Seattle decriminalizes psychedelics

Seattle Decriminalizes Possession and Cultivation Of Psychedelics

Seattle is now the largest city in the United States to decriminalize psychedelic plants and fungi.

CLOSING 🍄 How to Grow Shrooms 🍄
Seats are filling up fast!
Save $25 with GROWMORE >
DoubleBlind Mag


DoubleBlind Mag is devoted to fair, rigorous reporting by leading experts and journalists in the field of psychedelics. Read more about our editorial process and fact-checking here.

On Monday, October 4, the Seattle City Council voted to decriminalize the non-commercial possession and cultivation of many psychedelics for “religious, spiritual, healing, or personal growth practices.” Council members passed the resolution unanimously, with a 9-0 vote. 

The city is the largest in the recent string of decriminalization initiatives taking place in cities across the United States, including Washington DC, Oakland, Denver, and the state of Oregon. Seattle’s legislation includes several different psychedelics, including psilocybin mushrooms, ayahuasca, and ibogaine. The legislation also decriminalizes non-peyote-derived mescaline. 

As Ben Adlin with Marijuana Moment reports, Councilmember Andrew Lewis, who introduced the resolution, remarked before the vote:

“These nonaddictive natural substances have real potential in clinical and therapeutic settings to make a really significant difference in people’s lives. This resolution really sets the stage as the first significant action in the state of Washington to move this policy forward.”

The resolution declares “that the investigation, arrest, and prosecution of anyone engaging in entheogen-related activities should be among The City of Seattle’s lowest enforcement priorities.” 

This significant change is one of several that the City of Seattle has undertaken over the past year. Earlier in 2021, the state of Washington passed SB 5476, legislation that reduced penalties for drug possession to a gross misdemeanor, punishable by 90 days in jail. Those in violation can still face criminal penalties in this bill. Yet, the legislation also states that law enforcement is required to refer first and second-time violations to drug treatment before prosecution. A judge can also refer to treatment over prosecution.

Read: Decriminalization vs. Legalization: What’s The Difference?  

This bill came after a Supreme Court ruling that declared pre-existing drug possession policy unconstitutional: Longstanding law made it a felony to possess controlled substances, even unintentionally. After the Supreme Court ruling, the Seattle Police Department declared that simple possession was no longer an arrestable offense. Earlier in September, as Marijuana Moment reports, the Overdose Emergency Innovative Recovery task force included drug decriminalization in its list of recommendations to the Seattle City Council for reducing the opioid overdose crisis. 

Seattle City Council members expect more work ahead, however. The current initiative to decriminalize psychedelics was passed as a resolution, not as an ordinance that would amend municipal code. With this understanding, the resolution states that the Council will take the following steps “to determine what changes would be necessary to protect from arrest or prosecution individuals who cultivate entheogens.” The current resolution does not legalize the commercial sale of psychedelics. Some psychoactive substances, including LSD and MDMA remain illegal.

If you’re looking for peer support during or after a psychedelic experience, contact Fireside Project by calling or texting 6-2FIRESIDE. Interested in having a psychedelic experience, but don't know where to start? Get our definitive guide on trusted legal retreat centers, clinical trials, therapists, and more.
We have a small favor to ask. Last year, more than five million readers like you visited DoubleBlind’s website. Many of them are suffering and simply seeking trusted information on how to use psychedelics to heal.

We started DoubleBlind two years ago at a time when even the largest magazines and media companies were cutting staff and going out of business. At the time we made a commitment: we will never have a paywall, we will never rely on advertisers we don’t believe in to fund our reporting, and we will always be accessible via email and social media to support people for free on their journeys with plant medicines.

To help us do this, if you feel called and can afford it, we ask you to consider becoming a monthly member and supporting our work. In exchange, you'll receive a subscription to our print magazine, monthly calls with leading psychedelic experts, access to our psychedelic community, and much more.
hand holding mushrooms
How to Take Shrooms

How Much Shrooms Should a Beginner Take?

Preparing for your first mushroom trip? We've got you.
man double exposure
How To

5 Biggest Reasons People Have a “Bad Trip”

The late Anthony Bourdain says it best: “Do not ever take LSD with assholes.”
woman holding chacruna leaves

People Are Facing Legal Repercussions for Serving Plant Medicine — Here’s What’s Being Done to Help Them

“All the recoveries that we see, all the second chances that people have, all the healing… we are not criminals.”