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AOC Still Pushing to Allow Research Into Psychedelics

Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez has proposed legislation to an appropriations bill that gets rid of a stumbling block that stops research into the possible health benefits of using psychedelics.

“It is ridiculous that Congress upholds War on Drugs-era barriers on federal research into substances like psilocybin, ibogaine, & MDMA when early results are indicating major promise in treating PTSD, addiction, & more,” she tweeted. “I’m trying (again) to lift them so we can pursue the science.”

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And she vowed to continue to push on until it passes.

The move is in line with her past efforts on the issue, which she forced onto the congressional schedule as a freshman lawmaker. After Congress failed to include the proposal in its 2019 budget, AOC discussed her effort with The News Station. She says many lawmakers initially brushed off her amendment that would call for more research into psychedelics, but once it failed they heard earfuls from constituents and have since sought information from her on the matter.

“The response, I think, really, really surprised so many members that after the amendment was voted down some of the members who voted against it came up to me afterwards saying, ‘Listen, I’d actually really love for you to reintroduce this,’” Ocasio-Cortez told The News Station.

Removing marijuana from its Schedule 1 designation is being discussed at the federal level, but AOC’s amendment would break down barriers that, currently, don’t allow any federal involvement in any “any activity that promotes the legalization of any drug or other substance in Schedule I,” which includes psychedelics such as psilocybin, better known as magic mushrooms, ibogaine and MDMA. 

“Last time I intro’d this, both parties voted against it & some laughed. But I am undeterred! I’ll keep bringing it up until the times catch up.”

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez

In the amendment, Ocasio-Cortez touts the medical qualities of these substances, even as — by definition — Schedule 1 applies only to drugs with no medical uses.

A summary of Ocasio-Cortez’s proposal, however, says research on these substances has “shown promise in end of life therapy and treating PTSD.” Another proposed revision would direct the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to move forward on rulemaking to establish a regulatory pathway to allow CBD as a dietary supplement.

Ocasio-Cortez is hoping, given the interest in local cities and communities around the country since Denver decriminalized psychedelics in 2019, that her amendment will be included in this year’s appropriations, or federal spending, measures.

Leland Rucker is a journalist who has been covering the cannabis industry culture since Amendment 64 legalized adult-use in Colorado, for Boulder Weekly, Sensi and now TheNewsStation.com. His full bio is here.

Leland Rucker is a journalist who has been covering the cannabis industry culture since Amendment 64 legalized adult-use in Colorado, for Boulder Weekly, Sensi and now TheNewsStation.com. His full bio is here.

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