Tag: Measure 110

Proposed Federal Amendment Would Unleash Psychedelic Research

I’m old enough to remember some heartbreaking federal congressional votes on medical cannabis. The federal amendment prohibiting the federal government from prosecuting state-legal medical cannabis patients and providers took passed on the seventh attempt. While it’s easy to take for granted how far we’ve come and be impatient for the United States Senate to join their counterparts in the House in passing a bill to end federal prohibition, advocates may want to temper expectations a bit and practice patience, for their own sanity and to avoid burnout, if history is any guide. Double your mindfulness and meditation if you are expecting Congress to pass sensible psychedelics legislation, but thanks to Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, we’ve taken the first couple of steps on the journey. Marijuana Moment reported on AOC’s second filing of an amendment to allow federal funding of psychedelic research:

“Ocasio-Cortez’s proposal is especially notable given its focus on psychedelics—an issue that’s rarely been breached in Congress. Her measure would strike a longstanding rider, first enacted in 1996, that prohibits the use of federal funds for ‘any activity that promotes the legalization of any drug or other substance in Schedule I.’

“A description of the amendment clarifies that the intent is to allow ‘United States researchers to study and examine the potential impacts of several schedule I drugs, such as MDMA, psilocybin, and or ibogaine, that have been shown to be effective in treating critical diseases.’

“In 2019, a large majority of Democratic House members joined all but seven Republicans in a vote against an earlier version of the congresswoman’s amendment. But given the surge in state and local psychedelics reform efforts in the years since, it stands to reason that this Congress may take the issue more seriously.”

While it’s always disappointing to lose important votes, it’s all a part of the process towards educating legislators while changing the political calculations of elected officials by demonstrating public support, and most importantly, winning elections. Psychedelic research isn’t going to benefit the current special interests that fill up campaign coffers, so it’s going to take some time. Oregon voters passing Measure 109 to legalize therapeutic psilocybin therapy and Measure 110 to decriminalize personal possession of all drugs was a start, just as California kicked off a winning stretch for cannabis by passing the Prop 215 medical measure all the way back in 1996. As we win elections state by state, we can expect for those political victories and scientific advancements to resonate more forcefully throughout the halls of Congress.

No matter your kind of trip, to the mountains, river, high desert, or staying at home, Kind Leaf, Pendleton’s premier craft cannabis boutique, should be your first stop. We are proud of Oregonians leading the way and are looking forward to what the future holds for all of us as we all remember to be kind to one another.

California Psychedelics Legalization Bill Moves Forward with Changes

The legislative process is often compared to sausage making, something extremely messy and not something pleasant to watch. As a veteran of several lobbying efforts, I tend to agree, but it’s a necessary endeavor that, when done right, can improve and save lives. California Senate Bill 519, championed by Senator Scott Wiener, is a proposal followed very closely by Drug War reform advocates, so even though things can get ugly, we can’t take our eye off of another potential big swing against prohibition. After passing the full Senate, SB 519 has now cleared a major hurdle in the state’s General Assembly by passing the Committee on Health, but a few amendments have complicated matters on both legislative and activist fronts. Despite the complications, we can still count this progress as a win in our fight against prohibition.

Marijuana Moment covered important details on the landmark bill that would remove criminal penalties for adults 21 and over for the possession of many psychedelics such as psilocybin, DMT, LSD and MDMA:

“Now, as a result of changes approved by the latest panel, the bill includes language laying out the limits for what is an allowable personal possession amount for each substance. That’s led Decriminalize Nature (DN), a group that’s worked to enact psychedelics reform across the country, to call for the tabling of the legislation.


“As passed in committee on Tuesday, these are the prescribed limits for personal possession that would be legalized:

-2 grams of DMT

-15 grams of ibogaine

-0.01 grams of LSD

-4 grams of mescaline

-2 grams of the controlled substance psilocybin or 4 ounces of a plant or fungi containing the controlled substance psilocybin.

-2 grams of the controlled substance psilocyn or 4 ounces of a plant or fungi containing the controlled substance of psilocyn

-4 grams of MDMA.”

David Bronner, CEO of Dr. Bronner’s Magic Hemp Soaps, who is a major funder of drug reform efforts, including of Oregon Measures 91, 109, and 110, is urging advocates to not let the perfect be the enemy of the good and continue supporting SB 519. While I tend to defer to activists on the ground in the state at hand, I do wholeheartedly agree with Bronner. Holding up important legislation on the hope that a bill without any possession limits can pass is a risky proposition that will lead to more harmful arrests and convictions in the meantime. Such bills are also easy to demonize by opponents. For example, Oregon Measure 80 would have legalized an unlimited amount of cannabis in 2012, but voters rejected that initiative, but passed M91, which included limits, just two years later.

A sincere thanks to Senator Wiener and all of the activists doing the heavy lifting in the Golden State for Senate Bill 519. No matter what happens this legislative session, the progress thus far is really impressive and inspirational. This work will resonate forward and reverberate across state lines.

Kind Leaf continues to be proud of hardworking advocates looking to save and improve lives by moving away from the Drug War and towards a health-based approach.

Celebrate Oregon’s Cannabis Legalization Anniversary with Kind Leaf

It’s been 6 years since the great state of Oregon officially legalized cannabis for adults at least 21 years old and it’s been a wild ride with ups and downs and twist and turns, but Oregonians can be proud of our pioneering spirit creating more freedom, jobs, and revenue. The Beaver State has a long history of helping lead the nation away from Reefer Madness prohibition, starting with becoming the first state to decriminalize personal possession all the way back in 1973, being one of the early states to adopt medical and adult use laws, and now leading the charge against the failed Drug War with the passage of the landmark Measure 109 psilocybin therapy and Measure 110 drug decriminalization laws in 2020.

Each advancement helps set the stage for the next positive step and needless to say, Measure 110 wouldn’t have passed without the Measure 91 legalization law leading the way in 2014. While a few counties defacto legalized before July 1, 2015, with lead prosecutors announcing that they would follow the will of the voters early, the first day of July marks when the entire state officially ended prohibition within its borders.

Come celebrate Oregon’s cannabis legalization anniversary and stock up for your July 4th celebration at Kind Leaf, Pendleton’s premier craft cannabis boutique. At Kind Leaf, you get the best selection and you are supporting local small business that gives back to the community.

This week’s specials at Kind Leaf, until July 5th or supplies last (and please remember that there are always discounts for military veterans, OMMP patients, and senior citizens):


15% OFF – Paradise Circus and MAC

30% OFF – Tokyo Snow and Strawberry Cream

40% OFF – Charvak and DoggFace Prepacked Flower 1/8th


15% OFF – Gron Pips and Estaweeda Granola

30% OFF – Mule Kicker Gummy – Hella Melon, LOL Doob Cube – Mango and Happy Cabbage Hemp Tinctures


15% OFF – Quantum Alchemy Extracts

30% OFF – Bobsled Extracts, Willamette Valley Alchemy .5g Vapes and Shatters

40% OFF – Highland Provision .5g Live Rosin Vape – Lemon Royale


15% OFF – Epic Family Farm Packs Prerolls

30% OFF – Loyal Prerolls

While it is amazing to be able to legally purchase cannabis and other products, most importantly we have improved lives by ending thousands of harmful arrests and expunging criminal convictions. Just over a decade ago, nearly 15,000 people were being arrested and cited for cannabis, and now it’s less than 1,000. In 2010, there almost 30,000 people were arrested/cited for drug offenses, and now it’s less than 10,000 while that number will plummet even more thanks to the passage of Measure 110. Racial disparities in drug arrests have also decreased and our state has reallocated tens of millions of dollars away from investing in the prison-industrial complex to investing in our people, funding much-needed and life-saving treatment, harm reduction, and recovery programs.

There’s more work to be done to fully dismantle the Drug War and bring more equity and justice to the cannabis community, but we can take a moment to enjoy the gains that we’ve made. And as Oregonians celebrate the 6th year of legal cannabis, we are joined by Connecticut and Virginia who just became legal as well. Now, more than 40% of our nation live in states with legal cannabis. A sincere thanks to all advocates that are working to legalize freedom. Step by step, state by state, until we are all equal and free.

$302 Million in Oregon Cannabis Tax Revenue Set Aside for Drug Treatment, Harm Reduction, and Recovery Programs

“This is an opportunity for us to lead not only in our state but in the nation,” Oregon State Senator Floyd Prozanski.

As a pioneer in both cannabis and drug policy reforms, Oregon has been helping lead the rest of the nation since the becoming the first to decriminalize cannabis possession all the way back in 1973. As the third state to vote to end cannabis prohibition in 2014 and the first to end criminal punishments for personal drug possession in 2020, Oregonians are demonstrating like Portugal did over two decades ago, that the failed and harmful Drug War isn’t the only way, that a new approach is better; we can invest in people, instead of just more and more prisons. Following the passage of Measure 110 and its enacting legislation, Senate Bill 755, $302 million of the state’s cannabis tax revenue has been set aside for much-needed drug treatment, harm reduction, and recovery programs, over the next two years.

With $151 million a year going towards life-saving programs, the Oregon cannabis community can be proud to shop at local craft cannabis boutiques like Kind Leaf, knowing that your hard-earned money will be invested in improving lives. The Oregon Health Justice & Recovery Alliance, the coalition that spearheaded legislative efforts released a press release announcing the passage of SB 755:

Senate Bill 755, a bill that helps create and solidify a strong Measure 110 program, has passed both legislative chambers after a final vote today by the Oregon House of Representatives. The bill passed the House 39-15 and passed the Senate earlier this session 21-8. SB 755 received bipartisan support in both chambers.

SB 755 strengthens the Drug Addiction Treatment & Recovery Act by:

  • Creating access to lifesaving harm reduction and addiction recovery services in all 36 counties;
  • Streamlining processes for courts by sending verification of screening assessments electronically to the jurisdictional court;
  • Requiring that youth to be referred to the juvenile system for assessment and resources, rather than adult court;
  • Requiring the collection of data to better understand and address the needs of local communities; and
  • Designating a specific portion of Measure 110 grant funding to Tribes and other BIPOC communities most impacted by the War on Drugs.

As chief petitioner of the Measure 91 legalization law and one of the chief petitioners of Measure 110, I certainly have my biases, but Oregonians can be proud of taking a sledgehammer to the racist and classist War on Drugs. Our laws should be about people, not about the drugs. It’s easy to fearmonger, but in reality, what we want for our loved ones is a better policy than just arresting and jailing nonviolent drug users. I’m so proud that a majority of Oregon voters have seen through the smokescreen of prohibitionists and understand that providing treatment, harm reduction, and recovery services work more effectively than harmful criminal convictions.

I’m especially pleased that a specific portion of cannabis tax revenue is being allocated towards Indigenous Tribes, and the Black and Brown communities most harmed by the Drug War. It has warmed my heart reading about how the Miracles Club, Oregon’s only organization targeting the African American recovery community, has already received over $200,000 thanks to the passage of Measure 110. This first round of funding has allowed Miracles to hire three new peer mentors as well as additional support staff, with the goal of turning the center into Portland’s first full-scale treatment facility tailored to communities of color.

The Confederated Tribes of Grand Ronde, Centro Latino Americano, La Clinica, Yellowhawk Tribal Health, Black Mental Health Oregon, and Northwest Instituto Latino de Adicciones were also some of the recipients specializing in helping BIPOC who received grants in the first wave of Measure 110 funding. So many organizations, such as these and the Alano Club of Portland, Outside In, the Portland People’s Outreach Project, Bridges to Change, and Central City Concern, literally doing life-saving work, will now be able to help more people thanks to Measure 110 and Senate Bill 755.

When you hear of prohibitionists seeking to repeal Measure 110, know that they are advocating for thousands of unnecessary drug possession arrests that disproportionately target people of color and the poor. These prohibitionists, if they get their way, will be taking funding away from treatment, harm reduction, and recovery organizations and setting our tax dollars on fire by giving it to the prison-industrial complex instead. Oregon voters have helped lead the way towards ending the Drug War, but we must be vigilant to protect our gains. But, it’s okay to celebrate how far we have come.

When you shop at Kind Leaf, Pendleton’s premier craft cannabis boutique, you are getting the best selection of the best cannabis in the Great Northwest and supporting a small business that gives back to the local community. Come into our beautiful store or shop online via Leafly. Remember to check out our deals and know that we always provide discounts to military veterans, senior citizens, and OMMP patients.

New Federal Drug Decriminalization Bill Follows Oregon’s Lead

“Every 23 seconds, a person’s life is ruined for simply possessing drugs. Drug possession remains the most arrested offense in the United States despite the well-known fact that drug criminalization does nothing to help communities, it ruins them. It tears families apart, and causes trauma that can be felt for generations. The drug war has caused mass devastation to Black, Latinx, Indigenous and low-income communities and today we say, ‘Enough is enough!’” Queen Adesuyi, Policy Manager for the Office of National Affairs at the Drug Policy Alliance.

Richard Nixon named drug abuse “public enemy number one” and declared a war on drugs a half century ago and the Drug War is clearly an abysmal failure that has had dire racist and classist consequences, ruining too many lives over the last 50 years. Just ahead of the June 17th anniversary of Nixon’s launch of an ill-fated war on our own citizens, federal legislation has been introduced that follows the lead of Oregon Measure 110, a drug decriminalization bill that reinvests resources towards addiction and treatment services. Just as they helped craft Oregon’s pioneering move towards a health-based approach to treating drugs, the Drug Policy Alliance partnered with Representatives Bonnie Watson Coleman (D-NJ) and Cori Bush (D-MO) to introduce the Drug Policy Reform Act (DPRA) to, among other things, end federal criminal penalties for drug possession, shift the regulatory authority from the Attorney General to the Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS), expunge records and provide for resentencing, and reinvest in alternative health-centered approaches. The DPRA also eliminates many of the collateral consequences associated with drug convictions, including the denial of job opportunities, public benefits, immigration status, drivers’ licenses, and the right to vote.

DPA laid out many of the reform provisions of the Drug Policy Reform Act in a press release:

  • Automatically expunges and seals records.
  • Provides relief for people currently incarcerated or on supervision for certain drug convictions.
  • Shifts the regulatory authority for substances listed under the Controlled Substances Act from the Attorney General to the Secretary of HHS. 
  • Reinvests funds to support programs that work on expanding access to substance use treatment, support harm reduction services, and reduce the criminalization of individuals who use drugs by supporting the development or expansion of pre-arrest diversion programs.
  • Promotes evidence-based drug education.
  • Prohibits the denial of employment or termination based upon a criminal history for drug possession.
  • Explicitly prohibits drug testing for individuals to receive federal benefits.
  • Prevents drug use charges/convictions from being held against an individual in order to receive SNAP/TANF, housing assistance and other federal benefits.
  • Prevents individuals in the U.S. from being denied immigration status due to personal drug use.
  • Prevents individuals from being denied the right to vote regardless if they have served their sentence or not, and restores voting rights to those who have been impacted in the past.
  • Ensures individuals with drug convictions can gain access to drivers’ licenses.
  • Prohibits the use of civil asset forfeitures related to personal drug possession cases.
  • Charges HHS with establishing a “Commission on Substance Use, Health and Safety,” to determine the benchmark amounts for drug possession and publish an online report on their findings within 180 days. The report will also include recommendations for preventing the prosecution of individuals possessing, distributing or dispensing personal use quantities of each drug.
  • Improves research on impact of drug criminalization and enforcement.
  • Funds data collection and transparency on all available data related to enforcement of drug laws, including local arrests for drug possession and distribution offenses, possession of drug paraphernalia, public or intoxication, loitering, and all other drug-related violations.

“I lived through a malicious marijuana war that saw Black people arrested for possession at three times the rate of their white counterparts, even though usage rates are similar. As a nurse, I’ve watched Black families criminalized for heroin use while white families are treated for opioid use. And now, as a Congresswoman, I am seeing the pattern repeat itself with fentanyl, as the DEA presses for an expanded classification that would criminalize possession and use. This punitive approach creates more pain, increases substance use, and leaves millions of people to live in shame and isolation with limited support and healing,” Missouri Congresswoman Cori Bush. 

“The United States has not simply failed in how we carried out the War on Drugs – the War on Drugs stands as a stain on our national conscience since its very inception. Begun in 1972 as a cynical political tactic of the Nixon Administration, the War on Drugs has destroyed the lives of countless Americans and their families. As we work to solve this issue, it is essential that we change tactics in how we address drug use away from the failed punitive approach and towards a health-based and evidence-based approach,” New Jersey Congresswoman Bonnie Watson Coleman.

I definitely want to take a moment to note that DPA has many women in their leadership ranks, that I was proud to work for and with many women on Measure 110 (including my co-chief petitioners) and that this landmark legislation is being introduced by women. Additionally, the Health Justice and Recovery Alliance, the group leading Measure 110’s implementation at the Oregon Legislature, ensuring that the will of the voters is fulfilled, is led by women. It takes bold leadership to tackle entrenched special interests like the prison-industrial complex, but these women ain’t scared of doing what’s right for our nation. They understand that our policies shouldn’t focus on the drugs, the focus should be on people, what we want for our loved ones, as drug use and addiction crosses all demographics.

With over 80% of Americans agreeing that the Drug War has failed and 2/3 of voters wanting to follow Oregon’s lead in “eliminating criminal penalties for drug possession and reinvesting drug enforcement resources into treatment and addiction services,” there has never been a better time to debate a new approach to drugs in the halls of Congress. Just as cannabis legalization was successful state by state, creating the momentum to pass the MORE Act last year, Drug War reforms will follow a similar pattern. Oregonians can be proud of helping lead the way, by passing Measure 110 with nearly 59% of the vote, in our fight to end Nixon’s futile and harmful war on American citizens.

Poll: 66% of Americans Favor Following Oregon’s Lead and Decriminalizing Drugs

Like cannabis legalization before it, decriminalizing drugs used to seem like a far-fetched idea that would remain out of reach, thanks to decades of of propaganda and billions spent by the prison-industrial complex entrenching the Drug War within our society. However, 50 years after Richard Nixon first declared the War on Drugs, a new poll shows that a supermajority of Americans have declared the War on Drugs a failure with 66% wanting to follow Oregon’s lead in “eliminating criminal penalties for drug possession and reinvesting drug enforcement resources into treatment and addiction services.”

The support for decriminalizing drugs jumped 11% from a CATO poll in 2019 that found that 55% of voters favored ending criminal penalties for possession. Adding that enforcement resources would be invested in treatment could explain a lot of the 11 point jump in support, a winning policy combination that garnered the support of nearly 59% of Oregonians who voted for Measure 110 last November. The Drug Policy Alliance (DPA) and the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) backed the Bully Pulpit Interactive poll and released statements regarding the findings:

“A different reality – one where we treat people who use drugs with dignity and respect, and one where drugs are no longer an excuse for law enforcement to surveil, harass, assault and even kill Black, Latinx and Indigenous people – is 100 percent possible, and these results clearly prove that,” said Kassandra Frederique, Executive Director of the Drug Policy Alliance.

“On this 50th anniversary of the drug war, President Biden must make good on his campaign promises and take steps to begin dismantling the system of over-policing and mass incarceration that is endemic to the War on Drugs. Today, drug possession continues to be the number one arrest in the United States, with  more than 1.35 million arrests per year. Every 25 seconds, a person is arrested for possessing drugs for personal use, with Black people disproportionately targeted by this over-policing,” said Udi Ofer, Director of the ACLU’S Justice Division.

With a whopping 83% of US voters agreeing that the War on Drugs has failed, it’s clearly time for citizens, legislators, and policymakers to look to implement sensible reforms that will treat drug use as a health matter, instead of a criminal one. We aren’t going to arrest and jail our way towards a drug-free society. It’s time to quit being naive and be realistic. Not many enjoy admitting that they made a mistake, but Uncle Sam made a huge one waging war against our own citizens. What people are finally realizing is that our policies shouldn’t be determined by our feelings about drugs, but about our concerns about what is best for our people. What do you want for your loved ones that may use drugs? Do you want a prison sentence without any adequate treatment or recovery programs or do you want to provide them with the health services that they may need? We should be investing in people, not prisons and while it’s five decades too late, it’s never too late to do the right thing. It’s time to end the Drug War.

Bully Pulpit Interactive (BPI) conducted a nationally representative survey among 800 registered voters between
May 17- 20, 2021. 400 interviews were conducted via phone (40% cell) and 400 conducted online. Results were
weighted to be representative of the nation’s registered voters. While margin of error calculations do not apply to
non-random samples, the margin of error on a truly random sample of 800 is +/- 3.46 percentage points at the
95% confidence interval.

Kind Leaf is proud to help fund important treatment, harm reduction, and recovery services that benefit our local community.

Oregon Measure 109 Inspires Florida Psychedelic Treatment Advocates

“When Measure 109 passed in Oregon is when we really got excited and said we think we should get something filed here in Florida.”

Drug War opponents make an interesting team. We could be on the same team even though we’ve never communicated, let alone met, and our immediate and future political goals differ in various ways. Those fighting the War on Drugs are ultimately seeking to put an end to harmful arrests and convictions that have ruined too many lives and wasted too many resources already, but we must work within the reality of our state. What is capable of passing with voters or legislators in Oregon is much different than what may pass in Texas or Florida, but while voters in other states may not be ready to decriminalize personal drug possession like Measure 110 accomplished last November or establish a psilocybin therapy model as allowed under Measure 109, the victories create momentum for other advocates to take positive steps forward in their states.

When reading about legislation introduced in Florida, it was heartening to hear Mr. Psychedelics Law President Dustin Robinson, a Fort Lauderdale-based attorney who helped draft a statewide psilocybin bill, give credit to Oregon Measure 109 as inspiration. ABC Channel 7 out of southwestern Florida recently reported on the burgeoning psychedelic treatment activist community in the Sunshine State, from those working to change the law to those currently operating ketamine therapy clinics:

“It isn’t just a psychedelic revolution it’s a consciousness revolution,” Robinson said. “We’re in a mental health crisis and we have the solution right in front of us. All we have to do is create the legal framework to allow it to come to light.”

Robinson said he expects psilocybin to get legalized in Florida over the next 4-6 years if not sooner. If magic mushrooms and MDMA clear more hurdles he said we could start seeing psychedelic centers opening up similar to the ones administering ketamine.

The psychedelics treatment movement takes me back to the years following the passage of our nation’s first medical cannabis initiatives. One of the most fascinating aspects of working in drug policy reform is learning something new nearly every single day. Every week there is new research being conducted or positive legislation introduced or a new victory to celebrate. Each step forward leads to another step forward, whether it is in your state or another state all the way across the nation, moving us forward towards a sane and compassionate drug policy that invests in people instead of prison. A sincere thanks to everyone that worked hard to pass Measure 109 and to Oregon voters for seeing through Drug War propaganda; your impact is reverberating far beyond the Beaver State’s borders.

California Psychedelics Decriminalization Bill Heads to the Senate

California started our nation’s state-by-state medical cannabis political revolution by first passing Proposition 215 back in 1996, with Oregon and Washington following suit with their own medicinal initiatives in ’98. With Oregon Measure 109 leading the way on therapeutic psilocybin and Measure 110 the first successful drug decriminalization in the U.S. in 2020, it appears that the Beaver State may be returning the favor for its southern neighbor as California has just moved one step closer to allowing the personal possession, use, and sharing of psychedelics. Senate Bill 519, sponsored by Senator Scott Wiener, has passed out of the Senate Appropriations Committee, paving the way for a vote before the Senate. If successful there, the psychedelics bill would go before the California Assembly ahead of a potential trip to the governor’s desk. Marijuana Moment reported:

If enacted into law, the bill would remove criminal penalties for possessing or sharing numerous psychedelics—including psilocybin mushrooms, DMT, ibogaine, LSD and MDMA—for adults 21 and older.


Under the bill, state Department of Public Health would be required to establish a working group “to study and make recommendations regarding possible regulatory systems that California could adopt to promote safe and equitable access to certain substances in permitted legal contexts.” Those recommendations would be due by January 1, 2024.

For psilocybin specifically, the legislation would repeal provisions in California statute that prohibit the cultivation or transportation of “any spores or mycelium capable of producing mushrooms or other material” that contain the psychoactive ingredient.

Hopefully, California legislators will make informed votes based upon science and common sense and won’t be unduly swayed by Drug War propaganda. The War on Drugs simply hasn’t worked and there’s no reason to ruin lives over the personal possession of psychedelics. With the research coming out of institutions like Johns Hopkins and voters and policymakers understanding that it’s time to end the grip that the prison-industrial complex has had over drug policy, there’s never been a better time to implement much-needed reforms. It’s time to invest in people instead of more prisons. Whether SB 519 passes this year or not, it’s a great step in the right direction to see this much progress being made on the heels of Oregon Measures 109 and 110. It’s easy to see a future where states are passing drug decriminalization laws in a similar manner as we’ve seen with cannabis. A sincere thanks to everyone fighting the good political fight.

Scientific American: Psychedelic with Therapy Significantly Improves PTSD Symptoms

Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) impacts about 3.5% of all adults in the United States every year, while nearly 10% will get diagnosed during their lifetime. People across all demographics may develop PTSD after experiencing or witnessing a traumatic event and symptoms can vary over time. According to the Mayo Clinic, most people who go through a terrifyingly traumatic event have a temporary difficulty adjusting immediately. Effective treatment can be crucial to effectively coping and improving function. May is Mental Health Awareness Month and it’s extremely important to educate folks on the prevalence of mental health issues and to put an end to any remaining stigma that may prevent people from seeking treatment. Scientists are starting to discover psychedelics’ role in treating PTSD and other mental health conditions, and as Scientific American reported, MDMA combined with therapy appears to improve symptoms:

“A long-awaited study is making worldwide headlines for finding that the outlawed psychoactive drug MDMA is startlingly effective in treating post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). But researchers and study participants say the substance itself, while extremely powerful, catalyzes healing rather than working on its own: MDMA treatment also requires dozens of hours of therapy—before, during and after the drug experience—with professionals whose special training is expensive and intense.

“Researchers hope the new study, published this week in Nature Medicine, will help this treatment gain regulators’ approval for clinical use within a couple of years. Many therapists and patients are thrilled: About two thirds of PTSD sufferers do not respond to other treatments. And MDMA had shown tremendous promise in earlier, smaller studies.”

“PTSD is a difficult nut to crack—one main reason being that traumas become stuck,” explains Jennifer Mitchell, a neuroscientist at the University of California, San Francisco, and lead author of the study. “But with MDMA, things that had really crystallized become more flexible, and this gives you the chance to shake the tree and let all the nuts fall out.”

Just as countless lives have benefitted from the medicinal use of cannabis, it appears that psychedelics may be on a similar path towards more scientific discoveries that can unlock mental health benefits. Drug policy reforms and research are going hand-in-hand to educate the public, reduce stigma, and open up new avenues for important studies. The passage of Measure 109 and 110 in Oregon have set the stage for potential legislation in California, and other states will utilize the latest evidence to make informed decisions around important drug policy decisions. As more research is conducted, the medicinal use of psychedelics will become more mainstream across our nation and the globe.

Friendly reminder: Kind Leaf supports all OMMP patients, senior citizens, and military veterans with discounts every day.

Washington State Follow’s Oregon’s Lead and Decriminalizes Personal Drug Possession

As one of the chief petitioners for the Oregon Measure 110 drug decriminalization measure, I’ve often been asked about which states would be the next to follow suit and swing a big sledgehammer at the the failed and racist Drug War and I always mentioned our great friend and neighbor to the north for a number of reasons. Washington and Oregon have both been pioneers on cannabis and other progressive reforms, such as voting by mail, death with dignity, and bottle deposits. Plus, both states have the initiative process that make “controversial” policy changes possible as too many legislators and policymakers tend to be too conservative to pass Drug War reforms until overwhelming voter support forces their hand, about a decade after a majority of the population is ready for the change. If it wasn’t for the COVID pandemic, an initiative similar to M110 would have likely been on Washington’s ballot in 2020 as well.

I expected our Great Northwest neighbors to successfully pass a decriminalization initiative in 2022 or 2024 at the latest, I certainly didn’t expect for Washington to decriminalize drug possession in 2021 because of a state supreme court decision. OPB reported on the landmark case:

Five justices, led by Justice Sheryl Gordon McCloud, said the state law was unconstitutional because it criminalized her passive, unknowing conduct, in violation of her due process protections. A letter carrier who unwittingly delivers a package of drugs, someone whose roommate hides drugs in a common living area, and someone who picks up the wrong bag at an airport could all be convicted under the law, she noted.

“Attaching the harsh penalties of felony conviction, lengthy imprisonment, stigma, and the many collateral consequences that accompany every felony drug conviction to entirely innocent and passive conduct exceeds the legislature’s powers,” Gordon McCloud wrote for the majority.

For more than six decades, the court had affirmed the Legislature’s power to criminalize drug possession without proof of a defendant’s intent to possess them. In a crucial decision from 1981, the court expressly noted that if lawmakers had wanted to require proof of intent, they would have made that an element of the crime.

Theshia Naidoo, managing director for the Drug Policy Alliance’s Department of Legal Affairs issued the following statement in a press release:

This decision is a perfect dovetail to the drug decriminalization bill moving through the legislature, which has already passed out of committee.  We urge legislators to immediately consider this bill and the benefits it would bring, including expanded health, harm reduction and recovery services, rather than re-enacting the harmful criminal penalties of the past that have resulted in extreme racial disparities, record drug overdoses, and countless lives ruined.
Oregon has already shown us in the most recent election that decriminalization is not only politically viable, but incredibly popular — as Measure 110, which decriminalized possession of small amounts of drugs for personal use and provided increased access to services — passed by a 17 point margin. Washington should follow suit and provide people with the services they need, rather than the burden of a criminal record they are forced to carry throughout their lives.

Hopefully, Washington lawmakers see the writing on the wall and keep drug decriminalization in place. It is clear that we will not end drug addiction issues by arresting and jailing people. People need education, healthcare, employment, and housing. Let’s invest in people, not more prisons. A sincere thanks to the Washington State Supreme Court. Legislators and Governor Jay Inslee should follow their example, science, and the evidence on the ground from Portugal. If lawmakers rollback this decision and bring back racist drug penalties, I have no doubt that the great people of the Great Northwest will speak loudly and clearly that it is time to just say no to the Drug War. Step by step, state by state.