Robert Mikos

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University of Illinois Law Review Online

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Executive Action, marijuana reform, limits on presidential power


Food and Drug Law | Health Law and Policy | Law | President/Executive Department


In fall 2020, as the nation elected Joe Biden to be our Forty-Sixth President, Oregon voters also passed a noteworthy new drug law reform. Known as Measure 109, Oregon’s path-breaking law legalizes the use of psilocybin, a hallucinogenic substance found in magic mushrooms. Measure 109 is designed to unlock the therapeutic potential of psilocybin, which advocates tout as an effective and safe treatment for depression and other psychological conditions.

Given the burgeoning interest in psychedelics, many people are excited to see how Oregon’s psilocybin experiment pans out. But at this point, it remains unclear whether the experiment will even get off the ground. The main reason: we still do not know how the new Biden Administration will respond to Measure 109.

Federal law currently takes a very dim view of psilocybin. The federal Controlled Substances Act (CSA) classifies the drug as a Schedule I controlled substance, making it unlawful to possess, manufacture, or distribute outside the narrow confines of a federally approved clinical research trial. Federal law also proscribes a staggering array of activities related to supplying and using psilocybin, such as providing space where people can consume the drug. Federal law thus casts a long and dark shadow over Oregon’s road to reform and anyone taking a trip on that road.



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