East Lansing considers decriminalizing psychedelics

Published: Apr. 14, 2022 at 2:56 PM EDT
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EAST LANSING, Mich. (WILX) - In a discussion-only session, the City Council of East Lansing discussed something that would have been unheard of not long ago: Decriminalizing psychedelics.

The Council said they decided to discuss the idea after they received messages from several people requesting that they take a look at how psychedelics are classified and consider decriminalizing them.

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Councilmember Dana Watson explained that psychedelics are currently classified as a Schedule I drug, which means they aren’t considered to have medicinal purposes. She noted, however, that people have been using psychedelics for centuries and for religious, spiritual and medicinal reasons.

“This is about considering taking something off the books that should no longer be on the books because there is proof out there that’s telling us otherwise,” said Councilmember Watson. “There are other cities that have seen that too, like Ann Arbor and Hazel Park.”

Watson said that part of her reasoning was that there have been no charges filed by the Ingham County Prosecutor’s Office for psychedelic use in the past several years.

East Lansing Police Department Captain Chad Connelly also spoke during the discussion, noting that ELPD does quite often see the use of psychedelics with other illicit narcotics. He said, in the last five-to-six years, his department has had two death investigations that involved a combination of substances, which included psychedelics.

At the end of the discussion session, Council asked the city attorney to draft a resolution to decriminalize psychedelics. They will be considering it at the next regular Council meeting on April 19.


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