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Psilocybin Protestors Arrested Outside of DEA Headquarters

To draw attention to the DEA’s blocking of psilocybin treatment, The Right To Try Psilocybin organization organized a protest and civil disobedience on May 9.

Kathryn Tucker, the leading litigator representing a terminally ill person spoke at the event. She pressed the DEA for patients to be allowed to use psilocybin to treat their pain. She continued to talk about the Right to Try Act, which was signed by Former President Donald Trump in 2018, and how medical patients shouldn’t need to wait for the slow process of legislation to be passed for them to legally obtain drugs. She also explained how some military veterans are traveling to Jamaica or Peru to access therapeutic drugs such as MDMA, and how some veterans who don’t receive access to these treatments often commit suicide as a result.

“We’re here today to demand that the DEA open a pathway to access,” said Tucker in front of the DEA headquarters. “We approached the DEA in January of 2021; that is now 15 months ago, and the DEA refused access. We took the DEA before the federal courts in a case called Aims vs. DEA. This lawsuit lasted for 10 months and was heard in the 9th Circuit. It allowed us to do a thorough analysis of the law. Now the DEA realizes that it is bound by law to create and open access routes. And yet, the court sent the matter back to the DEA.”

Tucker introduced Erinn Baldeschwiler to Tucker. Erinn has Stage 4 Cancer and had waited more than a year for her Palliative Care physician to give her access to psilocybin treatment. Tucker explained that they requested access for Baldeschwiler in February, and as of May, they haven’t received a response. “This tactic of delay is unacceptable. Delay is justice forever denied.”

“DEA needs to stop the delay, it needs to get out of the way, and it needs to create a path to access. Not one more dying patient should endure debilitating anxiety and depression when relief could be had,” Tucker said.

Others participants who were present included Kim Larsen, Dr. Mikhail Kogan, Melissa Lavasani, Eric Swenson, Adam Eidinger, and David Bronner (CEO of Dr. Bronner’s, which is renowned for its consistent efforts to support cannabis, psilocybin, and other alternate treatments).

“We’re not asking [the] DEA to be compassionate,” Bronner said at the protest. “We’re asking them to follow established law.”

The entire event was livestreamed on Facebook for the duration of nearly four hours as participants laid down on the ground in front of one of the DEA building’s entrances, while others wrote “right to try” and “DEA out of the way” on the entrance windows with washable paint. 

The protest was about halfway over when law enforcement arrived to inspect the situation. They talked with the activists, and they also entered the building looking for a representative that might be able to speak to them. They were 17 of the protestors. arrested for trespassingTheir hands were tied with zip ties. They were then released instantly with a summons to court for May 19. 

Protestors later took pride in posing for photos with their zip ties, court documents and other items. “Note some of the zip ties. Proof federal protective services didn’t make the cuffs tight due to their sympathy to the issue and attempts to negotiate with DEA for a meeting about,” Eidinger explained in a TweetOn the same day. “We will need to come back and protest more. The question is what should the nature of those protests be.”