Eli Savit, a prosecuting attorney in Washtenaw County, Michigan, recently stated that he will no longer pursue charges over possessing entheogenic substances (such as mushrooms or ayahuasca) or cannabis.
To support his decision, Savit argues that drug laws encourage racial disparities, and neither cannabis nor substances like psilocybin mushrooms are dangerous. Recreational cannabis is legal in Michigan, and the city of Ann Arbor decriminalized entheogenic substances.
“The Washtenaw County Prosecutor’s Office will no longer file criminal charges for unauthorized use or possession of marijuana or cannabis, regardless of the amount at issue,” the new directive explains.
In addition to this, Savit Tweeted about this decision. “We’ve long known that marijuana is as safe as alcohol. It thus makes no more sense to charge someone for having ‘too much’ cannabis than it does to charge people for having ‘too many’ bottles of wine. And we won’t, any longer,” Savit wrote.
This won’t be the end of all cannabis- or entheogen-related cases for Savit, as special circumstances or in large-scale distribution cases would be the exception. However, there will be a “a general presumption against filing criminal charges” for such substances.
“The Prosecutor’s Office will not contest any application for expungement where the underlying charge was for the possession, use, cultivation, or distribution of marijuana,” the directive continues. “This policy applies both to marijuana-related conduct that is now lawful in the aftermath of 2018’s Proposal 1, as well as marijuana-related conduct that is not.”
“Criminalization of entheogenic plants simply doesn’t make sense,” the prosecutor said in the official statement. “They’re not addictive. They don’t cause violent behavior. And other jurisdictions have successfully decriminalized them without any negative consequences.”
While the cannabis industry is new, and entheogens are barely legal, prosecutors such as Savit are making it a point not to criminalize low-level cases of possession and distribution.