In Canada, for example, psychedelics remain controlled substances, but some are approved by Health Canada for certain medical purposes on the Prescription Drug List (PDL). In addition, in 2009 New Zealand was the first country to approve ibogaine as a medicine.
In the United States, psychedelics are illegal in most states. However, in Oregon, some psychedelics were legalized in 2020 for the treatment of mental illness. In addition, some cities, such as Denver, Oakland, and Santa Cruz, have passed various laws to decriminalize certain hallucinogens. This has facilitated research into psychedelics and psychedelics for health purposes in the country.
We also have several research and educational institutions that invest heavily in psychedelic research. Examples include the Johns Hopkins Center for Psychedelics and Consciousness, the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS), the Hakomi Institute, and Imperial College.tO
The legality of psychedelics is a difficult issue in most countries, as there are several drug laws that prohibit the use and possession of psychedelics. Most countries are parties to the 1971 UN Convention on Psychotropic Substances, which bans hallucinogens in more than 180 countries. Nevertheless, some countries still have less strict laws on the use of psychedelics. In some of these countries, governments have decriminalized the use of certain hallucinogenic substances. When a substance is decriminalised, it means that individuals are not criminally punished for their use, although civil proceedings may be brought in certain circumstances. Some of these countries also allow psychedelic retreats and clinics for people who want to heal themselves through natural or traditional means. Examples of countries with a favourable climate for psychedelics:
Brazil is a liberal country when it comes to controlled substances. Residents are allowed to possess, sell, transport and cultivate psychedelic substances such as psilocybin and psilocin. Indeed, there is no specific law prohibiting the use of these substances. Although Brazil has acceded to the UN Convention on Psychotherapy, it does not have its own law against magic mushrooms and ayahuasca. In fact, ayahuasca has been legalized in the country since 1992, after some legal wrangling between the government and religious ayahuasca figures. Nowadays, many online sellers sell these substances without any government restrictions. Brazil is also one of the best places for ayahuasca retreats.
Portugal is one of the European countries with the most hospitable environment for psychedelic enthusiasts. Not only is the consumption of certain psychedelics permitted in Portugal, it is also one of the best destinations for psychedelics. In 2001, all drugs were decriminalized in Portugal. While this does not make psychedelics legal under the law, the police seem to allow their occasional use by individuals. That is why LSD and psilocybin are used openly in this country. There are also several psychedelic retreat centers that offer herbal services such as iboga, ayahuasca, mescaline and psilocybin ceremonies.
The Netherlands is considered the most psychedelic environment in Europe. That’s because hallucinogens like magic truffles, peyote and sage are available over the counter in smart stores. In the country, drugs are generally divided into two categories: soft drugs and hard drugs. Substances classified as soft drugs are legal and include ayahuasca, sage, peyote, and certain types of psilocybin mushrooms. Some other psychedelics are classified as hard drugs and are illegal. Illegal psychedelics fall into the same category as heroin, cocaine and morphine. These include DMT, MDMA and LSD. The country has a lenient drug law that emphasizes education about drug use rather than criminalizing drugs. The Netherlands uses this approach because the government has realized that the use of violence and aggression is not the best way to solve the problem of drug use, because it makes control even more difficult.
Thailand is one of the most welcoming psychedelic environments in Asia, especially as the country is developing a culture of herbal retreats. Thailand takes a strict stance against drug use by law. Until 2017, the use, possession and transportation of illegal drugs could be punishable by death. Although psychedelics are still illegal in this country, people can often be seen using them. Sometimes bars advertise products containing psilocybin mushrooms. There are several mushroom shakes and smoothies that contain psilocybin and other psychedelic substances. People also freely grow certain hallucinogenic plants in the country. There are also several psychedelic retreat centers in Thailand.
Recent events in Canada suggest that this country could be the next in North America to establish a psychedelic environment, especially for medical use. In August 2020, Health Minister Patty Haju approved the first waivers for four patients with severe anxiety. They were given psilocybin therapy. This makes psilocybin legal in Canada for the first time in 50 years, since psychoactive substances were declared illegal in 1974. In December 2020, Health Canada also made further progress on the use of psychedelic drugs. It has given certain healthcare professionals the legal right to use psilocybin to treat certain conditions such as STDs, depression and other related disorders. The health minister announced at a virtual public meeting in December: I am also pleased to report that Health Canada yesterday granted exemptions to a number of health care professionals who wished to possess and consume mushrooms containing psilocybin.
These developments follow years of campaigning by human rights groups and state-owned companies that had worked with the Ministry of Health to promote greater access to psilocybin and other hallucinogens. For example, TheraPsil, an advocacy group led by clinical psychologist Bruce Tobin, has been pushing for an exemption for psilocybin since 2016. And a new development suggests that other psychoactive substances may be given the same status in the future. Today, there are psilocybin dispensaries in many cities across Canada. In Vancouver, for example, there are two dispensaries for magic mushrooms, and there will be more as time goes on. Canada is a liberal country when it comes to health policy on drug use. In 2018, it became the first G7 country to legalize cannabis.
Olusegun Akinfenwa is a political correspondent for ImmiNewsUK, covering political and social events around the world.
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