Although psychedelic reform is not a top priority for President Joe Biden’s administration, advocates are optimistic that with the new administration, there might some new policy changes that will decriminalize MDMA, psilocybin, and other psychedelics at the federal level.
Number of states and counties decriminalizing psychedelics growing
Over the years, advocates for psychedelics use have focused on local initiatives, and in last year’s election, Oregon became the first state to decriminalize all drugs and legalize psilocybin therapy. On the other hand, Washington decriminalized all fungi- and plant-based psychedelics. California State senator Scott Weiner has also come up with a draft bill for the decriminalization of psychedelics. Equally, four Hawaii senators have introduced a psilocybin therapy bill. Several other states and cities are also working to decriminalize psychedelics through city council or ballot initiatives.
According to New Amsterdam Psychedelics Law blog author Noah Potter, psychedelics activism is following the same model the cannabis movement followed. As a result, there is no need to overreach to have psychedelics decriminalized federally when an initiative can start at local government. With this, psychedelic advocates are optimistic that the federal government might move towards ending psychedelic prohibition. Potter says that with Oregon legalizing medical psilocybin, the next US attorney general, likely to be Merrick Garland, could issue a memo for the decriminalization of psilocybin.
DEA could be pushed to schedule a hearing regarding psilocybin
Similarly, with psilocybin showing the potential of being a medical therapy, the DEA is likely to schedule hearings regarding its classification under the Controlled Substances Act. It is likely that following Oregon’s new law, someone can petition the DEA to hold hearings to consider declassification of psilocybin as a controlled substance.
For now, the concern for most psychedelics activists is whether the Biden administration will interfere with the city, county, and state-level psychedelic reforms. However, SPORE founder Kevin Matthews doesn’t feel there will be any interference. For instance, since Denver decriminalized psychedelics in 2019, the DEA has stayed out of the area, except for one instance, which involved a magic mushroom dealer that recklessly publicized his growth.