Mason Marks writes in Psychedelic Week
Late Tuesday night, Medford, Massachusetts, home of Tufts University, became the eighth city in the state to decriminalize psychedelic plants and fungi.
Councilor Leming, a neuroscience researcher at Massachusetts General Hospital, told Psychedelic Week, “A growing body of scientific research has found plant medicine uniquely beneficial for treating addiction and post-traumatic stress disorder.” Lemming added, “history is riddled with legislative mistakes that occur because all mind-altering substances are criminalized, misunderstood, and treated with fear. This resolution is one step closer to having nuanced and science-backed policy in Massachusetts.”
In adopting the resolution, Medford joins Somerville, Cambridge, Amherst, Northampton, Easthampton, Salem, and Provincetown, which previously deprioritized enforcement of criminal penalties. The vote sets a new national record for Massachusetts, which contains more cities where psychedelics are decriminalized than any other state.
Like the Provincetown Select Board, which took similar action in December, Medford urges state lawmakers to replace a 2024 ballot initiative proposed by the Washington, DC-based New Approach PAC (New Approach) before it reaches Massachusetts voters in November.
At Tuesday’s City Council meeting, it was initially unclear whether the resolution would pass. After Leming and Callahan introduced the proposal, Councilor George Scarpelli expressed concerns. He said that because the resolution involves law enforcement, the Council should send it to a subcommittee for input from the Chief of Police. To that end, Scarpelli moved to send the matter to the Council’s Public Health and Community Safety Committee.
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