DC’s Initiative 81 Becomes Law: Effectively Decriminalizes Entheogenic Plants and Fungi

DC’s Initiative 81 Becomes Law: Effectively Decriminalizes Entheogenic Plants and Fungi

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 Initiative 81, the Entheogenic Plant and Fungus Policy Act of 2020, has formally taken effect. Initiative 81 changed DC law to make the enforcement of laws against those using plant and fungi medicines among the lowest law enforcement priorities. The new law comes into force after the congressional review period of 30 legislative days mandated for all DC laws. No member of the House or Senate objected to Initiative 81. 

These changes help ensure that residents benefiting from natural psychedelics known as entheogens will not face investigation, arrest or incarceration. Although current congressional restrictions bar DC from fully decriminalizing or legalizing natural psychedelics, Initiative 81 adds significant protections for those using entheogenic plants and fungi including psilocybin mushrooms, ayahuasca, iboga, and mescaline-containing cacti. These entheogenic plants and fungi can help those suffering from depression, anxiety, and addiction.

After a successful grassroots campaign to put Initiative 81 on the November 2020 ballot, the ballot measure passed with more than 76% percent support among DC voters. Initiative 81 was initially proposed by Melissa Lavasani, a DC mother of two who used plant medicines to overcome severe postpartum depression. 

“After more than a year of campaigning and educating DC residents about natural psychedelics, I am thrilled to see Initiative 81 take effect” said Initiative 81 Proposer Melissa Lavasani. “This historic moment is the culmination of countless hours of work and endless dedication from grassroots supporters across DC who made it their mission to change outdated laws that targeted people for using plant and fungi medicines to heal. Thanks to their effort and support from voters across DC, Initiative 81 has made a real, tangible change that is now enshrined in law.”