Is Weed Legalization the Gateway Drug to Psychedelic Legalization?

gateway drug
Aldous Slack

Aldous Slack

Aldous Slack is a pseudonym for a paranoid, anxious, musician, occultist, and traveling part-time writer. He likes sufi poetry and most gardens of earthly delight.
Aldous Slack

In the 1990’s the legalization of marijuana was still a literal pipe dream. The American consensus at the time categorized weed as drugs. The world wasn’t ready to admit it liked drugs, so we were told to drink booze, and coffee, and smoke cigarettes (obviously all drugs). Things have changed, some people have passed away, and society is at least a bit more reasonable about drug policies.

Now, marijuana is finally acting like a gateway drug to ‘harder stuff,’ where at least a couple states that have legalized the use of it, are discussing legalizing psilocybin containing mushrooms. According to the San Francisco Chronicle “A ballot measure could decriminalize psilocybin – known colloquially as “magic mushrooms” – in California as early as 2018. Filed at the state Attorney General office on Friday, the initiative would exempt adults aged 21 and over from criminal penalties for using, possessing, selling, transporting and cultivating psilocybin. ”

Though the likely-hood of such a ballot passing so soon is questionable, marijuana legalization went through and continues through similar lengthy struggles. The fine people of Oregon, not to be out liberalized by Californians, recently passed a bill de-felonizing possession of drugs, and according to Vice, “It may be legal to experience a spiritual or healing journey on magic mushrooms sooner than you think—if you live in the right part of America. A group called the Oregon Psilocybin Society is pushing for a 2020 ballot measure that would make the Beaver State the first in the nation to legalize psilocybin, the primary active ingredient in numerous species of psychedelic mushrooms, in a therapeutic setting.”

As already pointed out by Odin here at Disinfo, thanks to folks like Rick Doblin at MAPS, we may now be in a Psychedelic Renaissance . Again psychedelics are following in the path of marijuana. First we see a change in public perception, then we see promising research. Probably unsurprisingly for many Disinfonauts, mushrooms and ketamine are showing promise as treatments for depression. The BBC reports, “A hallucinogen found in magic mushrooms can “reset” the brains of people with untreatable depression, raising hopes of a future treatment, scans suggest.” Similarly, according to The Aspen Times, “As ketamine continues to see an increase in acceptance by the medical community, two local doctors have opened a clinic at Aspen Valley Hospital to administer the drug to patients with severe depression and other conditions.”

These are hard fought victories in a war for sane-drug policy and research that have taken decades to achieve. While the research is medically oriented, each positive result from studies on psychedelics becomes ammo for the arguments for legalization.

I may be overly optimistic, but the legalization of psychedelics for adults using them in ways that do not cause harm to others, seems to me to be inevitable. Even if it takes fifty years. Psychoactive drug use occurs in essentially all human societies and some intoxicants are more desirable in practically ever aspect than others. If we can manage these experiences with settings that can facilitate an enrichment of one’s sense of self and their society, we could have therapeutic controlled recreation far superior to the bar experience.

We deal with the repercussions of the availability and promotion of alcohol, why not psychedelics. We are getting to the point where our society is finally ready to have this conversation. Like Mckenna said, “Yet how can we explain the legal toleration for alcohol, the most destructive of all intoxicants, and the almost frenzied efforts to repress nearly all other drugs? Could it not be that we are willing to pay the terrible toll that alcohol extracts because it is allowing us to continue the repressive dominator style that keeps us all infantile and irresponsible participants in a dominator world characterized by the marketing of ungratified sexual fantasy?”

As we make ground on societal issues of equality and promoting non-dominating cooperative social structure, isn’t it likely that this reason and equality will eventually migrate into our drug laws. Leary used to say a cultures political views are reflective of their intoxicants of choice. If true, the societal changes we are going through now may be reflections of a re-popularizing of psychedelics and the normalizing and legalization of marijuana.

Do these sound like pipe dreams? Well, that’s historically how these things go. Let’s move forward with an awareness of the mistakes of the past, and as Doblin has said “The key is integrating into society, to avoid cultural backlash by becoming mainstream, not counterculture.” This conversation is beginning, and it won’t be going away any time soon. Need further proof, here’s a great article from mainstream culture on this very topic.