The governor of Connecticut on Monday signed legislation that includes language requiring the state to carry out a study into the therapeutic potential of psilocybin mushrooms.
Gov. Ned Lamont (D), who may also see a marijuana legalization bill delivered to his desk if the legislature succeeds in approving it this week, signed off on the psychedelics policy proposal as part of a broader package of health reform initiatives.
The provision stipulates that the Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services must convene a working group, which needs to include legislators familiar with public health issues, to “study the health benefits of psilocybin.”
“Such study shall include, but need not be limited to, an examination of whether the use of psilocybin by a person under the direction of a health care provider may be beneficial to the person’s physical or mental wellbeing,” the text of the measure states.
The working group would need to issue a report to the legislature on its findings and recommendations by January 1, 2022.
The psilocybin proposal was also introduced in a separate bill containing various measures related to mental and behavioral health. But the language was later incorporated into SB 1083. An even narrower, one-line bill filed in January also called for the establishment of a psilocybin task force.
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Lamont did not comment on the specifics of the psychedelics provision. But he has been vocal about separate legislation to legalize cannabis in the state—and lawmakers are moving quickly to pass that before the end of the session on Wednesday.
The bill cleared the Senate after an hours-long meeting that went into the early morning hours on Tuesday. House leaders have said they’re confident that they have the votes to get it approved in their chamber, but if for some reason they’re unable to get it passed before the deadline, they will likely convene a special session.
With respect to psychedelics, numerous state legislatures have been considering different reform proposals this session.
A New York lawmaker introduced a bill last week that would require the state to establish an institute to research the therapeutic potential of psychedelics.
In Texas, legislators recently sent a bill to similarly require the state to study the therapeutic potential of psychedelics to their governor’s desk.
The California Senate last week approved a bill that would legalize the possession of psychedelics, including LSD, DMT and ibogaine.
Oregon voters overwhelmingly approved a ballot measure last year to create a first-of-its-kind program where people can be treated with psilocybin in a clinical setting. In March, Gov. Kate Brown (D) appointed an advisory board that will help facilitate the implementation of that initiative.
Seven cities—Oakland, Santa Cruz, Ann Arbor, Washington, D.C., Somerville, Cambridge and Northampton—have decriminalized possession of a broader collection of plant-and fungi-based psychedelics since Denver became the first jurisdiction in the U.S. to pass an initiative to deprioritize enforcement of laws against psilocybin.
Separately, Seattle lawmakers on Monday sent a letter to members of a local task force focused on the opioid overdose epidemic, imploring the group to investigate the therapeutic potential of psychedelics like ayahuasca and ibogaine in curbing addiction.
Photo courtesy of Dick Culbert.