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Harvard Law School to launch center for studying legalization of psychedelics, including their ‘equity’

  • Harvard Law School is beginning an initiative to study the legality of psychedelic drugs, as well as ‘equity in emerging psychedelics industries.’
  • Other researchers across the United States have considered psychedelics as a viable treatment.

Harvard Law School is launching an initiative to study the legality of psychedelic drugs.

The “Project on Psychedelics Law and Regulation” (POPLAR) will promote “safety, innovation, and equity in psychedelics research, commerce, and therapeutics,” per a university press release.

“Despite a longstanding prohibition on psychedelics dating back to the 1970s, scientific and public interest in these substances is growing,” explained the university, citing the FDA’s 2018 designation of psilocybin as a “breakthrough for treatment-resistant depression.” The school also referred to the recent decriminalization of psychedelics in Oregon.

POPLAR is reportedly “the first academic initiative focused on psychedelics law and policy, positioned to be a global leader for research and education in this space.”

“Right now, there are a handful of psychedelics research centers at universities around the country. However, they are focused on clinical research,” said POPLAR Project Lead Mason Marks in the release. “There is no systematic research being done on psychedelics law, and POPLAR will fill this gap.”

The project will last for three years and will be supported by a grant from the Saisei Foundation, a group that “provides psychiatric diagnostic medical services and inpatient treatment,” according to Bloomberg.

POPLAR’s website states that research will focus on “ethics in psychedelics research and therapeutics,” “challenges at the intersection of psychedelics and intellectual property law,” “opportunities for federal support of psychedelics research,” “access to psychedelic therapies and equity in emerging psychedelics industries,” and “the role of psychedelics in healing trauma.”

In a similar vein as the latter two research areas, an Ohio State University social work professor recently examined whether psychedelic drugs — such as LSD and MDMA — could cause a “reduction in traumatic stress symptoms” for racial minorities who had experienced racism.

Likewise, Columbia University professor Carl Hart wrote a book justifying his use of heroin.

“I am an unapologetic drug user,” reads an excerpt from the book. “I take drugs as part of my pursuit of happiness, and they work. I am a happier and better person because of them.”

Campus Reform reached out to Harvard University for comment; this article will be updated accordingly.

Follow Ben Zeisloft on Twitter

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