Initiative 81, the “Entheogenic Plant and Fungus Policy Act of 2020,” is a DC voter-approved ballot initiative that makes the investigation and arrest of entheogenic plants and fungi among the Metropolitan Police Department’s lowest law enforcement priorities.
The ballot was approved by 76% of voters on November 3, 2020, and became law on March 16, 2021. In this article we talk about why I81 was passed, what constitutes as an Entheogenic plant, and your rights as a DC resident under the Initiative 81 law in 2023.
Understanding Initiative 81 Law
As a DC resident, it’s important to understand what the I81 law does and does not allow you to do. The law takes a different approach when compared to DC weed laws, where shrooms is not legal or decriminalized but instead moved to the lowest police priority.
Initiative 81 allows a non-binding public call upon the DC Attorney General and U.S. Attorney for DC Metropolitan Police Department to cease prosecution, arrest, and investigations of entheogenic related charges. This includes any non-commercial planting, cultivating, purchasing, transporting, distributing, possessing, or engaging in practices with entheogenic plants and fungi among the lowest paw enforcement priorities in the District of Columbia.
Initiative 81 does not legalize or reduce penalties for entheogen plants and does not allow for the sales of entheogenic plants.
In summary: It still is illegal to sell or possess entheogens, but as of 2023 as an adult you can plant, buy, transport, distribute, possess, or use entheogenic plants without fear of arrest or investigation as entheogenic plants are, for the most part, completely off the radar with DC police.
If you aren’t sure what qualifies as an entheogen plant, keep reading below as we go over exactly what ritual plants are safe to use in DC without criminal investigation or arrests.
Why was Initiative 81 passed?
DC resident Melissa Lavasani, who was the proposer of the Initiative 81 bill, was able to treat her chronic pain and severe postpartum depression through the use of psilocybin and ayahuasca. Melissa felt that all DC residents should be able to explore the healing benefits of entheogen plants and not have to fear arrest for pursing natural plant based healing. After she spoke to Adam Eidinger, who help propose and pass Initiative 71, Melissa took the appropriate steps to submit the ballot initiative to the DC Board of Elections, creating the campaign to “Decriminalize Nature DC” which help the Initiative 81 bill to win by an overwhelming 76.18% with over 200,000 votes in favor.
Campaign to Decriminalize Nature DC
The focus of the “Campaign to Decriminalize Nature DC” was to change DC police priorities for plant and fungi medicines. This would help thousands of D.C. residents suffering from anxiety, PTSD, addiction, and depression who currently fear arrest and prosecution to pursue healing through natural entheogenic substances. As a DC resident, this opens up a ton of opportunities with exploration with ritual plants, but it’s important first to understand what qualifies as an entheogenic plant.
What is an Entheogenic plant?
An entheogen is a fungi or natural plant that induces an altered state of consciousness which has been proven by leading medical researches to clinically demonstrate significant healing outcomes for individuals suffering from conditions including addiction, depression, trauma, and terminal illness.
The most popular entheogen is psilocybin, also known as “shrooms” or magic mushrooms. In this next section, we go over all the most popular entheognic plants that DC residents can now use without fear of arrest. Remember, these plants still are illegal, they are only moved to the lowest priority of investigation and arrest, so it’s recommended to explore these ritual plants in the privacy of your home.
Mushrooms Containing Psilocybin
Psilocybin is a naturally occurring psychedelic compound found in over 200 species of fungi. The more popular umbrella term for all the 200 genus is “shrooms”. Initiative 81 allows the non-commercial cultivation, planting, transporting, distribution, and use of Psilocybin without the fear of arrest or investigation. While Psilocybin is still illegal in DC and at the Federal level, it’s now among the lowest of criminal investigation and arrest priorities in DC.
Currently, you can "buy" mushrooms legally in DC through the I71 market. The shrooms are not bought or sold, but instead “gifted”. Learning how to buy weed in DC through the gifting verbiage will be the same process for buying shrooms legally in DC as well. The same goes for buying DC concentrates, all unregulated products fall into the I71 gifting market.
Shrooms has become increasingly popular at gifting stores because of the amazing benefits they promote similar to cannabis. The Johns Hopkins Center for psychedelic and Consciousness Research found that the molecular structure of psilocybin allows it to penetrate the central nervous system, which makes it a potential therapeutic for mental illness. As a DC resident, you can now enjoy the exploration of psilocybin safely in your home without fear of arrest.
Most popular plants containing Psilocybin that is among the lowest arrest priority in Washington DC: include more than 180 species of mushrooms such as the Psilocybin, Gymnopilus, Panaeolus, Copelandia, Hypholoma, Pluteus, Inocybe, Cnocybe, Agrocybe, Galerina, and Mycena.
Cacti Containing Mescaline
Mescaline cacti refer to cactus species that produce and contain the psychedelic component known as mescaline. The most popular mescaline cacti are Peyote and San Pedro, both being popular ritual plants, however there are dozens of other Mescaline cacti plants.
Mescaline is scientifically known as 3, 4, 5 trimethoxyphenethylamine, which acts as a hallucinogen with mind friendly effects similar to psilocybin and DMT. The I81 ballot allows you to plant Mescaline cacti, distribute (non-commercially), and use it without fear of arrest or investigation, even though this plant is still technically illegal in Washington DC.
Most popular cacti containing Mescaline that are now the lowest priority arrest in DC: Lophophora williamsii (Peyote), Echinopsis pachanoi (San Pedro), Echinopsis zamnesiana, Lophophroa decipiens, and Echinopsis lageniformis (Bolivian torch).
Plants containing Iboga
Tabernanthe Iboga is a shrub found most prevalent in Gabon, where the root bark contains a chemical called ibogaine, which is illegal in the US. Ibogaine has been a popular withdrawal relief from heroin, morphine, and other opioids, which has made it increasingly popular in the eyes of Scientists and clinics.
While ibogaine is illegal, the non-commercial cultivation, planting, distributing, and use is now among the lowest criminal priorities in our Nation's Capitol, allowing DC residents to explore the amazing potentials of this ritual plant.
Plants containing Iboga that are now of the least priority for DC police: Tabernanthe Iboga, Voacanga Africana, and Tabernaemontana undulata.
Plants containing DMT
DMT is one of the strongest psychedelics on Earth and a natural compound found in numerous plants species. DMT is surprisingly common, and is not only found in plants but also in animals and humans. While DMT is still illegal, Initiative 81 now allows you to plant, cultivate, use, and distribute (non-commercially), without fear of investigation or prosecution.
Plants that contain natural DMT that are now the lowest law enforcement priorities in DC: Acacia family tree barks, Yopo tree beans, Arundo donax cane, Bundleflower rootbark, Fabaceae plants, Diplpterys cabrerana, Mimosa hostilis root bark, Cacruna leaves, and Virola leaves.
While shrooms and other ritual plants are technically still not legal in DC, the Initiative 81 bill has moved the investigation and prosecution of any entheogenic plants to the lowest priority with the Metropolitan police department. As a DC resident you can now safely explore ritual plants such as Psilocybin, Ayahuasca, Peyote, San Pedro, and DMT. The bill asks Law Enfromcent to no longer actively investigate or arrest anyone within the district that is growing, cultivating, using, or distributing (non-commercially) and entheogenic plants. Now, DC residents can pursue the healing benefits these plants are proven to give, safely in the comfort of their homes.