Washington State Gov. Jay Inslee (D), a 2020 Democratic presidential candidate, says he is open to decriminalizing psychedelic mushrooms.
During an interview with CBS News Radio that was published on Thursday, Inslee first reiterated his support for marijuana legalization and claimed—not for the first time—that his state has the best cannabis in the country.
“This has been a very successful enterprise in Washington in legalizing marijuana, and I believe it’s time for the nation to legalize marijuana,” he said. “I think that the American people are ready for that.”
“As president, I would support legalization, and I think the American people are ahead of politicians on this dramatically, really across the country.”
Then the conversation turned to psychedelics reform.
Reporter Steve Dorsey mentioned that there are campaigns underway in Oregon and Denver to loosen restrictions on psilocybin, the active ingredient in psychedelic mushrooms. Denver voters will decide next month whether the city will decriminalize the substance, and activists in Oregon are collecting signatures to get a measure to legalize psilocybin for medical purposes on the state’s 2020 ballot.
He also played a clip of former Colorado governor John Hickenlooper, another 2020 Democratic candidate, arguing that criminalizing drugs in general “has not worked” and asked Inslee if he was open to decriminalizing psychedelic mushrooms.
“I would consider it. I haven’t had a chance to think about so I can’t give you a ‘yes’ or ‘no,'” Inslee said. “I do believe that our war on drugs has had all kinds of untoward effects and it’s one of the reasons that, for instance, not only have we legalized marijuana in Washington but I’ve offered pardons—I’m the first governor to offer pardons to several thousands people who have misdemeanor convictions on their records.”
Listen to Inslee discuss marijuana and mushrooms, about 3:30 into the audio clip below:
“I think we should always be open to consideration of issues and so I’ll have to do a little research,” he said, pledging to form an opinion by the next time he’s invited on the show.
Although Inslee opposed legalizing marijuana prior to its enactment by the voters of his state through a ballot measure in 2012, supporting the end of cannabis prohibition has seemingly become the minimum standard among Democratic presidential candidates in the current cycle. Now, lawmakers like Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ) are challenging opponents to not only embrace broad reform but also insist on marijuana legislation that contains social equity provisions.
And it appears that candidates will be increasingly pressed to weigh in on even more expansive drug policy reforms—decriminalizing psilocybin being one of them.
Marijuana Moment recently asked Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-OR), a longstanding champion of cannabis reform, what he thought about efforts to legalize psilocybin for medical purposes and otherwise decriminalize it in his state of Oregon.
Like Inslee, the congressman said he feels “strongly that we need to end the failed war on drugs” but that he’s “focusing on ending the failed policy of prohibition of cannabis.”
That said, “I respect people who have different priorities, it just doesn’t happen to be mine,” Blumenauer said.
Photo courtesy of Jay Inslee.