Psilocybin[a] (/?sa?l?’sa?b?n/ sy-l?-SY-bin) is a naturally occurring psychedelic prodrug compound produced by more than 200 species of mushrooms, collectively known as psilocybin mushrooms. Imagery found on prehistoric murals and rock paintings of modern-day Spain and Algeria suggests that human usage of psilocybin mushrooms predates recorded history. In Mesoamerica, the mushrooms had long been consumed in spiritual and divinatory ceremonies before Spanish chroniclers first documented their use in the 16th century. (Wikipedia)
World’s Safest Medicine
Drugs expert Dr David Nutt says psychedelics are “among the safest drugs we know of. It’s virtually impossible to die from an overdose of them; they cause no physical harm; and if anything they are anti-addictive, as they cause a sudden tolerance which means that if you immediately take another dose it will probably have very little effect.” The greatest danger is in picking the wrong mushroom and ingesting it, thus the need for education not Prohibition.
His paper Drug harms in the UK: A multi-criterion decision analysis found that even at high doses psilocybin is 3½ times more safe than Cannabis, which DEA once called “one of the safest therapeutically active substances known to man.”
And with the most-common mode of use, micro doses or sub-psychoactive amounts, it has no harm and is 20 times safer than Cannabis.
Micro doses do not impair mental functioning nor do they create family adversities, in fact just the opposite for both. Already safer than Cannabis, remove those harms and psychedelics are profoundly safe, even safer than this chart reveals; as much as 20 times safer than Cannabis and 72 times safer than alcohol.
From Dr Nutt in Psychedelic drugs—a new era in psychiatry?: “We cannot finish a review of the psychological effects of psychedelics without mentioning microdosing. 51 – 53 This has become a topic of general discussion, especially in people working in the creative industries, many of whom claim to use low, ie, subpsychedelic doses, of psilocybin or LSD to aid their mental processes. Some claim that this helps with their mood and may keep depression at bay. These doses are taken regularly, usually a couple of times a week.”
Yet Psilocybin Still Schedule 1
Psilocybin, like Cannabis, is a Schedule 1 controlled substance, therefore everyone involved is exposed to RICO and CCE felony enhancements, plus asset forfeiture and civil RICO suits. That’s just federal law, in the state of Oregon it is 10 years and $100,000 fine simply for possession. If you have a prior felony or drug charge, are within 1,000 feet of a school, have more than 12 grams of mushrooms, have guns or scales, or if you modified the structure in any way you get hit with enhanced penalties including loss of drivers license. Plus state Commercial Drug Offense charges. All just because it is still Schedule 1 in the state, never mind federally. (Viva the Tenth Amendment, the only reason there are marijuana states like Oregon. Psilocybin is NOT covered by the UN’s Single Convention treaty on Narcotic Drugs, thus legal per international drug treaty.)
Schedule 1 means our best and brightest can’t work for Wall St type firms, because Schedule 1 is an automatic SEC moral turpitude trigger. Banking and insurance are very difficult and expensive. Bank accounts, vehicles, house and property can be forfeited to the government à la Miami Vice. It subjects the family to arrest and loss of children to foster homes and or the threat thereof as bargaining leverage. Federal and state money laundering plus conspiracy charges are possible, and businesses can’t deduct expenses (IRS 280E).
Just like we see with marijuana enforcement, the Supreme Court will never see a case to decide the legality as the standard procedure now is for the prosecutor to over-charge the crimes and seize assets now, in order to force a plea deal. The overwhelming power of the state will be used to keep SCOTUS from ever seeing a case. Even in a “legal” marijuana state like Denver, Colorado, a patient growing just one plant outdoors in a fenced and locked greenhouse could result in asset forfeiture of their house.
Oregon’s Initiative #34
Thus, considering the profound safety and advantages of using micro doses of psilocybin and the onerous laws against possessing it, the recent move to allow this medicine for only a few is puzzling. Oregon’s Initiative #34 (IP34) is one example, it doesn’t legalize psilocybin except for registered practitioners. It will remain Schedule 1 in the state and federally for everyone else.
Clinicians healing people using psychedelics is a worthy and noble goal, with thousands of years of shamanic precedence. Hallelujah, more power to you. Do it a million times over, that’s a great use of psilocybin. You have my complete support. However, don’t keep the worlds safest medicine Schedule 1 for the rest of us. That’s just not right, fair, or equitable. If they’re going to spend a million bucks to legalize in a state with only 2.2 million voters and already positive towards the issue, shouldn’t it actually legalize for more than a handful of people?
Not every adult needs nor wants epic doses and hand-holding by psychiatrists in a clinical setting. Psilocybin’s greatest utility is with micro doses. No one needs to risk jail over this safest of drugs, 100% natural. IP34 is predicated on the lie of Schedule 1, pretending it’s a dangerous drug with no medical value and high potential for abuse. But in fact it is not a dangerous drug, that’s just the Prohibitionists talking.
IP34 is an infinitesimally small baby step towards legalizing the world’s safest medicine, which grows wild in the forest and fields. It rewards only a few while ensuring no competition from the rest of us. It ignores the biggest development in psychedelics in the last few years, that of micro dosing. It creates a new mushroom eradication industry. It has no HIPAA protections for patients, and requires one to register to handle and use a Schedule 1 controlled substance from the same government which keeps it Schedule 1, a Fifth Amendment violation.
Oregon has a history of progressive action on controlled substances, going back to 1973 when it was the first state to decriminalize possession of small amounts of marijuana. That Tenth Amendment action was taken against the then-recently-enacted federal Controlled Substances Act.
IP34 follows in the footsteps of successful, city-level votes in Denver and Oakland, California. The Mile High City was among the first in the U.S. to decriminalize psilocybin— amending city law to make possession, personal use and cultivation of the substance for adults 21 and older the “city’s lowest law-enforcement priority,” a tactic which protected users better than today’s style of “legalization” in Denver. It also bans the city government from using funds to impose criminal penalties against adults for low-level psilocybin offenses. California’s proposed initiative is far better than IP34.
As we see in this article on poll results, Measure 12 (the predecessor to IP34) to “legalize” psilocybin in January 2019 before any education had 48% support 18 months ago. When the question was framed “Do you support or oppose creating lawful access in Oregon to therapeutic psilocybin services at licensed facilities under the supervision and care of licensed facilitators?” support jumped to 64%. When the question was framed “Do you support or oppose reducing existing criminal penalties for the unlawful manufacture, possession, and delivery of psilocybin?” support was 54%.
The survey also listed a number of arguments in favor of the measure, asking respondents to pick the three they found most compelling. The most commonly chosen responses were that psilocybin can treat end-of-life anxiety and depression, replace many treatments pushed by Big Pharma companies, and help individuals suffering from addictions like alcoholism. Clearly Oregon voters are receptive to properly-marketed campaign to decriminalize mushrooms once and for all, not just hand it over to a select few.
None of the questions mentioned the issue’s strongest points: sub-psychoactive micro dosing, and that it is the world’s safest medicine. For any campaign marketer selling a better legalization initiative would be a walk in the park, the world’s easiest gig. Even the promoter knows it; one said “support rises significantly when people know what is actually in the initiative, which means that educating the public is critical.”
IP34 is being championed by professional therapists Thomas and Sheri Eckert of Northeast Portland. They secured state approval for the initiative’s language and title last year, but decided to make several significant changes. The founders admit they are not trying to legalize psilocybin. Thomas Eckert said successful psilocybin decriminalization efforts in Denver and Oakland haven’t had much effect on their measure “because it’s not what we’re doing. We are working to legalize psilocybin-assisted therapy,” he said.
Baby Steps + Monopoly
This is “baby steps and a monopoly to a handful of corporations” versus “actual legalization for the people of the world’s safest medicine growing wild and freely everywhere.” Voters are fed-up with the whole notion of criminalizing safe, nontoxic natural things like mushrooms. Partnering with the state so that a Schedule 1 controlled substance is allowed for only a very small group of investors and “right people” is the new “legalization.” Just like “legal marijuana,” drug laws are used to keep competitors at bay and make gobs of money, a monopoly enabled by the government creating artificial scarcity. They allow others to go to jail to prop up the lie of “legalization.”
Why? To protect people from a harmful controlled substance? No, simply for asset forfeiture. That’s the New Normal. Since it’s still Schedule 1, they’ll seize cars, houses, and cash but not actually file charges against the owner. That way they’ll make money and a higher court will never see a case, thereby blocking court appeals, ad infinitum. A court will never have to rule on the blatant unconstitutionality of it. It’s a sweet racket, and all enabled by the Controlled Substances Act and Schedule 1.
Descheduling psilocybin in Oregon would send a powerful message to the Federal that Schedule 1 for psilocybin is now unconstitutional, just like Prop 215 did in 1996 for marijuana. FDA has no jurisdiction over wholly intRAstate activities not in the Constitution such as the mushrooms you picked in the forest down the road from your house, and states have the right to decide what is medicine and medical treatments.
Instead, Oregon could simply deschedule as a 10th Amendment challenge to the hegemony of the federal government, just like it and every marijuana state is today. It also doesn’t mandate reporting to the federal that it has in fact found medical value in psilocybin and low potential of abuse, both of which are required to remove it from Schedule 1. If no state ever declares to the federal that it found medical value and low abuse potential, then it will not be descheduled federally. That’s the predicament the marijuana states find themselves in today; despite 47 states having some form of Cannabis reform, none have so communicated that important fact to the federal. The states absolutely have a seat at the table, it is after all, the United STATES of America which comprise the federal.
One of the last Nixon Dirty Tricks we still suffer today is the Controlled Substances Act and adding marijuana and psychedelics to Schedule 1, then Congress allowing it despite him burying the Shafer Commission report recommending decriminalization of Cannabis federally. Cannabis is one of the most-studied plants in history, and even federal government-run PubMed lists 33,535 studies, going back to 1840. Entheogens like psilocybin have been used as medicine for millennia, including today. Psilocybin is exempt from the UN’s Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs treaty underlying all drug laws, ceding national sovereignty to the UN.
If IP34 wins then it takes wind out of the sails for a better one in Oregon, you’ll be stuck with study-only for two years for the benefit of just a handful just like many hemp programs were unfairly burdened in the years 2014-8. IP34 will set the tone for subsequent states and the federal policies regarding the world’s safest drug. That’s why it is important to get started on the right foot. Nearly 100 cities are considering decriminalizing psychedelics.
Opens Door to Corporate Takeover and Corruption
IP34 proponents say that the measure is designed to block corporate interests, but they said that about AUMA as well. Only after a few years did the facts became clear: 10% of all marijuana licenses are in the hands of just 5 corporations. Ninety-percent of all the regulated marijuana in the state is grown in only 20% of the counties, enouragin large corporate farms. As we’ve seen in other marijuana states, it has only served to provide cover for wholesale turnover of the industry to corporate interests and rich white investors like John Boehner. It was a sham. Several are even large publicly-traded multi-state operators, some of the largest in the world. The same can happen under psilocybin regulation.
In fact, one of the funders of IP34 has a “plan to build out the world’s first network of medical centres focused exclusively on psychedelic-enhanced psychotherapy.” In other words, a multi-national for-profit corporation.
The New York bill to deschedule psilocybin but not the active ingredient psilocin is not unlike the marijuana situation: even in “legal marijuana” states, THC at the least (sometimes also the plant) is still Schedule 1. While the New York bill is portrayed as a sell-out to Big Pharma, has Big Pharma started selling cannabinoid products in “legal” states? No.
Additionally, as we saw in the marijuana industry in many states, regulation breeds corruption. See here, here, here, here, here, here, here, and here for just a small sampling. Even in the less-regulated hemp industry, a few states had corrupt regulators and officials. It’s inevitable there will be corruption in the psilocybin space if it is regulated, and the more tightly it is regulated, the more corruption will occur. There’s a reason we never read of corruption in the unregulated zucchini or basil industries.
The only hedge against corporate interests is allowing people the freedom to grow their own mushrooms, safely, cheaply, easily, and legally. A new regulatory bureaucracy is not needed for the world’s safest medicine. Regulate Like Blueberries, that’s how to keep Big Pharma and foreign corporations out of it.
If someone mentions gang involvement in psilocybin, ask them why? It’s not like marijuana which is hard to grow; anyone can do it at home with no equipment, fast, easy, cheap and stealthy. Or even forage for it in the forest and fields like people have for millennia. Gangs with grow houses and thousands of plants are simply not needed, nor could the market possibly support it; after all “micro” dosing doesn’t require much, milligrams (1/1000 of a gram, or 1/28350 of an ounce) will do.
A huge flaw in AUMA was the state’s failure to deschedule. As noted above, Schedule 1 exposes us to huge penalties for simple possession, both criminal and civil, as well as a host of other problems. Private transfer of psilocybin should be legal, as should all aspects of possession and production. You want to sell packaged products in a retail location? That’s between you and the retailer, the state doesn’t need to get involved or levy high taxes.
What To Expect After IP34
This video is a taste of what to expect if you grow mushrooms of ANY kind in Oregon after IP34 passes. As we see in Colorado, some of the tax derived from it will go to busting the unregistered competition. Rogue narcs will have a new mission and as we see here FBI agents will slander your name to your neighbors, trying to turn them against you. This legal morel mushroom farmer appears to have enough to get 20 years in prison and $1 million fine if it were psilocybin simply because it is still Schedule 1.
Although arrest numbers for psilocybin are currently low, that could easily change with the notoriety of IP34. Asset forfeiture could become the new Wack-a-Shroom Game, just like it did with marijuana in “legal” states. It encourages federal and state grants for eradication of mushrooms in the wild and in people’s homes and yards, detection kits for “shroom grows” and drivers high on them, narcs soliciting them for busts, “Shroom Narcs” dressed as wooks, and the like.
They are trying to implement only a medical model for psilocybin, leveraging the canard that “Shrooms” are bad for you like they did with marijuana (Cannabis is still Schedule 1 in California). Voters are so desperate for ending the War on Drugs they’ll vote for any crappy bill put in front of them, and these guys are banking on it… literally.
A heavy or punitive regulatory system is just not needed; let’s not kid ourselves, Shrooms aren’t any more dangerous than water, air, tobacco, alcohol, or distracted driving are. Tens of thousands die annually from drowning or drinking too much water and SCUBA divers can die from air embolism, yet water and air are unscheduled. By comparison, neither Cannabis nor Psilocybin has killed even one person. Regulating it to protect public safety is simply an old, tired canard.
Prohibitionists inevitably point to the extreme of some idiot doing something idiotic under the influence, but that’s only because people show who they really are when consuming. Don’t blame the mirror for the reflection, people do stupid things every day even without drugs. Driving? It should be performance-based anyway, not blood-based. Having done it before I would not drive on psychedelics, but it all depends on the dose. “All things are poison, and nothing is without poison; the dosage alone makes it so a thing is not a poison”– Paracelsus. With micro doses, one might even be a quantifiably better driver.
IP34 doesn’t acknowledge that some will use micro vs epic doses. Psychedelics aren’t just for major mental health breakthroughs and healing, they have other uses no less important to the patient. I’m an adult capable of deciding what to put in my body and the state has botched drugs policy for over 83 years, resulting in many deaths and much suffering.
The same doctors dedicated to giving us one ineffective and dangerous pharmaceutical after another will be in charge of the psilocybin program in Oregon. The same state cool with locking us up for 5 years for Shrooms will now write the clinician program. And they allow no patients under age 21, apparently compassion for the ill has a minimum age.
How to commercialize it? That’s not our concern. Let the vaunted free market figure out how to commercialize the world’s safest medicine. Plaintiff lawyers stand ready to keep them honest. I would start by registering as a commercial food processor, and take it from there. While DEA has bigger fish to fry, FBI and local cops don’t.
To assure the future of Psilocybin, look to the past; in 1972 Californians voted on Proposition 19, the California Marijuana Initiative. It was stunning in its simplicity: “Proposition 19 would have legalized the personal use, possession, and manufacture of marijuana by adults in the state of California. It would not have affected existing laws against sales, other commercial activities, and dangerous behavior. The official ballot summary stated that the measure ‘Removes state penalties for personal use. Proposes a statute which would provide that no person eighteen years or older shall be punished criminally or denied any right or privilege because of his planting, cultivating, harvesting, drying, processing, otherwise preparing, transporting, possessing or using marijuana. Does not repeal existing, or limit future, legislation prohibiting persons under the influence of marijuana from engaging in conduct that endangers others.’” Regulatory schemes so the wealthy can get wealthier at our expense are not necessary, but not putting people in jail is.
As with all other drug laws, IP34 is more about money, monopoly, and control than responsibility, safety and freedom. Better to deschedule psychedelics and entheogens, allow no budget to enforce any laws against them, and officially make them the lowest priority enforcement for police in the state.
Learn from every marijuana state’s many failures, and don’t do the same to psilocybin. It is too important of a tool to just give away to the Ferengis.
It’s a righteous cause, don’t compromise. Enforcement is a waste of public resources and it perpetuates the Nixon lie of Schedule 1 for psychedelics only because it was one of the drugs of choice of war protestors.
The impacts on society will be substantially net positive if Oregon decriminalizes it the true sense of the word, like zucchini or basil or blueberries:
verb: cease to treat something as illegal or as a criminal offense.
Power concedes nothing without a demand. Now is not the time for timid, milquetoast actions. Boldness has genius, power, and magic in it. Even God lends a hand to honest boldness. Be bold. It’s not 1995 anymore.
“Was the body government to prescribe to us our medicine and diet, our bodies would be in such keeping as our souls are now.”