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Psychedelic Exceptionalism

Updated: Apr 15, 2021

Biden has just been elected to Delaware Senate. He helps introduce a bill that creates a sentencing disparity for crack cocaine where possession of a single gram of crack is treated the same as possession of 100 grams of cocaine. Crack and cocaine are the same drug, just different forms used by different members of society. With myths such as "An African high on cocaine cannot be stopped with a .32" floating around and the media reporting about this new drug ruining society we saw the anti drug abuse act of 1986 get introduced and unfairly putting thousands of black men behind bars for years for possessing less than $100 of crack. In 2010 when Biden was vice president the fair sentencing act was signed by president Obama. It eliminated the 5 year mandatory minimum for 5 grams and reduced the sentencing disparity from 100:1 to 18:1. The RAVE act which penalizes any music promoter whom acknowledges substance abuse takes place at their event has caused harm reduction to step into the shadows or be non-existent resulting in misbranded and or adulterated substances harming otherwise law abiding party go-ers. Another one of Joe Biden's contributions to our federal drug legislation.

Lets fast forward to 2021. Biden is sworn in as the 46th president of the United States. No one alive has been more involved in drafting legislation that harms poor people, people of color, people perceived as unwanted by society.

After Denver's psilocybin decriminalization the country seemed to see a resurgence in drug policy reform. Only a few weeks later resolutions were brought before council members in cities like Oakland and Ann Arbor. An organization called Decriminalize Nature started building chapters all over the country. The city of Washington D.C. voted to decriminalize entheogens and Oregon decriminalized possession of extremely small amounts of common drugs. While this may seem extremely progressive, it's too little too late. The damage from our nations war on drugs has already taken it's toll. Families have been destroyed, careers have been ruined, nobody will get the years back that they spent rotting in a federal penitentiary over 5 grams of crack cocaine or a few ounces of cannabis.

We are starting to see cannabis stores pop up all across the country, while MDMA and psilocybin are on track to become prescription medications. The people who sold cannabis when it was illegal are often unable to enter the now stateside legal industry.

While I believe that change happens in small increments, this is too little too late. It's also creating a major problem with psychedelic exceptionalism. Previously alcohol, nicotine, and recently cannabis were socially acceptable.

Now society is telling us that if you have a medical marijuana card or your doctor recommends psilocybin it's acceptable. Meanwhile the other 15 million Americans are still looked down upon and considered criminals who face incarceration every moment of their lives simply because their substance of choice isn't socially acceptable.

While cocaine, methamphetamine, heroin, prescription drugs, ketamine, GHB, benzodiazepines, and other "harder" drugs are unacceptable we should not use the judicial system when dealing with users and instead view their problematic usage as a public health issue.

Whether or not you think meth and heroin should be legal and regulated the scientific data shows that prohibition only harms society and people will not stop using illicit substances based upon draconian laws.

We should be offering help instead of punishment. 90% of drug use is non-problematic. That 10% contains the people we see on the streets or passed out at bus stops. The other 90% is your local accountant, firefighter, neighborhood attorney, people who's lives are usually pretty put together.

The key to drug policy reform is slowly changing the status quo. While I do agree that psilocybin is probably the best drug to do that, we have to go much much further as fentanyl becomes a common street drug. With our country nearing close to 100k overdoses a year, more than car accidents and gun violence we need to embrace harm reduction and look at substance use as the public health issue it is. We cannot fix it by locking everyone up and we also cannot ignore it.

With 1 in 8 Americans on an antidepressant obviously something needs to change on a national level. Our drug laws are so inconsistent that on the state level in Colorado 2,000 doses of Fentanyl carry a $500 fine and a misdemeanor while 2 doses of psilocybin mushrooms are still a felony.

While nobody has died from psilocybin, the same is true for many substances and if we choose to keep advancing in a way where we choose what substances are or aren't allowed we will end up in a very bad place. Drugs don't harm people, drug laws, drug adulterants, drug misbranding hurts people.

Take Oregon's 110 and replace psilocybin with any other drug. Those 1 in 8 Americans mentioned earlier probably don't know that modern day antidepressants(SSRIs) are derived from LSD.

Society says taking doctor prescribed SSRIs is 100% acceptable, but microdosing LSD is not...

I hope you are starting to see the problem because we need to keep reforming drugs laws, but we need to make sure we don't decide to alienate the street methamphetamine user from the student prescribed Adderall or the young adult smoking heroin instead of sniffing oxycodone. We need to include the soccer mom who trips on shrooms or DMT or 2c-b. We're all humans with serotonin, norepinephrine, dopamine, and opioid receptors who have a humanistic tendency to self medicate or take a mind altering substance to cope with pain that is either physical or emotional. Humans should be allowed to respond to trauma with substances. Substances of their choosing and not what Joe Biden thinks is acceptable. We should be looking at cocaine the same way we look at caffeine. We've let alcohol destroy our society simply because an elected official decided it should be legalized, sold in stores and taxed. By cherry picking what we will allow and what we won't we are just spinning in circles following the same mistakes America took with alcohol prohibition.

-- Best Regards,

David Wasserman

Government Affairs Specialist

Conscious Consulting Co

*Blog pieces are the opinions of the authors not necessarily Psychedelic Club as an organization*

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