Did you see? Last month the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and state police nabbed a 23-year old man. Well, I really want to call him a kid but of course I’m a woman of a certain age – so everybody seems pretty young these days to moi (that is eu in Portuguese, since I’m living in Portugal now 😉 )
Anyway, the cops and DEA in Connecticut arrested 23-year-old Weston Soule for growing whopping amounts of magic mushrooms in his house. From the sound of it, they pulled from the DEA playbook of the way back machinery – armed with a search warrant they descended on Weston’s house. The task force announced that they had uncovered psilocybin-containing mushrooms in various stages of growth… valued at more than 8 million dollars (this is the widely quoted value; I’d like to know how they did the math).
State police released photos showing dozens of bags looking to contain mushrooms lined up outside the house as well as stacked on metal shelving throughout the inside.
Do you see the irony as much as I do?
I had an eye roll as I read that one of the officers on duty was quoted as describing Weston as “a person of wasted potential,” although it’s reported he has no prior criminal record.
But isn’t this a repeat of the same old, same old we’ve seen with cannabis? Currently, under the federal government, cannabis – as well as magic mushrooms – are a schedule 1 controlled substance, defined as substances not having a medical use with a high potential for abuse.
Yet, medical marijuana, which is a godsend to countless people opting out of prescription meds (like life-destroying fentanyl), is now legal in 38 states.
Regarding mushrooms, back in 2019 the federal Food and Drug Administration (FDA) designated psilocybin as a “breakthrough therapy” for treatment-resistant depression. It also recently published a draft guideline on using psychedelics in clinical trials. In tandem with this has been a massive shift in public opinion in support of therapeutic use of psychedelics – including military veterans with trauma and other illnesses.
It’s clear that mushrooms are gaining recognition as potential alternative therapies for conditions like post-traumatic stress disorder and other mental illnesses.
So describing the 23-year-old Weston as “a person of wasted potential” gives one pause. We have countless people scrambling to find psilocybin on their own and having to connect with underground suppliers to get their medicine. It might be concluded that Weston is meeting a nagging need. Perhaps his operation could be called, “medicine making”. Yet, Weston faces charges of possession with intent to sell/distribute narcotics and operating a drug factory. He’s being held on a $250,000 bond.
Desperate medical need and accessible medicine
People may be jaw-dropped by the breadth of Weston’s $8-million dollar amateur operation. But it highlights the unfortunate disparities between a crucial medical necessity and the available medication unjustly restricted by irrational laws.
I’m not condoning what he was doing – given that there should always be compliance policies around manufacturing medicine. But when you weigh the benefits of psilocybin against the Sackler Family paying $6 billion dollars to protect themselves from lawsuits linked to the deaths of 450,000 by their company’s opioid drug, OxyContin, it’s helpful to keep this in perspective.
I invite you to read about Weston’s arrest but in particular the 200+ comments in this article alone. There are also a lot of thoughtful comments in this petition drive to get the Connecticut governor’s attention to dismiss the charges against Weston.
Am I simply hallucinating? Drop down to the comments section and let me know!
P.S. As we move toward the holidays, if I can be of help getting you through challenging times, let me know!