Democratic presidential candidate Andrew Yang has publicly expressed his support for drug policy reform around psilocybin mushrooms. After meeting with a U.S. military veteran in Davenport Iowa on Saturday (Dec. 14th 2019), Yang tweeted "We should explore making psilocybin mushrooms legal for medical and therapeutic use particularly for veterans."
This advocacy on the part of a major political candidate comes hot on the heels of the FDA issuing a public statement that psilocybin may prove instrumental in combating treatment resistant depression (TRD). Yang also referenced this praise from the FDA in another tweet on Saturday.
The push to amend policies prohibiting psychoactive mushrooms is the latest bold drug policy reform position for Yang, and is an intelligent positioning as 2019 has been a decisive year for psychedelic decriminalization efforts. In May, Denver voters approved a ballot measure making their city the first in the country to decriminalize psilocybin. The Oakland City Council soon followed by passing a resolution decriminalizing not only psychedelic mushrooms but also other entheogenic substances such as ibogaine, ayahuasca and mescaline.
The precedent set by these two major cities has spurred initiatives by activists in nearly 100 other U.S cities—including Chicago, Portland and Santa Cruz—to pursue similar far-reaching psychedelic reform measures. Meanwhile, Oregon activists are currently collecting signatures to place a measure on the state’s 2020 ballot that would legalize psilocybin for therapeutic use, and advocates in California are working to to more broadly legalize the psychoactive fungus on a statewide level.
Aside from policy reform, There have been a flurry of preliminary studies around Psilocybin, showing its safety and efficacy as a treatment for a host of psychological conditions. Some of these include depression, anxiety, OCD, addiction, and eating disorders. Moreover research and human clinical trials using psilocybin have been approved at multiple Ivy League Universities, including Harvard and Stanford.
Although Yang has previously said he doesn’t support removing criminal penalties for substances beyond marijuana, psychedelics, and opioids, However Yang says he would consider legalizing psilocybin for military veterans, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs currently won’t even allow its doctors to fill out recommendation forms for medical cannabis, including in states where its use is legal.