Harvard University Launches First-Of-Its-Kind Psychedelics Policy Center – Marijuana Moment

Harvard Law School on Wednesday announced the launch of a first-of-its-kind psychedelics policy center that it hopes will inform legislation and help clinicians navigate this burgeoning medical space as reform continues to advance.

The Project on Psychedelics Law and Regulation (POPLAR) will be a three-year effort designed to “promote safety, innovation and equity in psychedelics research, commerce and therapeutics,” according to a press release.

In the announcement, Harvard’s Petrie-Flom Center for Health Law Policy, Biotechnology and Bioethics recognized that state and local psychedelics developments necessitate an evaluation of the policy impacts as well as the potential influence of private companies that seek to enter the market.

The project is “positioned to be a global leader for research and education in this space,” it said.

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

📣 Announcing the Project on Psychedelics Law and Regulation (POPLAR) at the Petrie-Flom Center for Health Law Policy, Biotechnology, and Bioethics at @Harvard_Law School! Led by @cohenprof, @MasonMarksMD, @JeannieSGersen & @CarmelShachar. https://t.co/JWxYMznprd

— Petrie-Flom Center (@PetrieFlom) June 30, 2021

Marks, who also serves on an Oregon advisory board for psilocybin that was created after voters approved a therapeutic legalization initiative last year, told Marijuana Moment in an interview that the project will seek to address ethical concerns for clinicians dealing with psychedelics and work to inform the decriminalization movement without directly engaging in it. He also spoke about how federal law serves to impede research on the substances.

(See below for the full interview with Marks.)

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