Massachusetts Daily Collegian

Clabault: Let’s legalize pot, and “magic mushrooms” while we’re at it

By Benjamin Clabault

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Cade Belisle/Daily Collegian

(Cade Belisle/Daily Collegian)

Last Wednesday, presidential candidate and Vermont senator Bernie Sanders told Jimmy Kimmel that the United States must end the ¨war on drugs.¨ Sanders also said that we must look at what’s going on in Colorado, and described himself as ¨”not unfavorably disposed to moving toward the legalization of marijuana.¨ He tied this in with the issue of mass incarceration, reminding the audience that America  has more people in prison than any other country in the world.

This two-minute chat nicely summarized what an end to the war on drugs would look like.  People should not be going to jail for doing drugs; that much seems clear. The harmful effects of mass incarceration are obvious and manifold. From a cold, financial standpoint, valuable money and resources are wasted. From a human perspective, precious lives are ruined.

People doing drugs tend to fall into two categories. Some are addicted, or abusing drugs in a harmful way that will likely lead to addiction. They have a problem. They don´t need jail time – they need help.

Others do drugs recreationally. They don´t need jail time – they need to be left alone.

And while it may seem impossible to separate these two categories, my argument here is that it really isn’t so hard. Some drugs have been proven to be harmful and addictive. Cocaine, meth, heroin, and, ironically, legal painkillers like OxyContin are recognized for their tendency to get people hooked while ravaging their bodies. They should remain ¨illegal¨ in a certain sense, but with ¨perpetrators¨ sent to seek treatment, not incarcerated.

Other drugs are not especially addictive, and provide a form of generally harmless recreation.  Many people choose to use them, and the government has no business saying that they can´t.  We’ve already placed marijuana in that category, with an April poll from the Pew Research Center indicating 53 percent of Americans now support legalization. I think it’s about time that we added another: psilocybin mushrooms.

Reports of death from mushrooms are virtually nonexistent. A Brown University report only mentions death as a possible outcome in the case of misidentifying the type of mushroom, a problem that would be largely mitigated by legalization and regulation.

While we fail to see significant health problems from mushrooms, researchers have found a number of psychological benefits. According to a King’s College Study, psilocybin, the chemical that causes the famous ¨trippy¨ effect, increases connectivity in the brain, resulting in a dreamy state.

But this state is not just a temporary high, it has permanent positive effects. Drugs like cocaine and MDMA are powerful chemical stimulants that can harm the brain and leave users in an agitated, depressed state for days after usage. Mushrooms seem to do quite the opposite.

A 2011 study by Johns Hopkins University found that even a single usage of mushrooms can lead to a genuine personality change: an increased sense of openness. This means marked increases in areas like ¨imagination, aesthetics, feelings, abstract ideas and general broad-mindedness.¨ In a country marked by a dogged conservatism and resistance to new ideas, even in an increasingly dynamic world, this openness seems like something we could use a lot more of.

So why, then, are ¨magic mushrooms¨ illegal?  Could it be that a society built on order, efficiency, and acceptance of the current structure that fears this ¨openness¨ as a potential disruptive force (cue the eerie conspiracy music)? I don’t know, but I do know that in a supposedly ¨free¨ society the government has absolutely no business threatening jail time to anyone who chooses to engage in a harmless and generally constructive activity.

Benjamin Clabault is a Collegian columnist and can be reached at [email protected]


2 Responses to “Clabault: Let’s legalize pot, and “magic mushrooms” while we’re at it”

  1. Gman on October 27th, 2015 4:30 pm

    Two of my friends have died from long-term drug abuse (not overdose); two others were incarcerated for long stretches of time due to the things they did WHILE UNDER THE INFLUENCE. Two major things mitigate against de-stigmatizing hard-core drugs: 1) treatment only works for people that want it. While incarceration is essentially a forced drug cold-turkey program, drug offenders being sent to treatment are largely wasting time and the public’s money. It is not a viable solution. 2) More importantly, drug offenders are usually not locked up for any significant amount of time UNLESS they are distributing drugs (a major scourge on society) OR committing violent crime while high on drugs. While prison is less than ideal situation, the truth is, any drug addict is essentially a wasted life. And these days, with how much harder all drugs all seem to be, people go from recreational to addict pretty darn quickly. Most don’t intend to.

    The USA is in a terrible situation, one that is spiraling even more out of control with the widespread acceptance of drug usage. I have experienced the toll it takes on a family, friendship, the user himself and society as a whole. There are millions of addicted Americans who are wasting their lives, not to mention the love and energy of their families and, not least of all, everyone’s money.

    With the exception of low-level dealers (who usually become higher level dealers), there is almost no such thing as a non-violent drug offender doing hard time. Those doing hard time have almost always committed a serious offense while high.

    The War on Drugs may have failed, but I wish people would stop using that as a sort of victory and approval for drug use/abuse. It will eventually be one of the major downfalls of the society.

  2. Kory Noble on November 22nd, 2015 6:43 pm

    I can only speak for myself, but I cured my mental illness by simply disconnecting, letting go of attachments in life, smoked up a copious amount of marijuana in Washington State, and sought out The Truth.

    I ended up meeting God in person which was a WILD experience I hope to experience again someday, as well as tons of other experiences that blew my mind.

    One could say that I became devoid of obligations, although after I got my feet back on the ground, I found that I was out of ‘sync’ with everyone else.

    I thought this was me, having a method of delivery for a cure for mental illness, until I went to prison for a few nights after being pulled over in Utah on the way to Chicago for having a few grams of weed on me and my car wreaking of pot.

    I don’t have so much as a speeding ticket on my record, so going to county jail could of been traumatizing.

    Suffering from PTSD, any other person would of panicked, lost their mind, perhaps even contemplated suicide, but what else could I do? My phone was dead, I had no numbers memorized, and I was left with a weekend behind bars.

    I shared my stories with my prison mates, witnessed about my experience with Christ as a witness of Truth, and I think I changed lives in there. I would like to help the prisoners someday, politically, or by other means available.

    Mindfulness, mind mapping, fractal novelty, The Gaia Hypothesis, the Archaic Revival, Holographic Epistemology, as well as philosophy of the greats (socrates, plato, alan watts, tesla, etc.), with corresponding respect to the present ALWAYS Being in the past, we only have the moment, and even that is something we fail to grasp.

    I hope that in the future, a media channel dedicated to emboldening adult and youth alike through optimism.

    I hope someone reads this. I hope someone can use this immense amount of knowledge that I’ve inherited through no fault of my own.

    We are a blessed nation, it is about damn time we start waking up to that fact.

    _ God Bless _

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