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New Article on How Biden Administration Should Respond to State Psilocybin Legalization

Posted by on Wednesday, June 16, 2021 in News, Updates.

On April 30, 2021, the Illinois Law Review posted a wonderful collection of essays commenting on President Biden’s First 100 Days. Contributors covered a variety of topics. The full collection of essays is available here.

Jason Mazzone graciously asked me to lend my voice to the volume, and I decided to advise the Biden Administration on how it should respond to a new drug reform being considered by the states (and already passed by one): the legalization of psilocybin, the psychedelic found in so-called magic mushrooms. Here’s the link to my piece (like all the essays, it is short):

Robert A. Mikos, We Need a Cole Memorandum for Magic Mushrooms, 2021 U. Ill. L. Rev. Online: Biden 100 Days 87

As the title of my contribution suggests, I urge the Biden Administration DOJ to adopt a conditional non-enforcement policy toward state psilocybin reforms, similar to the non-enforcement policy the Obama Administration adopted toward state marijuana reforms. (That earlier policy was delineated in a document known as the Cole memorandum.)

Here’s the abstract for my piece:

In fall 2020, as the nation elected Joe Biden to be our Forty-Sixth President, Oregon voters also passed a noteworthy new drug law reform. Known as Measure 109, Oregon’s path-breaking law legalizes the use of psilocybin, a hallucinogenic substance found in magic mushrooms. Measure 109 is designed to unlock the therapeutic potential of psilocybin, which advocates tout as an effective and safe treatment for depression and other psychological conditions. President Biden has yet to disclose how his Administration will respond to Measure 109. But as we mark the 100th day of the Biden Presidency, let me offer the Administration some friendly advice: decline to prosecute anyone that participates in Oregon’s nascent psilocybin program, as long as Oregon keeps the program under tight control. To make the case for tolerating Measure 109, I draw upon lessons learned from the federal government’s response to state marijuana reforms over the past twenty-five years. That experience demonstrates that attempting to quash state drug reforms is unlikely to succeed and might even prove counterproductive and that tolerating such reforms better serves the interests of the federal government.

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