Iowa Lawmaker Pushing for Psychedelic Rescheduling, Legalization

We caught up with Rep. Jeff Shipley of Iowa to talk about his push to reschedule and regulate medicinal psychedelics.
Psychedelic Use Linked to Increased Well-Being, Says Pioneering Study
Shutterstock/ Nigel Wallace

An Iowa state lawmaker who introduced two bills to legalize psilocybin last week says that research shows that there is potential for the medical use of magic mushrooms and other hallucinogenic drugs. Rep. Jeff Shipley, a Republican who began his first term in the Iowa House of Representatives last month, said in a press release that the medical use of psilocybin, MDMA, and ibogaine should not be illegal.

“I believe an Iowan should not be criminalized for trying to use psychedelic substances for medicinal purposes,” Shipley said. “The DEA currently identifies Psilocybin, MDMA, and Ibogaine as schedule I drugs, meaning they have no accepted medical use and high potential for abuse. A significant body of research indicates that there are substantial medical benefits.”

The bills sponsored by Shipley are House File 248 and House File 249, which he introduced on February 6. H.F. 248 would remove psilocybin and psilocin from the list of schedule I controlled substances under Iowa’s uniform controlled substances act. H.F. 249 would allow the Iowa Board of Pharmacy to reclassify ibogaine, MDMA, and psilocybin as controlled substances for medicinal purposes. The bill also removes statutory penalties when these substances are utilized for medicinal purposes pursuant to the rules of the board.

Shipley said that the drugs show promise in the treatment of a variety of ailments.

“If these drugs can help our veterans who suffer with PTSD, our family members who suffer with an addiction, or help a loved one get relief from near death anxiety, we should be doing all we can to push making these options safe and available,” he said.

The representative noted that the drugs could be superior to other treatments, which in many cases do not address the cause of medical problems.

“Current tools offered through the FDA offer treatment of symptoms associated with addiction, anxiety, depression, PTSD, and other mental health issues,” said Shipley. “Psychedelics offer a potential cure.  I support research for what these drugs may offer. In the meantime, I don’t see how putting a person in jail serves the public. Especially when it empowers them to help themselves.”

Bill Also Removes Cannabis from Schedule I

H.F. 249 would also remove “marijuana or tetrahydrocannabinols or chemical derivatives of tetrahydrocannabinol when utilized for medicinal purposes” from Iowa’s list of schedule I controlled substances. Shipley told High Times in a telephone interview that despite Iowa’s limited medical marijuana program, which only allows CBD products, cannabis is still listed under schedule I.

“In Iowa, we still have a lot of room for improvement in our medical program and it is still technically schedule I in our Iowa code so we threw that in there for good measure,” he said.

Both bills sponsored by Shipley have been referred to the House Public Safety Committee for consideration. Also last week, Iowa state Sen. Joe Bolkcom announced that he intends a bill to legalize the recreational use of cannabis.

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