Marijuana Moment reports
Atlanta lawmakers met on Tuesday to discuss a proposed resolution in support of locally decriminalizing psychedelics, hearing testimony on the therapeutic benefits of entheogenic substances and discussing a plan to further consider the reform in a work session.
At a hearing before the City Council Public Safety & Legal Administration Committee, members took public comment on the measure that was recently filed Councilmember Liliana Bakhtiari.
Lawmakers described the testimony as “very, very poignant” and “heart-rending” after hearing personal stories from residents about their own experiences with psychedelics, as well as information about emerging research showing how natural medicines like psilocybin can treat a host of mental health conditions such as severe depression and post-traumatic stress disorder.
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Atlanta Lawmakers Discuss Psychedelics Decriminalization Resolution
City of Atlanta
Held in Committee
Sep 12, 2022 1:00 PM
A RESOLUTION BY COUNCILMEMBER LILIANA BAKHTIARI REQUESTING THAT NO CITY FUNDS BE UTILIZED TO INVESTIGATE REPORTS OF INDIVIDUALS INVOLVED WITH THE PERSONAL USE, GROWTH AND POSSESSION OF ENTHEOGENIC PLANTS, FUNGI, AND SPORES, INCLUDING THOSE SCHEDULED AT THE STATE AND FEDERAL LEVELS AND REQUEST THAT THE ATLANTA POLICE DEPARTMENT PLACE THESE REPORTS OF THE LOWEST POSSIBLE PRIORITY, AND FOR OTHER PURPOSES.
|Department:||Office of Research and Policy Analysis||Sponsors:||Councilmember, District 5 Liliana Bakhtiari|
|Category:||Personal Paper||Functions:||None Required|
(Held 9/12/22 at the request of the sponsor)
WHEREAS, Entheogenic Plants and Fungi, defined herein as the full spectrum of plants, fungi, and natural materials and/or their extracted compounds, limited to those containing the following types of compounds: indole amines, tryptamines, and phenethylamines; that can benefit psychological and physical wellness, support and enhance religious and spiritual practices, and
WHEREAS, the City of Atlanta currently has many other priorities for the use of its funds, staff and law enforcement resources; and
WHEREAS, substance abuse, addiction, recidivism, trauma, post-traumatic stress symptoms, –chronic depression, severe anxiety, end-of-life anxiety, grief, cluster headaches, and other debilitating conditions are present in our community; and
WHEREAS, the use of Entheogenic Plants, Fungi, and Spores, which can catalyze profound experiences of personal and spiritual growth, have been shown by scientific and clinical studies and traditional practices to be beneficial to the health and well-being of individuals and communities in addressing these conditions; and
WHEREAS, practices with Entheogenic Plants, Fungi, and Spores have long existed and have been considered to be sacred to human cultures and interrelationships with nature for thousands of years, and
WHEREAS, individuals seeking to improve their health and well-being through the use of Entheogenic Plants and Fungi fear arrest and prosecution due to current legal prohibitions; and
WHEREAS, the United Nations considers Entheogenic Plant and Fungi material used for ritual purposes as excluded from Schedule 1 substances; and
WHEREAS, the Entheogenic Plant practices of certain groups are already explicitly protected in the U.S. under the principle of religious freedom; and
WHEREAS, Entheogenic plants such as Ibogaine have been shown to alleviate treatment resistant cases of opiate and methamphetamine addiction at higher rates than other treatment; and
WHEREAS, Entheogenic Plants or combinations of plants such as Ayahuasca that contain Dimethyltryptamine (a naturally occurring compound in the human body) that can be beneficial in treating addiction, depression, and in catalyzing profound experiences of personal and spiritual growth; and
WHEREAS, Entheogenic plants such as cacti that contain phenethylamine compounds (such as mescaline), can be beneficial in the treatment of drug and alcohol addiction and for individual spiritual growth, and have been utilized in sacred initiation and community healing by diverse religious and cultural traditions for millennia and continue to be used for healing and as religious sacraments in modern times; and
WHEREAS, psilocybin, naturally occurring in Entheogenic mushrooms, can alleviate end-of-life anxiety for hospice and terminal cancer patients, can reduce prison recidivism, can effectively treat substance abuse, depression, and cluster headaches.
WHEREAS, the Atlanta City Council has a responsibility to protect and support its residents from any violation of their treatment options and any criminalization of the exercise thereof.
NOW, THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED BY THE CITY COUNCIL OF THE CITY OF ATLANTA, GEORGIA, that the Atlanta City Council hereby requests that the investigation and arrest of persons for planting, cultivating, purchasing, transporting, distributing, engaging in practices with, or possessing Entheogenic Plants, Fungi, and Spores or plant compounds which are on the Federal Schedule 1 list shall be the lowest law enforcement priority for the Atlanta Police Department; and city funds or resources shall not be used in any investigation, detention, arrest, or prosecution arising out of alleged violations of state and federal law regarding the use of Entheogenic Plants, Fungi, and Spores.
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that this resolution does not authorize or enable any of the following activities: commercial sales or manufacturing of these plants, fungi, and spores, possessing or distributing these materials in schools, driving under the influence of these materials, or public disturbance; and any significant violation of this section may result in law enforcement involvement by the City of Atlanta.
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that if any provision of this resolution is declared by a court of competent jurisdiction to be contrary to any statute, regulation, or judicial decision, so that its applicability to any agency, person, or circumstance is held invalid, the validity of the remainder of this resolution and its applicability to any other agency, person, or circumstance shall not be affected.
BE IT FINALLY RESOLVED, that all resolutions or parts of resolutions in conflict herewith are hereby waived to the extent of the conflict.
|Sep 6, 2022 1:00 PM Video||Atlanta City Council||Regular Meeting||
|Sep 12, 2022 1:00 PM Video||Public Safety & Legal Administration Committee||Regular Committee Meeting||
Liliana Bakhtiari (Bach – tee – R – ee) was born and raised in Atlanta and is serving her first term as a member of the Atlanta City Council, representing the residents of District 5.
Liliana is the first queer Muslim person to be elected in the state of Georgia, and the first nonbinary person elected in the city of Atlanta. She identifies as gender fluid and uses “she/her” and “they/them” pronouns.
A longtime resident of Southeast Atlanta and the daughter of Iranian immigrants, she grew up working at her father’s pharmacy in the historic Sweet Auburn neighborhood where she learned the value of hard work and what it takes to run a small business. She began organizing in the community from a young age, and by college, beganinvesting her time in student-led coalitions at Georgia State University and causes such as affordable education and the Georgia Dreamers program.
Liliana followed her passion for people abroad, spending her early adulthood fighting for affordable housing, women’s and children’s health, and environmental justice across 26 countries around the world. Back at home in Atlanta, Liliana has tackled initiatives locally, including suburban and rural voter engagement during critical elections, direct services for unsheltered populations, blood drives, senior partnerships, public art initiatives, and more.
Professionally, Liliana served as the public affairs manager of Planned Parenthood Southeast and lobbied for voting rights with ProGeorgia. Sheserved as a consultant for Echo Market Research as they built out their Social Justice Division. She also collaborated with Partners for Home to establish a hotel program housing Atlanta’s at-risk unsheltered population during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Liliana continues to invest her time in the causes that mean the most to her at the local level on a volunteer basis. Shepreviously served on the boards of Lost-N-Found Youth, Victory Fund, PEDS, and gloATL. Liliana currently serves as the strategic director for the Blue Neighbors Project and as a curator of Black Futures Matter Collective, while also serving on the board of Georgia Equality.
REFERRED TO PUBLIC SAFETY AND LEGAL ADMINISTRATION COMMITTEE WITHOUT OBJECTION