For once, Alexandria-Ocasio Cortez does something useful.
After Denver decriminalized psilocybin mushrooms, there is now a growing movement to reform other drug laws at the federal level.
Fox News reports that AOC filed legislation that makes it easier for researchers to study the therapeutic and medical benefits of various kinds of psychedelic drugs.
The provision AOC filed is a rider to a much larger appropriations bill. This provision would end the ban on federal money being spent on “any activity that promotes the legalization of any drug or other substance in Schedule I” of the Controlled Substances Act
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The provision’s summary states, “Academics and scientists report that provisions like this create [stigma] and insurmountable logistical hurdles to researching Schedule I drugs.”
However, this provision met a quick death after the House voted down this amendment in a vote on Thursday, June 13, 2019.
Nevertheless, this is a start for drug reform advocates.
The journal Neuropharmacology published an analysis in October recommending that psilocybin mushrooms be reclassified for medical use. The journal argues that psilocybin mushrooms help treat PTSD, depression, and anxiety. Additionally, they can help people kick their smoking habits.
On June 4, 2019 the Oakland City Council passed a resolution decriminalizing psychedelic mushrooms in the latest move to undermine the failed Drug War.
Before the council meeting, Carlos Plazola, the chair of Decriminalize Nature Oakland, said, “Entheogenic plants and fungi are tremendous for helping to enable healing, particularly for folks who have experienced trauma in their lives.”
He added, “These plants are being recommended pretty extensively undercover, underground, by doctors and therapists.”
These are positive developments for freedom lovers. The Drug War has been one of the most intrusive government programs of the last few decades which has violated the civil liberties of millions, while also helping fuel mass incarceration in America. Moreover, the Drug War has propped up drug cartels who benefit from the artificially high prices that are created on black markets.
The only thing wrong with AOC’s initiative is that public funds should not be used to conduct research on drugs. It should be the private sector that is spearheading these efforts. Nevertheless, this is a positive first step in phasing out the Drug War. Once we realize that the issue of drugs is something that civil society, not the government, should tackle, we will have made tremendous progress on the issue.