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Illinois Senators Take Up Bill To Legalize Psilocybin And Create Service Centers In Committee Hearing



An Illinois Senate committee held a hearing on Thursday to discuss 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.

The legislation from Sen. Rachel Ventura (D)—titled the Compassionate Use and Research of Entheogens (CURE) Act—was taken up by the Senate Executive Committee, with the sponsor and advocates testifying in favor of the reform.

“Psilocybin has so much potential to help Illinoisans from any walk of life,” Ventura said in a press release. “My aspiration is for plant medicines to shed its stigma and be recognized for its safe and beneficial qualities. The CURE Act is dedicated to bringing relief to those suffering with mental illnesses, PTSD, substance abuse and more and offers a real life changing solution to the mental health epidemic our state is suffering from.”

The bill would remove psilocybin and psilocyn from the state’s controlled substances list and establish an Illinois Psilocybin Advisory Board under the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation (IDFPR) to make recommendations on licensing for service centers and training programs for psilocybin facilitators.

The advisory board would also be responsible for “preparing proposed rules” to add mescaline (not derived from peyote), ibogaine (not derived from iboga) and DMT to the list of entheogens that would be legalized and regulated under the program. They would need to do so by July 1, 2027.

Dave Franco, a retired Chicago police officer and representative of the advocacy group Law Enforcement Action Partnership (LEAP), said the organization “recognizes this bill as nothing short of life saving.”

“The benefits for mental and behavioral health can also have a sizable impact on community and public safety,” he said.

While the bill states that ones of its purposes is to institute “a public health and harm reduction approach to natural medicines by removing criminal penalties for the possession of some entheogens for personal use by adults who are 18 years of age or older,” that appears limited to removing psilocybin from the banned substances list for now.

version of the CURE Act was introduced in the Illinois House by Rep. La Shawn Ford (D) last year. Ventura and Ford are now collaborating on the proposal.

“Psilocybin and other psychedelic medicines have demonstrated the potential to allow people to deeply process trauma and grief and heal from anxiety, depression, and substance use disorders,” Katie Sullivan, co-founder of Modern Compassionate Care, said.

“The CURE Act was crafted with the input of healthcare providers and advocates to provide a framework to deliver this breakthrough therapeutic option safely and ethically, while centering the needs of patients and our communities,” she said. “My hope is that our legislators will consider this a vote of conscience and allow our citizens access to this life-changing treatment.”

The legislation would also provide for the automatic expungement of prior psilocybin possession convictions, starting 180 days after enactment.

Psilocybin products that are used at the service centers would be subject to a 15 percent tax. Ventura estimates that the average cost of a product for consumer will be $35 to $40 per product.

The state Department of Agriculture would oversee psilocybin production, while the Department of Public Health would be responsible for carrying out education-related initiatives.

“I speak daily to people from all walks of life who are desperate and looking for their own last-ditch effort to find healing,” Jean Lacy, founder of the Illinois Psychedelic Society, said. “These are other mothers, veterans, teachers, and people from all walks of life.”

Illinois is one of a growing numbers of states where lawmakers are pursuing psychedelics reform this session, with a focus on research and access in a therapeutic context.

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.

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Last week, for example, the governor of Indiana signed a bill that includes provisions to fund clinical research trials on the therapeutic benefits of psilocybin.

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.

Utah lawmakers earlier this month unanimously approved a Republican-led bill to authorize a pilot program for hospitals to administer psilocybin and MDMA as an alternative treatment option, sending it to the governor.

Vermont lawmakers are considering legislation to establish a working group to study whether and how to allow therapeutic access to psychedelics in the state.

Also this month, 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.

Connecticut lawmakers held a recent hearing on a bill to decriminalize possession of psilocybin.

Vermont legislative panel continued its consideration this month of a bill that would legalize psilocybin in the state and establish a work group on how to further regulate psychedelics for therapeutic use.

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.

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.

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Photo courtesy of Wikimedia/Workman.

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