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New York City mayoral candidate Andrew Yang wants to legalize party drugs for military veterans — including marijuana, hallucinogenic mushrooms and MDMA — to treat post-traumatic stress disorder, The Post has learned.
Yang would push for legalization of certain psychedelics and other drugs in controlled medical settings, according to a plan obtained by The Post. Some of those drugs have been effective at treating the condition, according to some studies and trials.
Use of party drugs for therapeutic purposes would need state and federal approval, which he would use his bully pulpit to push for if elected mayor.
“As Americans, we owe those who enlisted to fight for our country a great debt, and as New Yorkers, we have the power not only to pay that debt, but put them front and center to help drive our city’s recovery,” said Yang in a statement.
“For decades, our city has failed the veterans who live here and suffer from staggeringly disproportionate rates of homelessness, mental health issues, and suicide,” he added. “As mayor, I am going to recognize that investing in our veterans is an investment in the future of our city.”
The drug legalization advocacy under a Yang administration would come alongside boosting funding for the city agency responsible for assisting former service members, according to the blueprint.
The current 2021 city budget allocates just under $7 million for the Department of Veteran Affairs, which the 46-year-old former test prep company executive wants to boost to $10 million, according to the campaign. Yang’s plan, which is the first of veterans-specific platform among the top-tier mayoral candidates, also includes a goal to set aside 5% of city jobs and contracts for former members of the military.
The mayoral candidate also would add $2 million for legal services for veterans in poverty.
Additionally, Yang would seek to build a an unspecified veterans memorial in Battery Park, as well as institute a program where city workers walk around neighborhoods and attempt to connect former service members with city services available to them — a potential effort based one in Boston called Operation Thank-a-Vet.
Loree Sutton — the former veteran affairs commissioner who ran for mayor before dropping out and endorsing Kathryn Garcia — said that she is “delighted” Yang is rolling out a platform focused on people who have served their country.
But Sutton said she “cannot take his veteran policy seriously,” because it’s similar to his other “half-baked” policy proposals.
While retired Brigadier General agreed that recent trials on psychedelics’ ability to treat veterans’ mental health conditions have shown promising results, she cast doubt on Yang’s knowledge of veteran policies already being implemented in the Big Apple.
“He needs to understand what’s already been done in the city,” said Sutton. “We don’t need to reinvent the wheel; we’re leading the way.”
“Anyone can say, ‘Sure, spend more money,’ but do you know what already is being done?”
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