An Iowa Republican lawmaker introduced an amendment to a budget bill last week that would have removed psilocybin and psilocyn from the state’s list of prohibited substances, but it was shot down.
Rep. Jeff Shipley (R), who previously filed legislation last year to legalize psilocybin mushrooms and MDMA for medical use, said during a House floor debate that his new measure would remove the threat of criminal penalties for people interested in exploring these psychedelics for therapeutic purposes.
Another lawmaker said that while he appreciated Shipley’s “zest” and “zeal,” he questioned the germaneness of including the amendment as part of a budget bill. The presiding officer agreed and said the measure “is not germane” before allowing a vote on a motion to suspend the rules and move the amendment.
The House ultimately rejected the proposal in a 17-76 vote.
“The broad bipartisan support of both rural Christians and inner city progressives proves that psilocybin is the issue that can heal our politically fractured society,” Shipley told Marijuana Moment on Monday. “These reforms are needed immediately to create the healing our country is desperate for.”
During his speech on the amendment, the lawmaker said he was introducing it because “our world is hurting. Humanity—our collective pain, generational traumas, are oozing and festering across our globe.”
“I suspect this could be, in part, because the fact our governing institutions have outlawed, prohibited, naturally occurring healing tools,” he said. “In this chamber, we’re great at writing laws, adding new sections of code—rarely do we eliminate laws or revisit laws that we’ve passed.”
“Psilocybin, I sincerely believe, could open up Iowa to a whole new world of health and healing, revolutionizing our healthcare, revolutionizing mental health, where right now we have a system of treatments where a person has to take a pill, a synthetic pharmaceutical for an indefinite period of time, maybe for the rest of their life,” he added. “These treatments, at best, make a person’s symptoms manageable.”
“Modern pharmacology only alleviates and masks symptoms, rather than actual healing,” he said. “This amendment to decriminalize psilocybin would offer an actual cure to diseases afflicting society and give people freedom from a life dependent on synthetic pharmaceuticals.”
While Shipley is unique as an advocate for psychedelics reform in that he’s a Republican legislator, he’s not alone. There’s a growing movement at the local, state and federal levels across the country to change policies governing entheogenic substances.
In Congress, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) filed an amendment aimed at spurring research into psychedelics such as psilocybin and MDMA, but it was rejected by the House. The congresswoman later said she plans to introduce additional psychedelics reform legislation.
In the year since Denver became the first jurisdiction in the U.S. to decriminalize psilocybin—a move that was followed by a unanimous Oakland City Council vote to make a wide range of psychedelics among the lowest law enforcement priorities—activists in more than 100 cities have expressed interest in pursuing similar reforms.
In May, a New York lawmaker introduced a bill to decriminalize psilocybin mushrooms by removing the main active ingredient from the state’s list of controlled substances.
Activists in Oregon recently submitted signatures for an initiative to legalize psilocybin for therapeutic purposes that they hope will make it on the November ballot. In Washington, D.C., a campaign to decriminalize a wide range of entheogenic substances is also collecting signatures to put the issue before voters.
Photo courtesy of Wikimedia/Mushroom Observer.