Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) has already aligned herself with cannabis reform, but now she’s pushing forward legislation that would make it easier for scientists to study the medical efficacy of psychedelics. Ocasio-Cortez’s measure would lift a barrier that many researchers claim makes it unnecessarily restrictive to analyze the medical benefits of psilocybin mushrooms, MDMA, and other drugs.
“From the opioid crisis to psilocybin’s potential w/ PTSD, it’s well past time we take drug use out of criminal consideration + into medical consideration,” Ocasio-Cortez tweeted. “That begins with research. I’m proud to introduce an amendment that helps scientists do their jobs.”
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Specifically, AOC’s measure is an amendment to a large-scale appropriations bill that would remove a rider that prohibits any federal funding being spent on “any activity that promotes the legalization of any drug or other substance in Schedule I [drug].” Under the Controlled Substances Act, cannabis is also considered a Schedule I drug, making it equally as difficult for scientists looking to study marijuana.
“Academics and scientists report that provisions like this create [stigma] and insurmountable logistical hurdles to researching Schedule I drugs,” AOC’s summary states.
Last month, Denver voters approved a measure that decriminalized magic mushrooms, becoming the first city to do so in the United States. And just last week, Oakland became the second city to decriminalize magic mushrooms. Oakland also decriminalized other entheogenic plants, including ayahuasca, ibogaine, and mescaline.