ANN ARBOR, Mich. – City Council members voted unanimously this week to decriminalize the use of psychedelic mushrooms in Ann Arbor.
The city joins a handful of others across the country. Ann Arbor is a college town that prides itself in a more relaxed approach to drug enforcement. In the 1970s, it was among the first to decriminalize marijuana. Now, it’s doing the same thing with mushrooms and other entheogenic plants.
“They are non-addictive chemicals,” Ann Arbor City Council member Anne Bannister said. “They are healthier than many of our pharmaceuticals people can fill their bodies with for years for treatment resistant anxiety.”
The drugs in question are ayahuasca, from South America, ibogaine, from Africa, and popular ’60s drugs such as mescaline, peyote and psilocybin mushrooms.
The Council voted 11-0, saying Ann Arbor police should stand down enforcing possession.
“The chief of police told us it’s already a very low enforcement priority,” Bannister said. “They have very little trouble in this area with people.”
The resolution says these are drugs “that can benefit psychological and physical wellness, support and enhance religious and spiritual practice and can reestablish humans' inalienable and direct relationship to nature.”
“It’s got a lot of potential for personal well-being, as well as its indigenous spiritual uses, and it’s helped bring me from a very atheistic view to a spiritual view,” Michigan Psychedelic Society member Michael Williams said.
There are still skeptics about the mushrooms, such as Thana Millar.
“I don’t think they should do that right now until the community or the people have more information,” Millar said. “Be more educated about it.”
The plants remain illegal under state and federal law. In Ann Arbor, they will remain illegal if the person in possession is committing other crimes.
In its resolution, the Ann Arbor City Council also asked the Washtenaw County Prosecutor’s Office to cease prosecution of those involved in entheogenic plant use. Local 4 reached out to prosecutors, but so far, we have not received word on whether they will oblige.