How a reporter covers the psychedelics and cannabis industries
Yeji Jesse Lee of Insider talked about how she covers the psychedelics and cannabis industries.
Here is an excerpt:
What’s your favorite part about your job?
I love feeling like I’m part of an industry that is growing alongside me. A year ago, hardly anyone had heard about the potential of psychedelics as treatments for mental illnesses, despite the promising academic studies that had gone on around half a century ago. Today, serious companies are valued at more than $1 billion and even smaller startups are raising hundreds of millions of dollars to build out their businesses.
How has the scope of your beat changed as marijuana and psychedelics have increasingly become legalized?
It’s definitely kept me busy. The November elections were a game changer for the industry, as five states voted to legalize cannabis in some form or another and Oregon became the first state in the US to decriminalize all drugs— which has since prompted other jurisdictions to consider doing the same. The legislative changes keep me on my toes because no one is really sure what’s going to happen in the coming months and that leaves lots of doors open.
What do you think increasing legalization of psychedelics means for the war on drugs?
It means that more and more people are acknowledging the detrimental effects the war on drugs had on the world. Decriminalization and legalization are two very different things— one means ending criminal penalties for drug use and possession while the other potentially would create a market for these substances outside of a FDA-regulated pathway — but I think both signify a sort of shift in mentality that we’re having as a larger society where we’re seeing these compounds in a different light.
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