A poll from Washington D.C. advocacy group Decriminalize Nature D.C. suggests a majority of residents support the decriminalization of psilocybin mushrooms and other “entheogens”—or psychedelic substances—such as mescaline, ayahuasca, or DMT.
This poll is the latest in a series of creative responses to COVID-19 that Decriminalize Nature D.C. has come up with as they continue to push for an initiative to decriminalize psychedelics on the ballot as conventional forms of outreach are severely limited by the pandemic. As The Outlaw Report previously reported, a grassroots, on-the-ground, and on-the-hill effort to get an initiative to decriminalize psilocybin mushrooms on the ballot in 2020 had to change-up so Decriminalize Nature D.C. introduced the idea of a “micro-scale petition.” That petition was mailed out to those who already supported decriminalization who could then distribute it to others around them, circumventing the usual large-scale door-to-door outreach used for petitions.
Decriminalize Nature D.C. also decided to illustrate support through polling about Initiative 81—the Entheogenic Plant and Fungus Policy Act of 2020. As described in a press release put out by Decriminalize Nature D.C., the poll was sponsored by the New Approach Political Action Committee, a DC-based PAC that has backed a number of cannabis legalization bills around the country and also supported an initiative in Oregon regarding the administering of psilocybin. The polling was conducted by the firm FM3 Research.
The study reached around 800 people by phone—which means it has something around a 3.5% margin of error—and revealed that with little additional information, 51% of those polled support the initiative while 27% were opposed and 22% were undecided. The numbers of those undecided and opposed go down after a “plain-language explanation,” with 60% in support, 27% opposed, and 13% undecided. That steadfast minority in opposition remains but does not grow while those undecided shift to supporting the initiative.
The poll results memo goes on to explain that “while very few have used any type of plant medicine personally, many DC voters have a connection to someone who has experienced the type of mental health issues the substances can treat.” The mental health issues mentioned are anxiety, depression, and PTSD. The poll also has breakdowns on the use of psychedelics by those polled: 10% of those polled had used psilocybin while 1% had used ayahuasca, mescaline, or another psychoactive drug, iboga. The poll, the experiences of those polled, and the majority support of Initiative 81 speaks to a growing interest and acceptance of psychedelics in American life.
“This poll demonstrates the broad support for Initiative 81 in the District of Columbia and reaffirms the importance of putting the “Entheogenic Plant and Fungus Policy Act of 2020,” on the November ballot,” said Decriminalize Nature D.C.’s Melissa Lavasani said. “Despite the current public health crisis, DC voters have made clear that they are ready to change how DC approaches entheogens. Now our campaign must make sure that voters have the opportunity to do so.”
To get Initiative 81 on the ballot in November, it must gather 30,000 signatures by July 6.