Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) was asked in a recent interview whether his Medicare for All plan could be expanded to provide psilocybin mushrooms for all for want it.
The question was posed by a Bernie Sanders impersonator.
In a comical exchange between the two “Bernies,” which was released on Thursday, the pretend version of the senator went through various policy proposals from the actual presidential candidate, eventually landing on his health care plan.
“You are obviously a prominent advocate of Medicare for All,” the impressionist, James Adomian, said. “Do you think that there’s a way that that could be expanded to a pilot program for psilocybin mushrooms for all…who want it. Maybe that’s a program people could opt out of.”
Watch Sanders get asked about psilocybin mushrooms, starting at about 4:40 into the video below:
Sanders, a 2020 Democratic presidential candidate, laughed at the suggestion, but didn’t commit.
While a magic mushroom pilot program might not be on the table at this point, a top campaign aide did say last month that the senator is open to covering medical cannabis through his health care plan. The issue came up during an interview about Sanders’s latest marijuana legalization proposal.
The senator, who was the first major presidential candidate to call for marijuana legalization during his 2016 run, hasn’t been especially vocal about psychedelics reform, despite a growing movement calling for the decriminalization or legalization of the substances.
Broader drug policy reform was raised during the same earlier interview with the campaign staffer, with Intercept reporter Ryan Grim asking whether Sanders had plans to loosen federal restrictions of psychedelics such as psilocybin mushrooms or LSD. Josh Orton, Sanders’s national policy director, didn’t directly answer the question, though.
“The first goal here was to undo the vicious consequences of the war on drugs and most specifically how marijuana has been used not just in a policing context but also in a drug testing context to prevent people from getting public benefits,” Orton replied. “I think right now the focus, and Bernie’s focus, has been to make sure we address the racial justice issue and undo the harm that the war on drugs as it’s related to marijuana especially has wrought.”
It was an honor to talk to myself. https://t.co/UW7ImFAcMO
— Bernie Sanders (@BernieSanders) November 21, 2019
While some presidential candidates such as South Bend, Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg and Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI) have voiced support for decriminalizing all drugs, and entrepreneur Andrew Yang has called for opioid decriminalization, Sanders has said on multiple occasions that he’s “not there yet” on removing criminal penalties for drugs beside cannabis.
Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY), however, one of the senator’s main supporters and surrogates, did recently come out in favor of broad drug decriminalization, and has spoken specifically about decriminalizing the personal use of psychedelics.
Photo courtesy of Facebook/Bernie Sanders.