Legalizing the Journey: A Mushroom Defender’s Playbook

And a lot of people here are taking advantage of DC’s unique decriminalization rules. Microdosing mushrooms as a kind of performance-enhancing brain stimulation — already hugely popular among California techies — is now quite common in Washington, especially in media circles. Recreational use – macrodosing? – is not so rare either. If you want a completely legal psychedelic experience, you can stop by Field Trip on 15th Street NW, where licensed therapists treat PTSD, depression, and other mental health issues with psychedelic-assisted therapy using ketamine.

Much of the new curiosity about psychedelics has been sparked by Michael Pollan’s 2018 book, “How to Change Your Mind: What the New Science of Psychedelics Teaches Us About Consciousness, Death, Addiction, depression and transcendence”. (The book has now been turned into a show on Netflix.) In other circles, Joe Rogan’s mushroom podcasts have sparked an outpouring of interest.

The Department of Veterans Affairs is currently conducting clinical trials with psilocybin, the drug found in psychedelic mushrooms, to treat mental health issues. And The Intercept reported this week that in a recent letter to Rep. Madeleine Dean (D-Pa.), the Biden administration revealed that the FDA is likely to approve the use of psilocybin to treat depression during of the next two years.

But cities and states are one step ahead of the federal government. There are movements in over two dozen states to study, decriminalize, or outright legalize mushrooms and other psychedelics. With many veterans as the face of the movement, it’s happening in blue states like California, New York, and Vermont, as well as red states like Utah, Kansas, and Florida.

The epicenter of this movement, as was the case with the legalization of cannabis, is Colorado, where voters will decide in November whether to approve the Natural Medicine Health Act of 2022, which would create regulated “healing centers” by the state where anyone over the age of 21 could receive psilocybin-assisted therapy.

It’s safe to say that we’re on the cusp of a new frontier in drug legalization, and within the next few years psychedelics will be as readily available in cities and states across the country as they are now in DC. And most politicians are heaven. I haven’t even begun to think about what their position should be on this issue.

On this week’s episode of Playbook Deep Dive, Ryan traveled to Littlejohn, Colorado and sat down with Veronica Lightning Horse Perez, the Colorado Mushroom Campaign Co-Head. They talked about how psychedelics helped her deal with her mental health issues, what it’s like to undergo psychedelic therapy with mushrooms and ayahuasca, and her own journey to becoming the unlikely political activist at the forefront of mushroom legalization.


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