Magic mushrooms are now the lowest priority of law enforcement in Denver, and soon Oregon might vote to legalize psilocybin therapy.

In this New York Times article, How to Change Your Mind author and UCal communications professor Michael Pollan hypothesizes that ballot initiatives might not be the smartest avenue to harness the therapeutic benefits of psychedelics:

I look forward to the day when psychedelic medicines like psilocybin, having proven their safety and efficacy in F.D.A.-approved trials, will take their legal place in society, not only in mental health care but in the lives of people dealing with garden-variety unhappiness or interested in spiritual exploration and personal growth.

My worry is that ballot initiatives may not be the smartest way to get there. We still have a lot to learn about the immense power and potential risk of these molecules, not to mention the consequences of unrestricted use. It would be a shame if the public is pushed to make premature decisions about psychedelics before the researchers have completed their work. There is, too, the risk of inciting the sort of political backlash that, in the late 1960s, set back research into psychedelics for decades. Think of what we might know now, and the suffering that might have been alleviated, had that research been allowed to continue.

Michael pollan

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