Policy

DECRIMINALIZATION OF ENTHEOGENIC PLANTS AND SUBSTANCES (SACRAMENTS)

OVERVIEW:

This resolution declares that the investigation, arrest, and prosecution of anyone engaging with entheogenic substances shall be among the City of Portland’s lowest enforcement priorities and recognizes the right to cultivate, prepare, possess, or administer entheogenic substances, especially in quantities associated with community healing or a good faith religious or spiritual practice.

DEFINITION:

For this resolution, entheogenic substances (entheogens) are defined as living, fresh, dried, or processed plant or fungal material, and teas or powders, that may contain currently scheduled or analog psychoactive indole amines or phenethylamines. For example, psilocybin mushrooms, ayahuasca tea, and iboga.

Importantly, Lophophora williamsii (also known as peyote) has a particular history in the United States, a vulnerable ecological status, and a special cultural significance to Native Americans. Due to this special history and overharvesting and collapse of peyote gardens in southern Texas, and to the long time required for plants to mature in cultivation, peyote is not included in the definition of entheogens (whereas mescaline containing cacti are included) adopted by this resolution. Moreover, nothing in the resolution shall be construed to interfere with the current rights of Native Americans to possess, consume and cultivate peyote under the American Indian Religious Freedom Act and amendments.

Similarly, because Incilius alvarius (the Sonoran Desert Toad) is threatened with extinction, 5-MeO-DMT extract derived by milking the glands of these toads, is excluded from the definition of entheogens. 5-MeO-DMT derived from sources other than Incilius alvarius is included in the definition (Under ballot measure 110, the synthetic form is already decriminalized for personal use, and should be used safely and carefully with intention and guidance instead).  

Finally, Tabernanthe iboga (iboga), and natural extracts thereof, can be produced sustainably in greenhouses and various plantations around the world, and thus are included in the definition; however, most is produced by the overharvesting of wild iboga in Gabon by poachers. Consequently, ibogaine semi-synthetically derived from Voacanga africanus, is a better source for people seeking to address opioid use disorder and other issues, always with proper guidance, support, and screening for contra-indications.

WHEREAS:

Entheogenic substances are non-addictive and have been recognized as sacred to human cultures around the world for thousands of years, and continue to be revered and utilized to this day by venerable and sincere religious and spiritual leaders and communities; and

Whereas entheogens have been utilized in sacred rituals by diverse religious and cultural traditions for millennia and are continuing to be used as religious sacraments in modern times; and

Whereas entheogens have been shown to lead to experiences that are reported as mystical and that can be demonstrably beneficial in catalyzing reported experiences of profound religious or spiritual growth; and

Whereas entheogens are recognized by sincerely practicing religious and spiritual groups as Sacraments, capable of connecting humans to direct experience of the Divine (which may be referenced in many ways, as God, Truth, Mystery, Sunyata, non-duality, Satori, Tao) within this lifetime; and

Whereas entheogens have been shown via scientific and clinical studies to promote psychological healing and well-being; for example, by alleviating symptoms of depression, anxiety, and substance use disorders; and entheogens are reported as beneficial to religious, spiritual, or soul healing and insight; and

Whereas entheogens have been shown to alleviate symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) experienced by front-line workers and first responders such as healthcare providers, paramedics, emergency medical technicians, police, firefighters, and military veterans; and

Whereas entheogens have been shown to alleviate treatment resistant cases of opioid and methamphetamine use disorders at significantly higher rates than other treatments for substance use disorders, and to reduce prison recidivism; and

Whereas a recent Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine study found that psilocybin occasioned mystical-type experiences that were considered to be among the five most meaningful experiences in a subject’s life for over 75% of subjects, with continuing positive lifestyle changes reported after a 14-month follow-up; and

Whereas measure 109, which legalized psilocybin therapy, and measure 110, which decriminalized all drugs for personal use including entheogens, do not allow for home cultivation of entheogens, or for preparing quantities suitable for community healing and religious purposes, which the most economically marginalized, who may not be able to afford therapy otherwise, can benefit from; and

Whereas the United Nations considers entheogenic material used for religious or ritual purposes as suitable for exclusion from Schedule 1 control; and 

Whereas seven U.S. cities (Denver, CO; Oakland and Santa Cruz, CA; Ann Arbor, MI; Somerville, Cambridge, and Northampton, MA; and Washington, DC) have decriminalized entheogens, acknowledging their spiritual and therapeutic benefits, and legislators in ten states (Washington, California, Florida, Texas, Iowa, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Iowa, Maine, and Hawaii) have sponsored bills to decriminalize or legalize entheogens; and 

Whereas entheogens exist within complex human, animal, and plant ecologies that must be cared for, respected, and protected; therefore, may it be

RESOLVED:

The cultivation, gathering, preparation, possession, gifting, or administration of entheogenic substances or sacraments is considered the lowest priority for enforcement in general, and in particular in quantities associated with community healing or the good faith practice of a religious or spiritual belief, and the City of Portland shall expend no funds or other resources to investigate, arrest, or prosecute individuals solely for engaging in these practices.

The people of Portland also call upon the Oregon State Legislature to support this resolution.