AOC's Amendment To Allow Federal Research Into Benefits Of Psychedelics Rejected By House Again

The U.S. House of Representatives voted down an amendment Tuesday filed by Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez that sought to remove constraints to researching the therapeutic potential of psychedelic mushrooms, MDMA, psilocybin and ibogaine.

The amendment was rejected in a 140-285 votereported Marijuana Moment. The body also voted on several other cannabis-related proposals. 

This is not the first time Ocasio-Cortez has tried to pass a measure that would open the path to psychedelics research; her first attempt in 2019 was rejected in a 91-331 vote. 

Ocasio-Cortez’s measure was presented as an amendment to a wider spending bill that manages fund allocation for several federal agencies. The amendment was intended to remove the rider on this spending bill from 1996 that forbids the allocation of federal funds to “any activity that promotes the legalization of any drug or other substance in Schedule I.” 

If approved, the measure would have eliminated the rider and opened the door to allowing federal agencies to research the therapeutic potential of psychedelics.

“The United States has and continues to uphold an obsolete provision from the war on drugs,” Ocasio-Cortez said on the floor before the vote. “This provision specifically has for a very long period of time presented and acted as a barricade to federal research on certain substances— psilocybin, MDMA and marijuana—and allowing us to research the potential therapeutic applications of these drugs in the treatment of diseases such as PTSD, addiction, and depression. We are long overdue.”

Rep. Lou Correa (D-CA) who backed the proposal said that these substances could “help veterans deal with those invisible wounds that they bring back from the battlefield—PTSD and other mental issues that they bring back with them and carry with them on a day to day basis.”

Other Cannabis-Related Proposals

The floor considered several other cannabis-related amendments on Tuesday, some of which were approved and some rejected.

  • A pro-reform proposal that passed the chamber pushes the Food and Drug Administration to create the rules allowing CBD as a dietary supplement and food ingredient. It was filed by Rep. Kurt Schrader (D-OR), who said that hemp businesses have “economic burdens from the regulatory uncertainty caused by lack of action.” The FDA is meant to set all CBD regulations within 180 days of enactment.
  • proposal to remove a rider on the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HSS) appropriations bill that currently allows federal funding to “institutions of higher education that are conducting research on marijuana,” was also rejected.
  • Rep. Debbie Lesko (R-AZ), who filed the proposal said that rejecting her amendment would enable “universities to offer a class called ‘Pot Smoking 101’ [that’s] dedicated to smoking pot under the false pretense of research.” Fortunately, House Appropriations Committee chairwoman Rosa DeLauro (D-CT) explained that eliminating current cannabis protections for universities could negatively affect studies and further emphasized the importance of scientific-based cannabis-related research.

A proposal to transfer $25 million “from the Environmental Programs and Management enforcement activities account to the National Forest System account for enforcement and remediation of illegal marijuana trespass grow sites on federal lands and for the clean-up of toxic waste and chemicals at these sites,” was also denied. It was filed by Rep. Doug LaMalfa (R-CA), who recently released videos with him and local California police on a bulldozer symbolically destroying illegal cannabis plants.

Photo: Courtesy of Franmarie Metzler; U.S. House Office of Photography and Wikimedia Commons

Posted In: Alexandria Ocasio-CortezDebbie LeskoDoug LaMalfaederal Research Into PsychedelicsKurt SchraderLou CorreaMarijuana Momentresearch the therapeutic potential of psychedelic substancesCannabisNewsMarketsMedia

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