Connect with us

Politics

Connecticut Lawmakers Approve Psilocybin Decriminalization Bill In Joint Committee Vote

Published

on

Connecticut lawmakers have approved a bill to decriminalize psilocybin in a bicameral committee.

About two weeks after the legislature’s Joint Judiciary Committee first discussed the psychedelics proposal, members approved it on Tuesday.

The legislation would make possession of up to one-half an ounce of psilocybin punishable by a $150 fine, without the threat of jail time.

A second or subsequent violation would carry a fine of at least $200 but not more than $500. A person who pleads guilty or no contest on two separate occasions would be referred to a drug education program.

Police would be required to seize and destroy any amount of the psychedelic they find under the measure, HB 5297. Possession of more than a half-ounce of psilocybin would be considered a Class A misdemeanor.

Judiciary Committee Co-chair Rep. Steven Stafstrom (D) said the bill is partly about “recognizing that there has been quite a bit of study around this drug [and] recognizing the potential health benefits that veterans and others suffering from PTSD use it for and pushing in that direction.”

“Let’s be clear: This is not a legalization bill,” he said. “Possession of psilocybin under this bill would still be illegal. A police officer could still confiscate it could still destroy it and could issue an infraction ticket to someone in possession of small amounts of psilocybin.”

Opponents of the legislation spoke generally about their concerns about loosening restrictions on another substance after the state legalized marijuana. Several of them did recognize the medical potential of psilocybin, however.

An earlier version of the psilocybin decriminalization bill passed the House last year but did not advance in the Senate.

Lawmakers and activists held an informational forum in January to discuss the therapeutic potential of substances such as psilocybin and potential pathways to allow for regulated access.


Marijuana Moment is tracking more than 1,400 cannabis, psychedelics and drug policy bills in state legislatures and Congress this year. Patreon supporters pledging at least $25/month get access to our interactive maps, charts and hearing calendar so they don’t miss any developments.

Learn more about our marijuana bill tracker and become a supporter on Patreon to get access.

Meanwhile, as the legislation advances, the office of Gov. Ned Lamont (D) has signaled that it may face a major barrier to enactment.

“The governor has concerns about broad decriminalization of mushrooms,” spokesperson David Bednarz said in January, noting that at the time it was “a bit too early to speculate” because a 2024 bill had not yet been filed yet.

As the prior version to decriminalize possession of psilocybin advanced last year, Lamont also reportedly threatened to veto it, despite having championed and signed into law legislation to legalize cannabis in 2021.

Lamont signed a large-scale budget bill in 2022 that includes provisions to set the state up to provide certain patients with access to psychedelic-assisted treatment using substances like MDMA and psilocybin.

Prior to that, he also signed separate legislation in 2021 that required the state Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services to create a task force to study the therapeutic potential of psilocybin mushrooms.

Meanwhile, a growing number of other states are also pursuing psychedelics reform legislation this legislative session, with a focus on research and therapeutic access.

For example, the Indiana governor recently signed a bill that includes provisions to fund clinical research trials into psilocybin.

Utah’s governor allowed a bill to authorize a pilot program for hospitals to administer psilocybin and MDMA as an alternative treatment option to become law without his signature.

Meanwhile, the Maryland Senate and House of Delegates both passed legislation to create a psychedelics task force responsible for studying possible regulatory frameworks for therapeutic access to substances such as psilocybin, mescaline and DMT. It would be charged specifically with ensuring “broad, equitable and affordable access to psychedelic substances” in the state. A companion measure is also advancing in the Senate.

An Arizona House panel also approved a Senate-passed bill to legalize psilocybin service centers where people could receive the psychedelic in a medically supervised setting.

The Vermont Senate gave initial approval to a bill to establish a working group to study whether and how to allow therapeutic access to psychedelics in the state.

Maine lawmakers are advancing legislation to establish a commission tasked with studying and making recommendations on regulating access to psychedelic services.

A Missouri House committee unanimously approved a bill to legalize the medical use of psilocybin by military veterans and fund studies exploring the therapeutic potential of the psychedelic.

The governor of New Mexico recently endorsed a newly enacted resolution requesting that state officials research the therapeutic potential of psilocybin and explore the creation of a regulatory framework to provide access to the psychedelic.

An Illinois senator recently introduced a bill to legalize psilocybin and allow regulated access at service centers in the state where adults could use the psychedelic in a supervised setting—with plans to expand the program to include mescaline, ibogaine and DMT.

Lawmakers in Hawaii are also continuing to advance a bill that would provide some legal protections to patients engaging in psilocybin-assisted therapy with a medical professional’s approval.

New York lawmakers also said that a bill to legalize psilocybin-assisted therapy in that state has a “real chance” of passing this year.

Bipartisan California lawmakers also recently introduced a bill to legalize psychedelic service centers where adults 21 and older could access psilocybin, MDMA, mescaline and DMT in a supervised environment with trained facilitators.

A Nevada joint legislative committee held a hearing with expert and public testimony on the therapeutic potential of substances like psilocybin in January. Law enforcement representatives also shared their concerns around legalization—but there was notable acknowledgement that some reforms should be enacted, including possible rescheduling.

The governor of Massachusetts recently promoted the testimony of activists who spoke in favor of her veterans-focused bill that would, in part, create a psychedelics work group to study the therapeutic potential of substances such as psilocybin.

Hawaii AG’s Office Explains How It Drafted A Marijuana Legalization Bill That Lawmakers Are Advancing This Session

Marijuana Moment is made possible with support from readers. If you rely on our cannabis advocacy journalism to stay informed, please consider a monthly Patreon pledge.
Become a patron at Patreon!

Kyle Jaeger is Marijuana Moment's Sacramento-based managing editor. His work has also appeared in High Times, VICE and attn.

Advertisement

Marijuana News In Your Inbox

Get our daily newsletter.

Support Marijuana Moment

Marijuana News In Your Inbox

 

Get our daily newsletter.