Decriminalize Nature – How to Start a Local Chapter and Why Netflix Is Spreading the News

Decriminalize Nature – How to Start a Local Chapter and Why Netflix Is Spreading the News

July 21, 2022 0 By Lissette Graham

decriminalize nature

Why you should start a chapter of Decriminalize Nature in your City, State, or Country right now!

 

Over the past two decades, we have seen cannabis go from being decriminalized for medical purposes to completely legalized for all purposes in several places – local activism works! While cannabis is one of the first drugs to wiggle itself out from the grasp of the war on drugs – other drugs are soon to follow.

 

If you’re a psychonaut like me, you’ve long been waiting for the day where your spiritual practice is no longer criminalized. Well, as with drugs like cannabis it seems that there is a grass roots movement brewing when it comes to psychedelics and other plant medicines.

 

A citizen inspired movement that started in Oakland California has taken it upon themselves to work on decriminalizing all plant medicine or “entheogenic plants”.

 

If you don’t know about Entheogens let me save you the trouble of Googling it and just copy Wikipedia’s first paragraph on it.

 

Entheogens are psychoactive substances that induce alterations in perception, mood, consciousness, cognition, or behavior for the purposes of engendering spiritual development or otherwise in sacred contexts. Anthropological study has established that entheogens are used for religious, magical, shamanic, or spiritual purposes in many parts of the world. Entheogens have traditionally been used to supplement many diverse practices geared towards achieving transcendence, including divination, meditation, yoga, sensory deprivation, asceticism, prayer, trance, rituals, chanting, imitation of sounds, hymns like peyote songs, drumming, and ecstatic dance.[citation needed] The psychedelic experience is often compared to non-ordinary forms of consciousness such as those experienced in meditation, near-death experiences, and mystical experiences. Ego dissolution is often described as a key feature of the psychedelic experience. – WikiPedia

 

In other words, any substance that induces any type of “non-ordinary state of consciousness, that can be used from anything to meditation to ecstatic dancing.

 

Now I know that some of you might scoff at this idea, but the truth of the matter is that entheogenic practices go back thousands of years. In fact, it’s tied into human evolution and to deny the existence or the human usage of these substances would be akin to denying Native Americans their right to practice their religion freely.

 

In fact, within the Decrim Nature movement the specific exclusion of the Peyote cactus is due to protecting the holy sacraments of the Native Americans – and because Peyote is a very rare succulent which should be placed on an endangered species list.

 

There are only a few places where Peyote grows naturally, and if this plant was to be “decriminalized” by the government, it could mean that people seek it out with more vigor – perhaps driving the cactus into extinction. This would be a shame especially since mescaline, the active ingredient in Peyote is abundantly available in the San Pedro cactus – which is 100% legal.

 

Irrespective of the religious ties to Peyote, the Decrim Nature crew activates for the decriminalization of all ethnogens, meaning every psychedelic on this planet. However, for the most part the movement relies on “plant medicines” or psychedelics that are closer to its natural form.

 

Let’s take a closer look at the people behind Decriminalize Nature.

 

Who are the people behind Decriminalize Nature?

 

Before we get into the nitty gritty of everything, first let’s understand the concept of “Decriminalize Nature”. According to the group,

Decriminalize Nature refers to entheogenic plants, fungi, and natural sources (as defined herein), such as mushrooms, cacti, iboga containing plants and /or extracted combinations of plants similar to Ayahuasca; and limited to those containing the following types of compounds: indole amines, tryptamines, phenethylamines. – Decrim Nature

 

While there isn’t a lot of information on the founders, or at least, during my research that information was evasive. They do focus mainly on the movement as opposed to individuals who may have started it. I do remember Michael Pollan talk about the origins of the movement in his latest Netflix Docu-series entitled, “How To Change Your Mind”. If you haven’t seen the exposé yet, I highly recommend it.

 

Nonetheless, if you check out the “About Section” on the official Decriminalize Nature Website, you can see that they have five major points of focus which pretty much sum up what they are about.

 

Grow Gather Gift Model at the heart of decriminalization

 

One of the core objectives of the group is to instill legally the fundamental human right to grow, gather and gift these substances without the fear of prosecution.

 

“Ensure that “grow-gather-gift” models are at the heart of decriminalization legislation across the US, enabling anyone, regardless of income, to have access to healing plants and fungi. Unfortunately, leading with legalization (the creation of regulations that encourage corporate economic exploitation), without first decriminalizing, creates economic pressures against decriminalization.” – DN

 

This is absolutely correct. If you legalize anything prior to decriminalizing it and do not establish a legal framework for individuals and communities to utilize these entheogens a “growing, gathering, and gifting” capacity, the advocates of legalization would opt to keep those practices illegal.

 

Why?

 

Simply put, if you can’t grow your own mushrooms at home, then you’d have to buy them from somewhere. If there are only a handful of people allowed to legally cultivate them, or grow weed – then the individual loses all power in the transaction.

 

Furthermore, when we’re talking about utilizing plant medicine in religious or ceremonial settings, the growth and/or gathering of the substances is a sacred part of the process. Therefore, simply “buying the sacred mushrooms at your local dispensary” would diminish the importance of the ritual.

 

On the other hand, if a practitioner or a psychedelic guide were to cultivate their own in a special manner – it becomes part of the greater effect of the whole ritual.

 

Considering that “Set and Setting” is important in the practice of psychedelics, the way that the substances are sourced become a critical component in the whole experience. For example, there’s a difference between taking part of the “Holy Sacrament” when the wine comes from Rome as opposed to a bottle of box wine from Walmart.

 

Therefore, this principle is something that I have long advocated. We need to be able to consume, grow, and gift these plants to people – after all, it’s a plant. It’s a part of nature. To make this against the law is to make puppies against the law (because they can grow up to be vicious dogs) – it’s ludicrous!

 

Community Protections

 

Want to make a church of the Holy Mushroom? Decrim Nature believes that this should be a protected right and I whole heartedly agree with them. The fact of the matter is that some people are called to be psychedelic guides.

 

Decriminalize Nature talks about this,

 

Protect community-based ceremony to enable people to heal in their own family or community circles or groups, respecting cultural difference in America, where not all cultures prefer clinical therapy or medical models and/or find them undesirable for financial reasons, efficacy, or safety reasons. Marginalized communities tend to heal in community, more often than in clinical or medical settings. – DN

 

I have guided many newbies through the rough seas of psychedelia and helped them explore parts of their consciousness without fear of “going off into the deep end”. I do it with psychedelia; I do it with breathwork, and meditation.

 

The fact of the matter is that some people are called to hold other people’s hands as they walk through the crevices of their mind. Additionally, in community there is a “Net Effect” within the psychedelia. It’s like the group feeds into each other and there seems to be a greater expression of interconnectedness.

 

This by itself can be a very deep healing process, and this is why Decriminalize Nature believes that as individuals should be protected, communal practices should also be protected.

 

Localize the Economy and Protect the Plants

 

Another brilliant idea is to limit external participation within these communities. In other words, people from out of state can’t swoop in with millions in hedge fund dollars to buy of acres of land and make money off the sacred sacraments.

 

Rather, we keep all of the growing and cultivating local – and keep the profit driven corporations at bay.

 

 

Restrict value-creation for anything that grows from the ground to only tribal-, reservation-, city-, or county-based economies by ensuring local ownership and hiring policies; prevent extractive models of capitalism by creating barriers of entry to out-of- [LOCATION] ownership and extractive investment models.

 

Planning for Corparitism

 

It’s inevitable to avoid the corporations from entering into the psychedelic market. Firstly, what’s coming is something like you have never seen. We’re only witnessing the tip of the proverbial iceberg. There are countless psychedelics still to be discovered and many more will be sold as designer drugs.

 

Since it the corporate influence within the sphere is unavoidable, the Decriminalize Nature people have a provision for that.

 

 

Create strong social equity programs directed at the emerging synthetic-based, for-profit corporations in psychedelics, based on the best models of social equity; target social equity programs at the FDA trial phase with fees and taxes and carry these through the permitting process, creating equity capital and loans to support local economies. Allow for the ease of regulations and entry of small businesses from disadvantaged communities to the synthetic/isolate industry. Do not allow prior cannabis, plant medicine and psychedelic charges to exclude participation from the market. Ensure expungement of records for arrests associated with cannabis, plant medicines, and psychedelics. (Analyze the best social equity and expungement programs from throughout the US)

 

All of this seems very reasonable. If there are going to be people profiting from acts that were previously seen as criminal – the least society can do is erase their criminal records and release all those currently held captive.

 

I also agree with the idea of “easy entry”. I actually wrote about it previously where I recommend a $1,000 per year license fee for a company earning up to $1,000,000 in yearly earnings. This “small business” model will allow people to set up shop and while there may be an influx of stores at first due to the novelty of it all – eventually there will be centers and destinations that will be designed to optimize the experience.

 

Of course, all of this is speculative at this point – but it only seems like a logical sequence of events based on the current behavioral instincts of the modern human consumer. Psychedelics go beyond the average artifact of consumption. It’s a transcendental experience that will shake up society in a way that is going to fundamentally transform it into “something else”.

 

But I digress…probably because I’m stoned while writing this.

 

Could be…

 

The point is, we need an equal playing field. If you truly want to help minority communities, make it easy for them to get into the business. The way that most legal cannabis systems work is that there’s a whole lot of red tape and exuberant expenses with opening and sustaining a business.

 

Within the modern cannabis marketplace, the “mom and pop” shops of old have  been replaced by coke snorting Wall Street douchebags pretending to give a shit about weed. Some of them former politicians that utilized the War on Drugs to further their careers.

 

While some people think that you can just throw money at your past transgressions or give those who were negatively affected by policy “special privileges” within the marketplace to correct the errors of their ways. These people are missing the point.

 

If the point of entry is too expensive for the marginalized community to engage with by themselves, a handout is truly an insult to injury. The only way to be socially equitable is to lower the “Pay Gate” to the legal drug industry. If the average Joe and Jane are too poor to sell weed…then something is terribly wrong in the land of opportunity.

 

Decriminalize Nature has it right about embedding these core values into policy prior to the full corporate involvement.

 

Protect the Traditions

 

When I was a young psychonaut, chasing trips and shadows – I was reckless in my ways. At some point during my developing years there seemed to be an endless flow of all sorts of drugs – of which I had consumed many.

 

I also enjoyed the “organics”, such as mushrooms, peyote, etc. I had a friend who happened to own a piece of land at a place where Peyote grew naturally. It was fenced off which meant that the peyote had been growing without anyone coming to hunt them down.

 

For an entire summer I ate peyote.

 

At one point during that summer trip, I found myself somewhere near Real de Catorce, where I happened to find myself talking to some sort of Shaman. I honestly don’t even remember how we got there because that summer is one giant blend – but I do vividly remember this mystery dude.

 

We spoke casually about plant medicines and journeying and I guess he saw my eagerness for exploration, however he did inform me that I’m “taking the peyote wrong”.

 

He explained to me that the Peyote needs to find you, and it did reveal itself to me. I was one of the lucky ones I suppose!

 

Nonetheless, he explained to me that I should stop “seeking out” the Peyote and just let it come to me. It will when I need it.

 

Perhaps it was all the mescaline I ingested over the summer, but it all made sense to me, and that day I stopped looking for more peyote.

 

It took a few years, but as the guy predicted – the Peyote found me on several occasions on my travels, given to me by strangers…

 

I tell you this story because of the last point of the five principles of Decriminalize Nature.

 

 

 Develop Sustainable Relations with Indigenous Communities, Species, and Habitats:

working in partnership with local indigenous communities around the world where more well-known entheogens grow, establish protocols and practices ensuring the local communities benefit in the ways they desire, and offer support in protection of species and habitats. (Decriminalize Nature’s Sustainable Relations Committee has initiated a working group to collaborate with local indigenous communities throughout the world) – DN

 

I told you my story because I want you to recognize a mumbling idiot who had no idea about the sacraments of peyote, not to mention how endangered it is. For some people however, Peyote is sacred. I was essentially pissing in holy water when I binged Peyote a full summer.

 

I did it because I could and it was abundant. Later on, the War on Drugs sent the military in and they did mass purging of entire fields. You know – for the kids.

 

We need to protect our human traditions. The shamans, the wanderers…these people connected to the earth. We need to preserve the wisdom of the forgotten eras.

 

Science is barely opening up the box of psychedelics and these indigenous cultures have been experimenting with these substances for hundreds if not thousands of years.

 

If cultures have managed to utilize these plants for thousands of years – how can we possibly call ourselves “inclusive, liberal, evolved, woke, enlightened, aware, equitable,” or whichever label you prefer…if we cannot respect this aspect of our own history or our deep relationship with nature…then rather call us hypocrites.

 

A Call to Action

I recently spoke to a client of mine who told me that he was overwhelmed with all the negativity in the world. The “politics” he said, “the uncertainty”, the “economy”…what type of world are we leaving for our children.

 

And he’s 100% right – on one hand we have these seemingly impossible mountains to climb, forces so big that we seem insignificant. How can a group of balls-tripping psychonauts convince a bunch of ego-driven bureaucrats that the right to tripping is sacred?

 

I told him, that while “politics” – the one being spammed into your mind every day on social media, the news, the water cooler conversations – is impossible to change…it’s also wholly irrelevant to your cause.

 

You see, the politics in DC – while they make a significant impact in the lives of millions of people – answers to their corporate sponsors. To them, you are the cattle. This is why Pelosi’s husband is so good at trading. This is why the Drug War hasn’t ended despite the vast majority of the people calling it a colossal failure.

 

No.

 

If you want to stop feeling overwhelmed and helpless, you need to stop paying attention to the “BIG POLITICS” game and get involved in the “small politics” game instead. You see, this is where you can actually make a difference in your community. And when enough “communities” get in line, the change occurs without the “Big Guys” having any real say about it at all.

 

If you want to make some real change. If you’re tired of all the bullshit. Want weed and mushrooms legal in your state?

 

Need a gameplan?

 

Decriminalize Nature is where it’s at – Show them some love and go and decriminalize entheogens in your community.

 

Let DecrimNat show you the way!

 

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