I am feeling cautiously optimistic after the news that Oakland decriminalized plant-based psychedelics this week, as well as Denver. While I am excited and personally invested in seeing these medicines incorporated into the Western medical toolset, I think it’s important to proceed carefully. As we’ve seen in the past, this project can go way off the rails quickly if we treat psychedelics as a panacea.
Psychedelics aren’t a cure-all magic pill, and they’re not for everyone. What we need is not fear, but clarity, mindfulness and integrity. To honor and respect the ancient cultures that have paved the way for us as we learn from their wisdom.
What is clear is that our medical system and society, in general, could use some assistance from these plant teachers. The decriminalization wave is symbolic; it could be the lead domino in a string of events that pave the way to gradual legal therapeutic access. I do not think that psychedelics should be available on every corner like weed is. I believe that they should be offered through healing centers where anyone can have access after a screening: sick people, well people, or psychonauts who just want to safely explore their own consciousness. These places already exist in various capacities internationally and in the US. Most importantly, I look forward to the day when access is not cost-prohibitive so that everyone can benefit from this magic. Thank you to everyone on the front lines or behind the scenes doing this work.