A GOP member of the Iowan House of Representatives has introduced a bill to allow individuals diagnosed with a terminal illness to seek hallucinogenic drug treatment. The legislation would authorize the use of DMT, LSD, mescaline-containing cacti, psilocybin, and MDMA for such patients.
Representative Jeff Shipley told the cannabis legislative experts over at Marijuana Moment that the bill would constitute, “the most conservative approach to usher in the new age of mental and emotional healthcare.”
In 2016, the FDA-approved NYU Psilocybin Cancer Anxiety Project found that 80 percent of cancer patients who took psilocybin felt sustained improvements in anxiety and depression, even some seven months after their treatment. 90 percent of the study’s patients also said that the treatment improved life satisfaction.
“I now have the distinct sense that there’s so much more,” cancer patient and recipient of psilocybin treatment Lauri Reamer told the New York Times. “So many different states of being. I have the sense that death is not the end but just part of a process, a way of moving into a different sphere, a different way of being.”
Shipley’s HB 480 would make the drugs available under the supervision of a medical professional to patients that have considered and rejected, or unsuccessfully tried, other FDA-approved treatment options.
The 30-year-old Iowan politician says that he wishes he, “had more time to devote to the psychedelic sciences.”
Certainly, he’s doing what he can to widen access to these drugs in the political arena. Shipley has been filing bills to get psilocybin removed from the state’s list of controlled substances since 2019 (when he introduced legislation to legalize the medicinal use of psilocybin, MDMA, and ibogaine.)
Earlier this month he introduced House File 459, a terse piece of legislation laser focused on removing psilocybin from the controlled substances list.
That bill is currently under consideration by the public safety committee.
In 2016, the Iowa Democratic Party added “legalizing all drugs” to its platform as a means of de-escalating the War on Drugs. Two years later, that language was changed to favor decriminalization and record expungement of non-violent drug offenses.
Nonetheless, Shipley has even faced opposition on his psilocybin and other drug-focused measures from his peers from across the aisle. In 2019, an Iowa Statehouse Progressive Network legislative update falsely accused his proposal of being an attempt to legalize the date rape drug GHB.
Such misinformation may be combated by the creeping wave of mushroom legalization and decriminalization that has started in several jurisdictions in the United States.
In 2019, Denver voters opted to decriminalize hallucinogenic mushrooms. It was the opening shot of a new movement — there are now more than 100 cities that have sought to pass similar laws, and six that have successfully decriminalized possession of magic fungi (Oakland, Santa Cruz, Ann Arbor, Washington, D.C., Somerville and Cambridge.) Oregon became the first state to legalize medicinal psilocybin via a ballot measure in the November election.
Shipley wants Iowa to be part of this movement. “When I was kind of daydreaming on like, ‘Why do I even want to be in the Legislature, why do I want to be a part of the office?’ It was this issue,” he told the Des Moines Register. "When you introduce legislation, people start taking it more seriously.”
Follow Caitlin Donohue on Instagram.