“Get ready for a fight for legitimacy,” Says Attorney Josh Lawler on the Movement to Legalize Psychedelics

legalization of psychedelics
Josh Lawler, Partner, Zuber Lawler

Josh Lawler is a well-established Los Angeles attorney at Zuber Lawler with a deep interest in futurism, legalization of psychedelics, and drug policy. Josh gave us his take on some of the most important issues in the psychedelics space today.

PsyTech: How did you get interested in the psychedelics space?

Josh: My undergraduate major was biopsychology. In that context, the classic psychedelic studies were a point of study. In law school, I wrote a paper on the issues surrounding religiously motivated criminal offenders, which covered issues relating to psychedelics and spirituality. I’ve had a passing interest ever since. Having now provided transactional legal advice in respect of plant medicine, the movement to legalize psychedelics for medical use seems likely. 

PsyTech: What is the biggest issue holding the industry back, e.g., stigma, regulation, politics, etc?

Josh: All regulation. The government cannot move fast. I’m in California, so maybe we’re a bit less offended. I don’t see stigma as an issue here, though it might be in other places. I expect that will change quickly if psychedelic protocols are approved for treatment of PTSD.

PsyTech: What’s one thing you want the general public to know about psychedelics?

Josh: They are less addictive and less dangerous than many accepted prescription medications.

PsyTech: What’s one piece of advice you’d give to anyone interested in getting into the psychedelics industry? 

Josh: Study the industry and the use cases. Obtain really talented advisors/legal counsel. Get ready for a fight for legitimacy.

PsyTech: What’s the one question you get asked when someone finds out you’re involved in psychedelics? 

Josh: Do I think it will be descheduled in the US.

PsyTech: What’s some typical pushback you experience as someone involved in this industry, and how do you respond?  

Josh: I’m not a lobbyist, so I don’t really argue with anyone over the topic.  Most of my interactions are with people who are already in the space.

PsyTech: What are the currently biggest hurdles in the space, and how have hurdles evolved over the past few years?

Josh: Illegality per federal and most state laws is the biggest issue, but there is progress. Three years ago, I don’t think any states or municipalities were allowing any use, medical or otherwise.

PsyTech: Where do you see decrim/recreational regulation evolving in the next twelve months, and is that the most effective means of changing public perception of psychedelics? 

Josh: Can’t predict this. Unlike cannabis where there is a big incentive in tax revenue to allow recreational, I don’t know that the market for recreational psychedelics is nearly as interesting to the states. The most effective way of changing public perception is through clinical studies on treatment-resistant depression and PTSD.

PsyTech: What impact will this year’s election have on the industry?

Josh: Likely none. Unlike cannabis, psychedelics are not a big national issue at this point.

PsyTech: What was the initial reaction when your friends and family heard you were involved in the psychedelic industry? 

Josh: “Figured.”

Many thanks to Josh for his insights on the legalization of psychedelics and the sector in general, and to Zuben Lawler for their generous sponsorship of our upcoming Summit. To register for the October 27th event, please click the button below.

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