The current state of psychedelics in America is disrupting the world of psychiatry but in a good way. Breakthrough science on the mental health benefits of psilocybin and other entheogens is showing leaping advances in mental health treatment. People from all over the world are sharing their success stories with psychedelic therapies in major media outlets like National Geographic, Marie Claire, and The New York Times.

Here is a quick breakdown of the current psychedelic laws in the United States.

What’s the Difference Between Decriminalization and Legalization?

Although decriminalization and legalization may sound similar, they are very different.

Decriminalization

When a drug is decriminalized, strict criminal penalties for possession or use of that drug are removed. Even though a drug may be decriminalized, it is still technically illegal in most cases. Instead of criminal charges, possession or use of decriminalized drugs may result in civil penalties or fines. However, when a drug is decriminalized, it is often no longer pursued as a crime by local law enforcement. 

Legalization

A drug that is legalized can be sold, typically under strict rules and regulations outlined in the law. Medical marijuana, for example, is legal in Utah and many other states, but only under guidelines set forth by state and local governments.

Legal State of Psychedelics in The United States as of October 2022

Federal Level

  • The Right to Try Clarification Act was introduced on 7/20/2022 and is currently pending.
  • Ketamine is currently legal for therapeutic use under the supervision of licensed practitioners in the United States.

According to a systematic review of the pharmacogenomics of ketamine, published in the Journal of Psychiatric Research,

“Ketamine is a dissociative anesthetic used worldwide for anesthesia, pain management, treatment resistant depression (TRD) and suicidality.”

State Level

Oregon

In 2020, Oregon passed Measure 109. The measure “legalizes, regulates, and taxes the manufacture, sale, and administration of psilocybin for mental health purposes.”

Measure 109 legalizes the consumption and sale of psilocybin at a licensed “psilocybin service center,” and under supervision from a licensed “psilocybin service facilitator.”

The new program is set to start on January 1, 2023. Local Oregon municipalities have the option to opt-out of permitting psilocybin sales and will vote this November.

Local Governments That Have Decriminalized Psychedelics

Ann Arbor, MI

  • Entheogenic plants and fungi are decriminalized

Arcata, CA

  • Entheogenic plants and fungi are decriminalized

Cambridge, MA

  • Entheogens are decriminalized

Denver, CO

  • Psilocybin is decriminalized 

Colorado is voting on the Natural Medicine Health Act. The act would legalize the use, possession, and cultivation of psilocybin and other entheogens.

Detroit, MI

  • Entheogenic plants and fungi decriminalized

Easthampton, MA

  • Entheogenic plants and fungi decriminalized

Hazel Park, MI

  • Entheogenic plants and fungi decriminalized

Northampton, MA

  • Entheogenic plants and fungi decriminalized

Oakland, CA

  • Entheogenic plants and fungi decriminalized

Port Townsend, WA

  • Entheogenic plants and fungi decriminalized

San Francisco, CA

  • All entheogens decriminalized

Santa Cruz, CA

  • Entheogenic plants and fungi decriminalized

Seattle, WA

  • Entheogenic plants and fungi decriminalized

Somerville, MA

  • Entheogenic plants and fungi decriminalized

Washington, DC

  • Entheogenic plants and fungi decriminalized

With the legal landscape of psychedelics in the United States continuing to change, we can only expect to see more decriminalization and/or legalization efforts in the future. We will continue to cover the laws of psychedelics in America, so keep coming back to our blog for more updates.