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Initiative 81, the Entheogenic Plant and Fungus Policy Act of 2020, Changes Police Priorities for Natural Psychedelics  

WASHINGTON, DC- Today, the Campaign to Decriminalize Nature DC announced that on February 1st the District of Columbia formally transmitted Initiative 81, the Entheogenic Plant and Fungus Policy Act of 2020, to Congress for a mandated review period of 30 legislative days. Congress is anticipated to approve Initiative 81 and the “Projected Law Date,” the date when Initiative 81 takes effect, is set for March 19, 2021.

Initiative 81, which secured overwhelming support from DC voters in the November election, designates the enforcement of laws against those using plant and fungi medicines as among the lowest law enforcement priorities. This change helps ensure that DC residents benefiting from plant and fungi medicines such as a psilocybin and ayahuasca will not face investigation, arrest or incarceration. Initiative 81 passed with more than 76% support from DC voters and secured at least 60% support for voters in every precinct in all eight DC wards. Overturning the legislation would require majority vote in both the House and the Senate, both of which are controlled by Democrats.

Melissa Lavasani, a DC mother of two who used plant medicines to overcome severe postpartum depression, proposed Initiative 81 to help ensure that other DC residents would not be targeted for using natural, entheogenic substances that she credits with saving her life. The entheogenic plants and fungi covered by Initiative 81, including psilocybin mushrooms, ayahuasca, iboga, and mescaline-containing cacti, can help those suffering from depression, anxiety, and addiction.

“While Initiative 81 was passed by DC voters with over 76% support on election day, due to the disharmonious transfer of power between the outgoing and incoming presidential administrations, the implementation process had been stalled since the DC Board of Elections certified the election results in early December,” said Lavasani in an email to supporters.  The apparent delay was described by DC Council Chairman Phil Mendelson to be due to the security fence erected around the US Capitol building after the January 6th riots which made it impossible to deliver 60 enacted pieces of legislation including Initiative 81.

For more information about Initiative 81, please visit our website www.DecrimNatureDC.org.