Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s provision to research the effects of psychedelic drugs such as mushrooms was shot down by House colleagues on Thursday, June 13, 2019.
The legislation in question would have made it easier for researchers to analyze the medical and therapeutic benefits of certain psychedelic drugs, and it was a provision tied to a large appropriations bill. If it had passed in its modified form, it would have lifted the ban on federal funds being spent on “any activity that promotes the legalization of any drug or other substance in Schedule I” of the Controlled Substances Act.
Although Alexandria-Ocasio Cortez has built a reputation for being on the wrong side of issues such as economics and gun rights, she’s on the mark this time. If there is anything to criticize about this legislative provision, is its use of public money to carry out drug research. Instead, the private sector should be leading the way in discovering the benefits of these substances.
Nonetheless, this marks a positive first step in the normalization of drug policy.
Our culture has made the topic far too taboo, and the instinctive response to criminalize drug activities misses the mark. It’s no shock why the Drug War has played a significant role in America’s mass incarceration tragedy of the past few decades. Not to mention, drug war policies have created an artificial black market that cartels have exploited for decades. All in all, this is a failed set of policies that has to be scrapped if we want to move forward.
The good news is that the past few months have yielded some positive developments for drug reform advocates.
First, we had Denver decriminalizing psilocybin mushrooms, then various urban counties in Texas have seen District Attorneys pursue policies of non-enforcement of certain drug possession cases. More recently, the Oakland City Council passed a resolution that decriminalized psychedelic mushrooms.
With municipalities and states legalizing and decriminalizing drugs left and right, it’s only a matter of time before the federal government gets its act together and passes comprehensive drug reform.