Legalize Plant Medicines For All

We're a grassroots community group providing facilitation, free trainings, and community advocacy to make psychedelics like psilocybin mushrooms safely and affordably accessible for everyone who could benefit. Depression, trauma, and addiction have created a public health emergency: our facilitators are here to help!

In four Massachusetts communities — Somerville, Cambridge, Northampton, and Easthampton — city councils have unanimously voted to make all controlled substance possession arrests the lowest priority of law enforcement and allow adults to grow and freely exchange these plant medicines. Criminalization of all substances makes us far less safe. And we are committed to doing right by the many marginalized communities who have been long victimized by atrocious federal drug laws

What are Psychedelic Plants?

Humans have used psychedelic plants and fungi, non-addictive by their nature, for spiritual relief for more than 13,000 years from Northern Africa and the Americas — to Greece and the Middle East. President Nixon banned these plants as Schedule One “drugs” through the Federal Controlled Substances Act without scientific basis to purposefully criminalize Black Americans and people associated with the anti-war movement. Our community educates to reverse these policies and provide affordable facilitation

Cacti With Mescaline

Many forms of cacti contain mescaline, which catalyzes spiritual experiences and addiction recovery for many people. San Pedro cacti are the most abundant source of mescaline

Bay Staters discourages non-indigenous people from purchasing and consuming peyote because this species of cacti is at risk of extinction across the Southwest due to poaching, the meat industry, the oil and gas industry, and heavy mining. Our measures no longer decriminalize the use or possession of peyote, and we discourage the media from mentioning it without context on the threats to its sustainability. We owe it to our indigenous neighbors to prevent poaching, and we encourage experienced botanists to grow it for indigenous organizations like the Native American Church 

Psilocybin Mushrooms

There are many species of psilocybin “magic” mushrooms across the world, including species native to the North Eastern United States. These fungi catalyze spiritual experiences that help people work through depression, trauma, addiction, and painful neurological conditions like cluster headaches and traumatic brain injuries.1

Many people who have used psilocybin describe it as one of the five most meaningful experiences of their lives, comparing it to the significance of the birth of their children. We believe that psilocybin mushrooms should be the primary plant used to catalyze experiences because it is the most abundantly available, and we're here to help you! Check out our services page to find a world-class facilitator.

Ayahuasca

This brew is made from the leaves of shrubs and the stalks of vines native to the Americas. Traditionally prepared by a shaman healer, this plant medicine also referred to as "mother aya" catalyzes significant spiritual experiences that many describe as long journeys or even life-changing encounters with the divine

At Bay Staters, we believe decriminalization is a necessary step to ensure ceremonies in Massachusetts are done in a safe, accountable way that protects these plant species and honors the indigenous healers sharing their ancestral practices with us. DMT can also be made artificially, and that version has many of the same effects for catalyzing spiritual experiences

Ibogaine

A shrub native to the jungle region of Gabon, Cameroon, Angola, and the Republic of the Congo in Africa, Iboga root bark ("ibogaine") can be used to catalyze profound spiritual experiences and relieve the symptoms of withdrawal for opioid and alcohol addiction in profound ways. At Bay Staters, we believe that decriminalization is a necessary step to bring transparency to supply chains to prevent poaching and ensure safer practices

We advise that ibogaine only be used by people who are well-positioned in their lives to move past addiction because it resets tolerance so well that people returning to opioid use could be at heightened overdose risk. Having strong effects on the heart, it should be used with guidance of a nurse after medical screening

What are the Benefits?

Addictions like Smoking

Smoking kills one in five of our friends, family members, and neighbors in Massachusetts and cost our state hundreds of millions of dollars in Medicaid expenses every year.7 Yet 2017 study by Johns Hopkins medical faculty found that smokers achieved an 80% abstinence rate over six months with psilocybin mushroom assisted coaching —a 45% higher success rate than the most effective smoking cessation medication.8 More generally, these plants help people set goals and work through many destructive behaviors, including unhealthy eating and other addictions such as alcoholism.9 10

Neurological Diseases

Some Massachusetts residents suffer from cluster headaches, an extremely debilitating condition that drives many people to suicide. Other research points to these plants alleviating dementia, traumatic brain injuries (TBI), and even symptoms of Lyme disease. These benefits may result from psilocybin (and lionsmane) mushrooms neurogenerative properties — helping the brain grow new cells!

A study by the American Academy of Neurology interviewed patients who tried psilocybin in the absence of any known cure. Five in seven reported psilocybin ended the headaches and one in two reported a complete termination of the ailment.11

Depression and Trauma

Massachusetts millennials have the highest rates of depression for their age group in the United States, and nearly one in five residents regardless of age suffer from depression.4  

A 2020 meta-analysis of randomized clinical trials going back two decades found that psychedelic-assisted therapy is substantially effective in treating PTSD, depression, anxiety linked to terminal illness, and social anxiety linked to autism.5 Other studies confirm this result, finding that psychedelic plants can reduce distress and suicidal planning and ideation.6

Opiate Addiction

In the month of May alone, nearly 170 of our friends, family members, and neighbors in Massachusetts lost their lives to opioid overdoses, which are now the number one cause of death for people under age 45.2

A 2017 study of 44,000 Americans, controlling for variables like income, found that a single psychedelic experience is associated with a 40% reduced risk of opioid addiction.3 A 2022 study backed up these results, nothing a 55% reduced risk of opiate addiction.
Ibogaine treatments in particular can also substantially reduce opioid withdrawal symptoms and achieve sustained reduced use of alcohol and opioids in beneficiaries.14 15

Reducing Community Crime

As crime rates and severe partisanship rise nationally, a 2018 pilot study suggests that psilocybin use combined with psychological support decreases authoritarian tendencies and improves feelings of connectivity with nature. A 2022 study of 200,000 inmates corroborated these results, finding much lower rates of participation in vehicle theft and participation in illegal drug sales after use of these plant medicines. A 2014 study of over 25,000 people found that psychedelic plant interventions reduce the likelihood of people returning to jail for crime.12 13

What is Decriminalization?

When a city or state "decriminalizes" with Bay Staters, it means its city council has ordered the police department to make arrests for growing and distributing psychedelic plants the lowest priority of law enforcement (while treating all controlled substance possession as an issue of public health). Arresting people destroys lives, wastes taxpayer dollars, and makes addiction issues in our communities worse

Decriminalization is education. More kids will talk to their parents and teachers about risks. More patients will talk to their doctors and therapists about treatments. And more people will get help with their addictions rather than suffer in silence and stigma. We chose to positively embrace psychedelic plants for having uniquely beneficial properties because a 2010 study in the Lancet found that psychedelics are often used in cultural contexts that have an extremely low-risk of dependency or negative health consequences:
Our mission does not stop at these plants and fungi, however, as we believe in the eventual legalization of MDMA, LSD, and 5-Meo-DMT for production by our world-renown universities. Many of the most harmful controlled substances in our society, such as amphetamines and opioids, are already manufactured legally: but we are failing to contain the illegal production of these compounds because we do not have an effective harm reduction and health infrastructure. For the purposes of ending the drug war as much as we can within existing cultural and political boundaries, ending all possession arrests and allowing adults to grow and exchange psychedelic plants city by city is a strategy that achieves concrete change

References

[1] Griffiths, R.R. et al. (2006). Psilocybin can occasion mystical-type experiences having substantial and sustained personal meaning and spiritual significance. Journal of Psychopharmacology. Web.
[2] Data Brief: Opioid-Related Overdose deaths among Massachusetts Residents. June 2020. Web
[3] Pisano, V. D., Putnam, N. P., Kramer, H. M., Franciotti, K. J., Halpern, J. H., Holden, S. C. (2017). The association of psychedelic use and opioid use disorders among illicit users in the U.S. Journal of Psychopharmacology. Web
[4] Cohan, A. (2019). Massachusetts millennials have highest rate of depression in U.S. Boston Herald. Web
[5] Luoma, J.B., Chwyl, C., Bathje, G.J., Davis, A.K., Lancelotta, R. (2020). A Meta-Analysis of Placebo-Controlled Trials of Psychedelic-Assisted Therapy. Journal of Psychoactive Drugs. Web
[6] Hendricks, P.S., Johnson, M.W., Griffiths, R.R. (2016). Psilocybin, psychological distress, and suicidality. Journal of Psychopharmacology. Web
[7] Richard, P., West, K., Ku, L. (2012). The ROI of a Medicaid Tobacco Cessation Program in Mass. PLOS ONE Journal. Web
[8] Johnson, M.W., Garcia-Romeu, A., Griffiths, R.R. (2017). Long-term follow-up of psilocybin-facilitated smoking cessation. The American Journal of Drug and Alcohol Abuse. Web
[9] Bogenschutz, M.P., Forcehimes, A.A., Pommy, J.A., Wilcox, C.E., Barbosa, PCR., Strassman, R.J. (2015). Psilocybin-assisted treatment for alcohol dependence: A proof-of-concept study. Journal of Psychopharmacology. Web
[10] Schenber, E.E. et. al. (2014). Treating drug dependence with the aid of ibogaine. Journal of Psychopharmacology. Web
[11] Sewell, R. A., Halpern, J.H., Pope, H.G. (2006). Response of cluster headache to psilocybin and LSD. American Academy of Neurology. Web.
[12] Lyons, T. and Carhart-Harris, R.L. (2018). Increased nature relatedness and decreased authoritarian political views after psilocybin for treatment-resistant depression. Journal of Psychopharmacology. Web.
[13] Hendricks, P.S., Clark, C.B., Johnson, M.W. (2014). Hallucinogen use predicts reduced recidivism among substance-involved offenders under community corrections supervision. Journal of Psychopharmacology. Web
[14] Brown, T.K., & Alper, K. (2018). Treatment of opioid use disorder with ibogaine: detoxification and drug use.American Journal of Drug and Alcohol Abuse. Web.
[15] Noeller, G.E., Frampton, C.M. & Yazar-Klosinski, B. (2018). Ibogaine treatment outcomes for opioid dependence from a twelve-month follow-up observational study. The American Journal of Drug and Alcohol Abuse. Web.