It’s been an active few weeks in Michigan on the psychedelics front, with activity on both the legalization and law enforcement sides of the issue. Here’s a quick recap of two important bits of psychedelic news.
First, State Senator Jeff Irwin re-introduced a bill that would decriminalize certain psychedelic plants and fungi on a statewide basis. The decrim bill would NOT create a regulated, legal market like those in Oregon and Colorado, but rather would allow personal growth and consumption, along with a little leeway to receive payment for services associated with psychedelic consumption. From a policy standpoint, there are pros and cons to this approach. On the one hand, this kind of decrim bill arguably democratized access to psychedelics. On the other hand, with no laws or regulations around the production of the plants and fungi, there is no framework for safety or quality control (i.e., consistent and accurate dosing). Some see this as a first step towards a more robust legal paradigm, while others worry that if something like this passes, everyone will pat themselves on the back and move on to the next issue, leaving psychedelics to languish in a decrim limbo, while others still worry that the sky will fall if everyone has unfettered access to psychedelic plants and fungi. What camp are you in?
The other bit of news is that the Soul Tribes organization was raided by the Detroit Police Department, and roughly $700,000 in psychedelic mushrooms were seized. Soul Tribes holds itself out as a church that relies on the sacrament of psychedelic mushrooms as a pillar of its spirituality. Soul Tribes is far from the only religious organization in the country that practices the consumption of some form of psychedelics. However, the legality of such a religious institution is far from a settled issue. There are churches around the country that use psychedelic sacraments under the auspices of the federal Religious Freedom Restoration Act, and the state analogues where they are located (NB, Michigan does not have a state version of the RFRA). However, the churches concerned about mitigating the risks associated with offering a psychedelic sacrament partner with attorneys who understand how to work with the DEA and local law enforcement to avoid the fate of Soul Tribes.
Dykema will continue to provide updates as the psychedelic landscape evolves here in Michigan and across the country.