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Indiana House Panel Approves Psilocybin Research Bill That Already Passed Full Senate



An Indiana House committee has approved a Republican-led bill that would fund clinical research trials into psilocybin that has already cleared the full Senate.

After adopting one amendment, the House Public Health Committee advanced the legislation in a 12-1 vote on Tuesday.

“This is not fringe science at this point, so my original intent was to elevate this potential,” Sen. Ed Charbonneau (R), the bill’s sponsor, told panel members ahead of the vote. “It creates hope for people that currently are in hopeless situations.”

“I think it’s important that we get clear right up front that this bill does not make anything legal that’s illegals today,” he said, highlighting the research-focused nature of the legislation.

Rep. Brad Barrett (R), who chairs the committee, said he was initially “incredibly skeptical” of psilocybin’s therapeutic potential but was moved by testimony he heard during an interim study session on the issue that lawmakers convened last year and “left there with the same kind of feeling” that Charbonneau expressed about the psychedelic’s ability to help people.

Last week, the Senate passed the psychedelics measure in a 47-1 vote. That followed the proposal being passed unanimously by the Senate Appropriations Committee and the Health and Provider Services Committee.

If the psychedelics measure becomes law, the measure would create a therapeutic psilocybin research fund “for the purpose of providing financial assistance to research institutions in Indiana to study…the use of psilocybin to treat mental health and other medical conditions.” Any research receiving funding under the bill would need to include veterans and first responders regarding in the study sample.

Researchers would need to apply to the state Department of Health to receive funds to study the substance as a treatment for conditions, several of which are specified in the bill as introduced: PTSD “with a focus on treating the disorder in combat veterans and first responders,” anxiety, depression, bipolar disorder, chronic pain and migraines.

Before approving the bill on Tuesday, the House committee adopted an amendment to add alcohol use disorder and tobacco use disorder to list of conditions as well.

The studies supported by the legislation would need to “compare the efficacy of psilocybin as a treatment for mental health and other medical conditions…with the efficacy of other current treatment options.”

The bill would become effective immediately upon passage, as it was filed as an emergency measure. Officials would need to establish a process to administer the fund and process applications by July 1.

House panel members heard testimony from a number of people who have directly benefited from psychedelic-assisted therapy as well as from former Indiana State Health Commissioner Richard Feldman.

“Utilizing a psychedelic drug for the treatment of emotional disorders may seem pretty crazy at first consideration,” Feldman, who now represents the Indiana Academy of Family Physicians, told the committee. “But recent studies have shown impressive results, conducted by respected institutions, reported in mainstream medical journals.”

Marijuana Moment is tracking more than 1,000 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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A state-created study committee recently recommended that lawmakers authorize a psilocybin pilot program to research psychedelic-assisted therapy for mental health during this year’s legislative session, advising that “the Indiana General Assembly take an approach that strikes a balance between access, research, and prudence.”

While psilocybin is classified as a Schedule I controlled substance at the federal level, the body said, the “prevailing view is that psilocybin should not be a Schedule I drug and has proven medical benefits.”

Charbonneau said late last year that he was already in touch with people at Indiana University Health and Purdue University about psychedelic research.

“I have had discussions with both IU Health and with Purdue University,” he said. “I spoke to 150 pharmacy students at Purdue, and afterward had a chance to speak with the dean of the pharmacy program…and he texted Dr. Jerome Adams, who’s now at Purdue University.”

Adams, a former U.S. surgeon general under then-President Donald Trump, joined Purdue in October 2021. While he’s said little publicly about psychedelic-assisted therapy, he’s previously claimed that “there’s no such thing as medical marijuana.”

Ahead of the Senate floor vote on the psilocybin bill, the Democratic Senate minority leader had filed a 24-page amendment that would have inserted provisions into the bill to create a medical marijuana program in Indiana. Patients with cancer, multiple sclerosis, PTSD and other conditions would have been able to get doctors recommendations allowing them to legally possess eight ounces of cannabis and grow up to 12 marijuana plants at home.

The top Democrat did not force a vote on his amendment, however.

Indiana lawmakers have been considering marijuana legalization but so far have yet to take concrete steps toward the reform in the GOP-controlled legislature. Another interim study group heard testimony around the possibility of decriminalizing simple cannabis possession in November, but the group did not make any specific recommendations.

In an op-ed for Marijuana Moment, Rep. Blake Johnson (D) wrote recently that Indiana is “falling far behind” on marijuana as its neighboring states legalize. “I implore my fellow legislators to listen to the statistics. It’s time for Indiana to sow the seeds and reap the economic benefits of cannabis,” he wrote.

One supportive lawmaker—Rep. Justin Moed (D)—managed to force a vote on marijuana legalization in the House last year, but Republicans rejected the proposal.

New Mexico Senate Committee Unanimously Approves Psilocybin Therapy And Research Resolution

Image courtesy of Kristie Gianopulos.

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Tom Angell is the editor of Marijuana Moment. A 20-year veteran in the cannabis law reform movement, he covers the policy and politics of marijuana. Separately, he founded the nonprofit Marijuana Majority. Previously he reported for and MassRoots, and handled media relations and campaigns for Law Enforcement Against Prohibition and Students for Sensible Drug Policy.


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