Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is well-known for making headlines, and her most recent action garnering attention is her support of more studies on psychedelic drugs.
Ocasio-Cortez introduced an amendment that would promote future studies on psychedelic substances such as MDMA, psilocybin and ibogaine. The “Amendment to Division A of Rules Committee Print 117-12” proposes serious consideration to the future of psychedelic substances in the U.S. “United States researchers to study and examine the potential impacts of several Schedule I drugs, such as MDMA, psilocybin, and or ibogaine, that have been shown to be effective in treating critical diseases,” the amendment states.
This isn’t the first time Ocasio-Cortez has tried to get Congress on board in considering the therapeutic properties of psychedelics. Two years ago, she submitted an amendment proposal to remove a provision that prevents scientists from freely conducting research on substances like psilocybin or MDMA.
Representative Ocasio-Cortez on the War on Drugs
However, the House of Representatives rejected the proposal. “I’m a strong believer in evidence-based policymaking,” Ocasio-Cortez said during a floor debate on the topic in 2019. “And wherever there is evidence of good, we have a moral obligation to pursue and explore the parameters of that good. Even if it means challenging our past assumptions or admitting past wrongs.”
She also tried to appeal to both parties, explaining that sooner or later, this could be a part of our future in the medical world. “I understand that the politics of this bill may make it difficult for some to support right now,” she added. “But I propose this amendment and urge my colleagues to support it because politics isn’t always about winning today, but it is about fighting for what is right in the future and for future generations.”
Ocasio-Cortez has been a vocal supporter of psychedelic substances for treating certain medical conditions. She recently spoke out in favor of cannabis decriminalization when news broke that Sha’Carri Richardson would no longer be participating in the Tokyo Olympics after she tested positive for THC.
“The criminalization and banning of cannabis is an instrument of racist and colonial policy,” she Tweeted on July 2. In October 2020, she stated that it would take working members of both the Democratic and Republican parties in order to end the War on Drugs and legalize recreational cannabis for good.
“There are different ways that we can go about legalizing cannabis in the United States, and you can go about it in a way that concentrates power in a [Big Agriculture] way that concentrates power in big banks and that cuts out small mom and pops,” she said in a digital meeting on YouTube. “And then, there’s another path towards legalization where everyday people and especially the Black and brown communities that have been disproportionately impacted by the War on Drugs can be at the front of the line of enjoying the economic benefits of legalization.”
Ocasio-Cortex even hired former Marijuana Policy Project Director, Dan Riffle, onto her staff.
It’s going to take more than one staunch congressional advocate to bring about change when it comes to cannabis and psychedelics. Aside from Ocasio-Cortez’s most recent amendment proposal, there’s also a report that is attached to the fiscal year 2022 spending legislation that prompts interest in medical psychedelic treatment for military veterans.
However, there are just as many proposals in opposition to growth in these sectors. According to Marijuana Moment, Representative Debbie Lesko introduced a proposal that removes a recently implemented rider that “allows federal funding to go to institutions of higher education that are conducting research on marijuana.”
All of these proposals, and many more, are set to be discussed by the House of Representatives on Monday, July 26.