It is not only cannabis that is attracting what might be thought unexpected investment and support from traditionally conservative, right-wing supporters and lobbyists in the US. Several lobbying organisations have started to invest in psychedelics as a potential treatment, or to give money to support them politically.
This includes investors such as Peter Thiel and Jordan Peterson as well as organisations such as the Mercer Foundation, which donated $1m to the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (Maps), a research organisation specialising in studying MDMA as a treatment for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) in veterans.
The Mercer family also supports the American right wing and climate crisis denial, according to the Guardian newspaper. So why the interest in an area that does not fit into the typical spread of topics?
Ross Ellenhorn, founder and CEO of Ellenhorn, a Massachusetts-based provider of care for sufferers from mental illness, speculated that there might be some link to a motivation to support the US military machine – as mitigating the harms of war on US soldiers could help to ensure the continuation of American global military power.
‘More lucrative than pharmaceuticals’
“The military-industrial complex is even more lucrative than the pharmaceutical sector, but those weapons still require human beings to deploy them,” said Ellenhorn.
That may be stretching the point a bit. And Ellenhorn does also suggest a bigger motivator – quite simply, money.
“As psychedelics are absorbed into mainstream medicine, they promise to become another American cash cow,” he said. “Money will come from patents on novel formulations and by patenting and providing the associated treatment techniques.”
There are, of course, also philosophical reasons why some right-leaning groups might support psychedelics. Like cannabis, use and treatment is a personal option issue that would fit squarely into the libertarian bread basket.
But there is still a long way to go before support from right-leaning sources grows to match that from the left. And, much like cannabis, even longer before centrist legislators are likely to act on it and try to capitalise on that support by passing relevant legislation.
– Freddie Dawson CannIntelligence staff
Photo: Matthew Moeller / US Army