Iowa Republican Introduces Medical Mushrooms Bill

By David Jenison on February 23, 2019

"I believe an Iowan should not be criminalized for trying to use psychedelic substances for medicinal purposes," says Iowa State Representative Jeff Shipley.

The Republican lawmaker representing the 82nd District acted on his belief this month, referring two bills to the House Public Safety Committee. The first, H.F. 248, would remove psilocybin and psilocin (the psychedelic compounds in magic mushrooms) from the state list of fully prohibited Schedule I controlled substances that conforms to the federal schedules. The second bill, H.F. 249, would allow the board of pharmacy to reclassify ibogaine, MDMA and psilocybin to allow for legal medical use.

Rep. Shipley continues, "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. 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."

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) designated MDMA and psilocybin as breakthrough treatments in the past year, designations that translate into fast-tracked clinical trials.

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

Rep. Shipley, who defeated the Democratic incumbent last November in a 37-vote nailbiter, encourages Iowans to contact Rep. Jarad Klein, Chair of the House Public Safety Committee, and very politely encourage him to keep "an open mind" on the proposed legislation.

Coincidentally, the state lawmaker also filed H.F. 319 this month. The bill would redefine "marijuana" to exclude parts of the plant that do not exceed .03-percent tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) content, making them "no longer subject to classification as a controlled substance or criminal penalty."

Photography by Michael Chichi.

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