City leaders in Port Townsend, Washington voted this week to decriminalize entheogenic plants and fungi, joining a growing list of communities that have relaxed their policies on psychedelic drugs.
Under a resolution adopted unanimously by the city council on Monday, laws against natural psychedelic drugs such as psilocybin mushrooms, peyote, and ayahuasca will be among the lowest law enforcement priorities in the city. The measure also expresses the city council’s support for decriminalization of psychedelics by the State of Washington and at the federal level.
City staff modeled Port Townsend’s psychedelics decriminalization resolution after one approved by the Seattle City Council in October, making it the largest U.S. city to make such a move. Denver was the first major municipality to decriminalize psychedelics in 2019, and similar measures have been passed by Oakland, Washington, D.C., and Cambridge, Massachusetts. And in November, voters in Oregon approved a ballot measure that decriminalized psilocybin and legalized the compound for therapeutic use.
The Port Townsend Psychedelics Society (PTPS), a group dedicated to decriminalizing entheogenic plants and exploring their potential for healing, also contributed to the drafting of the resolution. The city now “maintains that the abuse of controlled substances should be understood primarily as a public health issue,” the text of the resolution reads, according to a report by Marijuana Moment.
Before the council voted on the measure, PTPS activists recommended changes to an early draft of the resolution. Under amendments supported by the group, the text of the resolution was changed to make entheogens “among the lowest” law enforcement priorities, instead of a “low” priority.