The Voices for Smarter Choices protest will call for the rescheduling of psychedelics on 9 July 2023 at Parliament Square Garden in London.
Oxford Psychedelic Society is calling on all people who support drug policy reform in the UK to attend a protest at 1 P.M. on 9 July 2023.
The protest, called Voices for Smarter Choices, will demand the rescheduling of psychedelics like LSD, psilocybin and MDMA; the decriminalisation of cannabis; and the expungement of criminal records for anyone charged with cannabis possession.
Oxford Psychedelic Society was founded in 2017 by a group of students at the University of Oxford.
The organisation has since grown to become a leading voice for drug policy reform in the UK, organising events on psychopharmacology and psychedelic culture, producing educational materials and lobbying policymakers to change drug laws.
Kenneth Shinozuka, President of Oxford Psychedelic Society and Vice President of the Protest Organising Committee, said:
"Punitive drug legislation has needlessly harmed the lives of countless people in the UK, especially people of colour. The pointless War on Drugs has piled people into prison and contributed to a culture of fear and paranoia around substance use. Thankfully, recent research on psychedelics and cannabis has illustrated the profound medicinal benefits of these substances, when used in the right context."
A growing body of scientific evidence shows that illegal drugs like cannabis are significantly less harmful than legal substances, such as alcohol.
The recent research renaissance into psychedelic therapy is also demonstrating that alternative medicines such as LSD, psilocybin and MDMA could positively treat mental health conditions such as depression, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and existential distress.
The Voices for Smarter Choices message states:
"As it stands, all three of these substances are Class A drugs; that is, according to the government, they have no recognised medical value. This statement is demonstrably untrue, as a number of peer-reviewed scientific studies have demonstrated that these substances are significantly more effective than existing treatments for a wide range of conditions, including PTSD, addiction and treatment-resistant depression. As such, their scheduling must be changed. We cannot expect the public to take the government drug policy seriously when it puts magic mushrooms in the same category as heroin."
Despite these advances in science, the UK government still lags behind other nations in progressive drug policy.
Australia became the first country in the world to legalise psilocybin and MDMA for medical use this year. The drugs were approved for psychiatrists to prescribe as medication for mental health conditions such as treatment-resistant depression starting 1 July 2023.
In the United States, psilocybin has been decriminalised in Washington, D.C., Seattle and certain cities in California, Massachusetts and Michigan. The state of Oregon legalised the psychedelic drug on 3 November 2020 with the passing of Measure 109, making it the first U.S. state to legalise the adult use of magic mushrooms, with psilocybin-assisted therapy sessions expected to be available by the end of 2023.
In Colorado, it is now legal for those aged 21 and older to possess, share and use psilocybin, psilocin, DMT, ibogaine and mescaline not extracted from peyote.
"Unfortunately, despite strides made in other countries such as the USA, drug legislation in the UK has yet to catch up with the science. We are calling for the rescheduling of psychedelics, as well as the decriminalisation of cannabis and the expunging of the criminal record of anyone arrested for cannabis possession. Let's start healing people rather than putting them behind bars."
Crispin Blunt MP, Chair of the Conservative Drug Policy Reform Group, has lended his support to the project's demands, following the parliamentary debate on psilocybin access rights on 18 May 2023.
HOW YOU CAN HELP
There are many ways to help Oxford Psychedelic Society in their fight for drug policy reform. You can attend the protest on 9 July, make signs for the protest or donate to the organisation. You can also contact your elected officials and urge them to support drug policy reform.
Organisers will be leading two sessions to make signs for the protest at University Parks in Oxford at 1. P.M. on Friday, 7 July and at Hyde Park in London at 1 P.M. on Saturday, 8 July. They will also be leading a group trip to London from Oxford on Sunday, 9 July, meeting at Gloucester Green Station at 10 A.M.
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Main image: A protest for drug policy reform will take place at Parliament Square Garden in London on 9 July 2023. Credit: bedneyimages on Freepik