mayor Frey also referenced the longstanding ceremonial use of entheogens by Indigenous cultures as well as the growing number of communities across the country enacting psychedelic reform. According to a recent survey, over 60 percent of Americans support legalizing regulated psychedelic medicine.
Earlier this spring, a group of bi-partisan state lawmakers created a task force to explore the potential legalization of certain psychedelic medicines in Minnesota. Members of the group DecriMN, a Minneapolis-based psychedelic advocacy coalition, hope to see statewide reform next legislative session.
“I think with decrim (decriminalization), there’s always this fear that people that are disproportionately prosecuted by our system are going to be not as protected as others,” said Jade Mycelia, a psychedelic activist and member of the DecriMN coalition, in an interview with GreenState.
“Communities of color and then also other arenas in the psychedelic space such as cultivators—they’re still in that gray area,” Mycelia continued. “So I think that’s why I’m more for legalization versus decriminalization because I think it levels that playing field a little bit more and offers some more protection for everyone.”
Bryan Ebert, another member of the coalition, noted that decriminalization of psychedelics via executive order is rare—so far, reform in other communities has come via voter initiatives or city councils. He warned that Mayor Frey’s executive order may be less durable if a changing of the guard occurs.
“I think that’s a little bit of a question mark, but hopefully, it works well for our city,” Ebert told GreenState.
When asked about where the community can learn more about psychedelics in the wake of the executive order, members of DecriMN noted two upcoming events: the Big Psychedelic Symposium and the Psychedelic Therapy & Research Conference.
The announcement in Minneapolis comes amidst a global psychedelic reckoning. As more studies reveal the efficacy these compounds have and stigmas erode, it’s likely even more communities will enact reform.