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Where to Consume Psychedelics Legally

Where to Consume Psychedelics Legally

The legality of psychedelics in America is complicated for those of us that don’t have a legal background and lets preface this article with the fact nothing here constitutes legal advice. To begin, the term “psychedelics” represents an entire group of drugs, which can either develop naturally or in laboratory settings. The legality of each of these substances varies by location, as do the methods by which to obtain them. Today, we’ll address the question “Where to Consume Psychedelics Legally” and outline some of the ways other people go about finding them.

What are psychedelics

Let’s start by defining the term “psychedelics” as it refers to an entire group of drugs, some of which are federally legal and offered as off label treatments in towns all over the US. Psychedelics can either develop naturally or in laboratory settings. The legality of each of substance varies by region, as do the methods of obtaining them. First, let’s discuss what psychedelics are.

Psychedelics are a type of drug that tends to produce extraordinary states of consciousness. Many people associate psychedelics with hallucinations. Psychedelic hallucinations often present as more vivid colors or more fluid or geometric imagery. They include drugs like:

  • LSD
  • Mescaline
  • Psilocybin
  • PCP
  • Ecstasy
  • Ketamine
  • Salvia
  • DMT

Most psychedelics are Federally illegal as per the Psychotropic Substances Act of 1978. Notably, the act suggests that “mind-altering” substances have no medical value. Hence the reason most psychedelics are Schedule I substances and therefore federally illegal.

Light at the end of the tunnel

Current research suggests that psychedelic substances may, in fact, hold therapeutic potential. For example, current research aligns with early 1950’s studies which found that psychedelics like LSD and psilocybin may improve some treatment-resistant mental health issues like depression and PTSD. Given the recent rise in mental health awareness, the need to tap back into the therapeutic potential of psychedelics is paramount.

As such, many states and local municipalities have moved to loosen psychedelic restrictions in their areas. For example, some states have legalized some psychedelic substances, while others have only decriminalized them in select cities. This distinction is crucial for those who wish to consume psychedelics.

Oregon is the only state with legal consumption of psychedelic substances like psilocybin

Legal Versus Decriminalized

Before we discuss exactly where to consume psychedelics legally, let’s discuss what legal means and does not mean. Importantly, legal psychedelics refer to those that can be legally obtained, while decriminalized psychedelics are those with minimal repercussions for their possession and consumption.

Decriminalized psychedelics are illegal, they just aren’t a priority for law enforcement. Those caught in possession of small quantities of decriminalized substances typically face minor legal consequences, usually in the form of fees and product confiscation.

That being said, it is still illegal to produce or distribute psychedelics in areas where certain psychedelics are decriminalized. Such as in Colorado, California, Michigan, and a handful of other states across the nation.

Where to Consume Psychedelics Legally in the US

Now that we’ve gotten that out of the way, let’s finally answer the question “Where to Consume Psychedelics Legally” Generally, psilocybin (a.k.a. “Magic Mushrooms”) are only legal in Oregon and only under direct medical supervision.

Though Oregon is the only US state where you can legally purchase and consume psilocybin, many other areas have decriminalized psychedelics and created research opportunities surrounding the mind-altering substances.

Denver Colorado was the first to decriminalize psilocybin in May 2019. Shortly thereafter, many other municipalities followed suit by decriminalizing all entheogenic plants. To be clear, entheogenic plants are those that contain psychedelic compounds, including both fungi and plants like ayahuasca and some cacti species. Areas that have decriminalized entheogenic plants include:

  • Oakland, CA
  • Santa Cruz, CA
  • Denver, CO
  • Ann Arbor, MI
  • Washtenaw, MI
  • Somerville, MA
  • Northampton, MA
  • Cambridge, MA
  • Washington D.C.

Ketamine as the Exception

Ketamine is an FDA-approved dissociative anesthetic. Though primarily used to induce and maintain anesthesia during medical procedures, some doctors prescribe it “off-label” to help treat persistent mood disorders like anxiety and depression. In fact, many clinics now advertise ketamine therapy services to help address mental health issues. Notably, patients must have a prescription for ketamine; recreational consumption of this Schedule III substance is a misdemeanor.

Psilocybin consumption in the U.S. might be on the rise.

Legal Ways to Consume Psychedelics

Legally consuming psychedelic substances means more than just knowing “where are psychedelics legal?”. In fact, the only way to legally acquire and consume psychedelics in America is to participate in one of the following activities.

Approved Psychotherapy

As mentioned, ketamine therapy is the easiest way to consume psychedelics legally because ketamine, itself, is legal with a script. To qualify, locate an approved ketamine therapy clinic to discuss criteria. For example, those eligible to receive ketamine treatment must have exhausted all other options, including different medications and therapy types. They must also not have health conditions like hypertension, cardiovascular disease, or psychosis, and must not be pregnant or have a history of substance abuse.

Clinical Trials

The US has conducted, is conducting, and will conduct thousands of psychedelic studies. Topics include psychedelics and mood, wellness, substance abuse, pain perception, plus a few that just seek to find how psychedelics affect the average person.

To participate in psychedelic clinical trials, visit ClinicalTrials.Gov. You can search by substance, location, disorder, or other relevant keywords then refer to relevant listings to determine the criteria. You can also use this site to reference completed psychedelic research, or just sign up for our newsletter for updates in your inbox.

Religious Affiliations

When the Controlled Substance Act of 1970 outlawed psychedelics in the 1970s, religious groups have been fighting for the right to preserve the ceremonial tradition. Though the Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 1993 allowed groups to challenge these restrictions, the DEA continued to retain primary regulatory authority over the substances.

Then came the 2006 Supreme Court case, Gonzales v. O Centro Espirita Beneficente Uniao do Vegetal. Notably, the case’s judge determined that the government must show a “compelling interest” to prohibit the substance in all cases, which they could not successfully achieve. Thus, it was determined that some exemptions are allowed if they don’t interfere with public safety.

How to Petition for a Religious Exemption from the Controlled Substances Act

Gonzales’s case prompted the DEA to introduce guidelines for religious exemption of psychedelics. Here the DEA clearly outlines the criteria for a successful petition. Both individuals and organizations are welcome to petition.

Though Oregon is the only US state where you can legally purchase and consume psilocybin, many other areas have decriminalized psychedelics and created research opportunities surrounding the mind-altering substances.

Where to Consume Psychedelics Legally: Final Thoughts

Mother Earth produces numerous psychedelic plants, including psilocybin (“magic mushrooms”), peyote, ayahuasca, and cannabis. Though the “War on Drugs” largely blocked public access to psychedelics, there are still some places where you can access psychedelics legally (or at least avoid criminal charges).

We’ll continue to update the list of places where are psychedelics are legal as things change. Follow us on Facebook for information and updates.

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