June 11th, 2020

// Petition to decriminalize plant medicines launched with the goal of providing alternative mental health, addiction solutions


Petition to decriminalize plant medicines launched with the goal of providing alternative mental health, addiction solutions
Vancouver, B.C. (June 10, 2020): Decriminalize Nature Canada, a multidisciplinary coalition of scientists, mental health workers, healers and advocates has launched a national initiative to decriminalize plant medicines. Their goal is to garner the signatures of 500,000 Canadians by August 16, 2020.At least half of Canadians will struggle with their mental health before the age of 40. In any given year, one in five will experience a mental health issue. Resources for those suffering are currently incredibly strained, and alternative solutions are drastically needed. 

A growing body of research shows that plant medicines could be a safe alternative to conventional medicine for those suffering from depression, anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder, and addiction. Plant medicines are non-addictive and have been shown to help those suffering from addiction to abstain from drugs like opioids without experiencing the effects of withdrawal. 

In the midst of Canada’s overdose and mental health crises, decriminalizing plant medicines would create greater access to much-needed treatment modalities informed by ancient and Indigenous knowledge, while reducing stigma and allowing practitioners who work with these medicines to come out of the shadows.

“In BC more people have died from overdoses since mid-March than from COVID-19,” said Paul Manly, the Member of Parliament who sponsored the petition. “We need new thinking around the treatment of addictions and mental health. These plants and medicines are rooted in thousands of years of indigenous teachings and cultural practices. Criminalization was part of colonization. It’s time to acknowledge that, and give these treatments the respect they deserve.”

“I have worked with hundreds of individuals who have been able to successfully free themselves from addiction and other mental health issues with the use of plant medicines,” said Trevor Millar, a Decriminalize Nature Canada team member and board chair of MAPS Canada. “Our goal is to galvanize support for decriminalizing these medicines, so that more Canadians can heal from the traumas that lead to depression, PTSD, and addiction.”

"Increasing scientific evidence and burgeoning clinical experience show that, in the proper context, the use of plant medicines can be a positive adjunct to healing, with lasting positive impacts on mental well-being,” said Dr. Gabor Maté, addictions expert in response to the petition. “In advocating for people's right to access these potentially beneficial traditional modalities, this petition is a step in the right direction.”To sign the federal petition to decriminalize plant medicines, visit www.decriminalizenature.ca.
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About Decriminalize Nature:
Decriminalize Nature Canada (DCM) is a multidisciplinary coalition of scientists, mental health workers, healers and advocates committed to decriminalizing plant medicine and fungi at the national level. The group is eager to open the doorway to the alternative healing modalities associated with sacramental plant medicines so that Canadians suffering from mental health issues and addiction can access them safely and without fear or stigma. DCM has gained the support of organizations such as MAPS Canada and the recently launched Canadian Psychedelic Association, comprised of scientists, doctors, researchers, and practitioners. For more information visit: www.decriminalizenature.ca

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