Rick Stewart, the Libertarian candidate for governor, says ending the nation’s war on drugs is his “most important” priority.
“It’s the worst mistake this country has ever made,” Stewart said during a speech on the Des Moines Register’s Political Soapbox at the Iowa State Fair. “If you want to argue that point, the only thing that could possibly be worse is the Civil War, but the Civil War only for four years. The Drug War has lasted for over 100 years.”
Stewart told the crowd he spent much of 2017 helping a relative with a mental health emergency try to navigate Iowa’s health care system. He suggested the state’s mental health crisis could be dramatically lessened if drugs like LSD and magic mushrooms were legalized.
“This is where it gets a little bit controversial, but for me it’s extremely important,” Stewart said. “Let’s use the most effective psychiatric medicine in the world. It’s called Psychedelic Assisted Therapy.”
Magic mushrooms, also known by the name psilocybin, have been illegal in the United States since 1970. LSD was outlawed in 1968. Stewart said it’s “immoral…and unethical” to ban these hallucinogenic drugs.
“I’m going to make it legal in Iowa and I don’t care what the feds say,” Stewart said. “You’re going to be able to Psychedelic Assisted Therapy in Iowa as soon as I’m the governor.”
This spring, Stewart briefly suspended his gubernatorial campaign after he was arrested in Washington, D.C. at a protest outside the Drug Enforcement Agency. Stewart was there to call for legalizing magic mushrooms as an experimental treatment for terminal illnesses.
In 2020, Stewart was the Libertarian Party’s nominee for the U.S. Senate. He ran for state ag secretary in 2018 as a Libertarian.