Provincetown Effectively Decriminalizes Mushrooms

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Provincetown became Massachusetts’s seventh municipality to effectively decriminalize psychadelic drugs, including magic mushrooms, this week.

The town’s board of selectmen voted 3-1-1 to approve a resolution at its meeting Monday, December 11 meeting instructing police officers to de-prioritize cases involving psilocybin. The resolution also calls for statewide decriminalization and for the Cape and Island District Attorney to stop prosecuting people for possessing, distributing, or cultivating psychadelic plants.

Among selectmen, John Golden, Erik Borg, and Austin Miller voted in favor, while Leslie Sandberg abstained and chairman Dave Abramson voted against it.

Miller said he has seen support for the move in the town.

“I’ve received a steady stream of emails, as have my colleagues on this topic, and heard people’s personal stories, heard people speak here tonight, heard from my colleagues. All very moving stories, and I’m very supportive of this idea,” Miller said during the meeting, according to State House News Service.

Amherst, Somerville, Cambridge, Northampton, Easthampton, and Salem have also effectively decriminalized psychedelics by instructing local police departments not to enforce the state law against them.

Backers of psylocibin argue that it helps improve various mental health problems and cluster headaches, among other things.

“We have a lot of people not being treated, and usually the medical profession says, ‘Let’s treat them with antidepressants.’ We now have detectable levels of antidepressants in our water. That is insane. Everybody is being dumped and dumped and dumped with antidepressants all the time by the medical community,” Golden said, according to State House News Service. “If this could help cure the opioid crisis, it would be amazing. And we wouldn’t have all those antidepressants in our groundwater.”

Abramson said he wanted voters to weigh in on the issue at town meeting next spring, rather than having the board of selectmen make the decision, which is why he voted no, according to State House News Service.

However, Sandberg abstained for a different reason.

“I think how it helps people under medical supervision is amazing. I don’t think it should be for recreational use,” Sandberg said, according to State House News Service. “People are going to start self-medicating.”

Opponents of psilocybin decriminalization argue that it may lead to increased substance abuse, express concerns about potential psychological risks, and highlight the lack of regulatory oversight and potential impact on public safety. Some also object on cultural and ethical grounds and worry about the substance being a potential gateway to other drugs.

You can read the full Provincetown selectmen’s resolution here.


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