Why is DMT Illegal?

December 7, 2016

DMT is not illegal because of any scientific research which states that it is dangerous, or because there have been committees which have investigated its effects.

DMT is illegal because of a United Nations Convention on Psychotropic Drugs in 1971, that all countries signed except East Timor, Equatorial Guinea, Haiti, Kiribati, Liberia, Nauru, Samoa, Solomon Islands, South Sudan, Tuvalu and Vanuatu.

DMT is illegal because LSD was made illegal in the United States in the 1966, which then catalyses the United Nations blanket ban on all psychotropic compounds in 1971. The United Nations convention put LSD and DMT into the schedule 1 category, even higher than morphine or amphetamine (which are in Schedule 2), stating that compounds in schedule 1 pose a serious risk to public health and have no therapeutic value – and yet, no evidence for these claims and resulting legislation were ever made.

LSD is not as dangerous as many people think it is, with extremely few people taking it dying, compared to the very large numbers of people who are taking it globally.

However, the establishment in the United States clearly considered LSD dangerous due to its culturally destabilising effect, because under its influence the baby boomers began to reject the status quo, and protest against foreign wars, and so LSD was perceived to promote social unrest and upheaval.

There are no reported deaths from anyone smoking DMT and neither have I heard of anyone becoming physically injured from smoking DMT. DMT is non-addictive and no physical harm has ever been shown to be demonstrated with the administration of DMT.

So why is DMT still illegal then? I would say it is still illegal because it is presumably easier and convenient of governments to maintain its illegality, and there is a lack of lobbying to make DMT legal. DMT is illegal because “drugs” are illegal and most governments maintain a redundant and backwards policy against “drugs”.

At the crux of why psychedelics like DMT are illegal, is the very misinformed mainstream view, which is that the states that people experience under DMT are invalid, aberrant, “hallucinations”, which are presumed to lead people away from reality and into a potentially crazy state.

However, many of us perceive that actually DMT shows us a more expansive reality, even the essential nature of reality, and that perhaps it is the gulf between this reality and ideologically materialistic and narrow minded views of what reality is, which is perhaps the real issue here.

But is smoked DMT dangerous? I think it can be, if people do not respect it, do not know what they are smoking, or are trying to “get out of it”, which is perhaps even most people. However, I believe DMT is self correcting, and some people who are disrespectful in their approach to DMT can experience an explosively overwhelming state, which tends to be unpleasant for those seeking a purely recreational experience.

That being said, “Changa” (DMT infused into herbs) can be recreational to some degree for many people, and the lighter DMT smoking experiences can clearly be very enjoyable. It should not be a bad thing, that people are finding enjoyment, transcendence and pleasure in this state, and it may well be that the good feelings and experiences that people have, can be inspirational and healing on different levels.

As DMT is a primary constituent in Ayahuasca, churches like the UDV and the Santo Daime have managed to argue for religious freedom in countries like the United States and The Netherlands. This means, as I am told, that non-Brazilian church ayahuasca drinkers in the United States are not expecting to being arrested by United States law enforcement, because Ayahuasca use has in a sense, already been legitimised by these churches practice.

So if you are living in a country like Australia, the only reason DMT is illegal is because Australia signed a convention in 1971, a convention which made a moral judgement against DMT, that DMT is bad for society and that DMT is dangerous for the individual and being a schedule 1, is thought to have no medical or therapeutic effect.

However, those with experience with DMT, understand that the opposite is in fact true. Yes, DMT can be overwhelming and unpredictable, but with practical understanding and consequent right use, its effects appear overwhelmingly positive for individuals and human society.

Research into DMT is beginning to bear this out, and scientific research into Ayahuasca has long shown significant health effects. Earlier this year, through lobbying the TGA, the Brazilian church UDV, made to the Therapeutic Goods Administration in Australia, costing quite a large sum of money, regarding their proposal to legitimise the religious use of Ayahuasca containing a very small amount of DMT.

The issue here is that first of all, the TGA do not represent Australian federal or state laws, they are a federal regulatory body. Even if the TGA relegated DMT to a less severe schedule than Schedule 9 (total prohibition), the state laws in Australia would still be in effect (schedule 1). Also Australia, does not protect religious freedom and you do not have a right to practice your religion, if it involves ingesting a tea containing a scheduled alkaloid.

So why did the UDV make this submission? When the TGA is not known for their progressive policies, largely being perceived as regulatory and bureaucratic body known to move as quickly as cold molasses. Nobody really knows this, obviously apart from the UDV in Australia.

Upon receiving this submission, there was no piqued interest by the TGA in Ayahuasca, no flights to Peru to drink Ayahuasca or signs of a thorough investigation of the argument. I believe the text of their judgement shows a lack of reading on the subject of Ayahuasca and also I think shows a lack of respect of the practices of the UDV, and moreover, a fair hearing of this matter.

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