What is Decriminalization?
Decriminalization refers to the reduction or elimination of criminal penalties associated with certain acts, specifically the possession and use of psychedelics. It's important to distinguish decriminalization from legalization. Decriminalization means that while the substances remain illegal, possession and personal use no longer result in criminal charges, instead often incurring lesser penalties like fines or civil charges.
We believe it is your fundamental human right to be able to grow ~ gather ~gift entheogens. Decriminalization in Georgia means residents can access these substances rightfully, without the threat of criminal charges or the burdens of taxation and commercialization. Decriminalizing entheogenic plants and fungi aligns with ethical and human rights principles, giving individuals autonomy over their healing and consciousness. It honors ancient wisdom and practices, offering equitable access to natural remedies that have been used for millennia. Decriminalization also mitigates unnecessary legal encounters, supporting mental and spiritual health without reliance on pharmaceutical intermediaries.
Addressing Poverty through Decriminalization
With 12.7% of Georgians living on less than $14,800 annually, decriminalization could reduce financial burdens by eliminating costly legal processes and supporting affordable access to entheogenic therapies.
Mental Health and Decriminalization
Decriminalizing entheogens provides the 17.88% of Georgia's adults facing mental illness with more treatment options, potentially easing the mental health crisis without the high costs of medicalized therapy. For example the cost estimate in Oregon, where psilocybin is legal, is between $2,800 and $3,500 for psilocybin mushroom assisted therapy.
Overdose Crisis and Decriminalization
As Georgia's overdose deaths have surged, with opioid-related fatalities doubling from 853 to 1,718 between 2019-2021. This alarming 101% increase, fueled by fentanyl, outpaces the national trend. Decriminalizing entheogens could be pivotal, as these substances have shown efficacy in treating opioid and other substance addictions, potentially offering a solution to reduce reliance on dangerous opioids and addressing the public health crisis.
Suicide Prevention through Decriminalization
Suicides in Georgia have been on an upward
trajectory, with 1,491 cases in 2020, including
183 veterans. Decriminalizing entheogens could offer
new therapeutic avenues, providing alternative
treatments for depression and PTSD, which are often
underlying causes of suicide. This approach may
contribute to curbing the increasing suicide rates
by providing non-traditional healing options.
Arrest Rates and Decriminalization
Georgia's drug offense arrest rate, already above the national average, has seen a 16.3% increase from 2009 to 2018. This rise contrasts with a 2.6% decrease across the US. Decriminalization could reverse this upward trend, aligning Georgia with national progress and reducing the legal and social burdens associated with drug offenses.
Entheogens and Crime Reduction
Decriminalizing entheogens may have a profound impact on societal crime rates. Research indicates that use of classic psychedelics is associated with decreased occurrences of theft, assault, property crime, and violent crime arrests. This shift from punitive responses to supportive and educational interventions for substance use could transform lives and reduce recidivism. By removing the criminal penalties for entheogen use, we foster a legal and social environment that encourages rehabilitation and personal growth, which is crucial for building safer communities
Decriminalization vs. Legalization
Decriminalization of entheogens is a measured approach that removes criminal penalties while avoiding the pitfalls of full legalization. It safeguards the sacred and cultural practices surrounding these substances by preventing the establishment of a commercial market that could dilute their traditional and spiritual uses. Legalization, although it normalizes the use of these substances, often introduces a regulatory framework that can prioritize profit over people, leading to the commodification of entheogens and potentially restricting access to only those who can afford them.
Decriminalization vs. Medicalization
Medicalization typically confines the use of entheogenic substances within the boundaries of the healthcare system, necessitating medical oversight and often relying on pharmaceutical formulations. This can inadvertently disenfranchise those seeking traditional and community-based healing modalities. Decriminalization, conversely, endorses the democratization of access, empowering individuals to engage with these substances in a way that is reflective of their personal healing journey and cultural heritage, without the need for medical intermediation or the risk of pharmaceutical monopolization.