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Maine Lawmakers Send Governor Bill To Create Psychedelics Commission That Would Explore Regulated Access



Maine lawmakers have sent a bill to the governor that would establish a commission tasked with studying and making recommendations on regulating access to psychedelic services. It would specifically examine how to create a “legal framework for the therapeutic use of psychedelic drugs, including but not limited to psilocybin.”

Days after the Senate approved the legislation from Sen. Donna Bailey (D), the House passed it on a voice vote on Tuesday, sending it to the desk of Gov. Janet Mills (D).

The measure was significantly watered down in a committee from an initial version that would have legalized psilocybin and allowed adults to access the psychedelic at licensed facilities.

Members instead opted to create a “Commission To Study Pathways For Creating a Psilocybin Services Program in Maine” to further explore the reform instead—a disappointment for advocates who pushed to provide people with legal access sooner.

The 13-member panel under the bill would consist of legislative appointees, health experts, a military veteran, academics and people with experience in psychedelics policy.

It would be responsible for reviewing “medical, psychological and scientific studies, research and other information on the safety and efficacy of psilocybin in treating behavioral health conditions,” as well as how other states have approached regulating psychedelics access.

Bailey, the bill sponsor, filed a similar version of the psilocybin access proposal in 2022 that passed the Senate but stalled out in the House.

Under the newly approved bill, the commission would also need to lay out the steps that Maine would need to take to establish its own regulatory framework for psychedelic substances, “including but not limited to psilocybin.”

Further, it’s being asked to develop a “long-term strategic plan for ensuring that psilocybin services will become and remain a safe, accessible, and affordable therapeutic option for all persons who are 21 years of age or older and for whom psilocybin services may be appropriate.”

Finally, members would need to “advise and make recommendations to the legislature regarding a legal framework for the therapeutic use of psychedelic drugs.” The commission would be authorized to meet six times and would be mandated to deliver its report to the legislature by November 6, 2024.

Rep. David Boyer (R), a vocal supporter of drug policy reform, told Marijuana Moment in a phone interview last month that the amended legislation still “represents progress, but it wasn’t as much as myself and others would have hoped for, with the evidence that was brought to our committee of how psilocybin can help lots of different people for lots of different reasons.”

He also said he was optimistic about the bill’s prospects and expects Mills would either sign it or allow it to become law without her signature.

Meanwhile, Maine lawmakers recently gutted a bill to decriminalize drug possession and invest in treatment resources, amending it in committee to simply create a task force to study the proposed reform.

Last month, the Judiciary Committee approved a bill to let people apply to have their marijuana conviction records sealed, but defeated separate legislation to make the relief automatic.

Lawmakers in January also rejected a bill that would have fully removed marijuana from the state’s criminal code, including a repeal of mandatory minimum sentences for certain activities involving unlawful amounts of cannabis. It also would have required automatic expungements of prior marijuana convictions.

Meanwhile, lawmakers in a growing number of other states are also considering psychedelics legislation this session.

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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For example, the Maryland Senate and House of Delegates have 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, sending the proposal to Gov Wes Moore (D). It would be charged specifically with ensuring “broad, equitable and affordable access to psychedelic substances” in the state.

In Missouri last week, House lawmakers adjusted a proposed budget bill to include $10 million to study psilocybin as a possible treatment for substance use disorder. An earlier version of the bill would have put that money toward ibogaine research instead.

Vermont’s Senate recently passed a measure that would establish a working group to study whether and how to allow therapeutic access to psychedelics in the state. If the bill is enacted, a report from the working group would be due to the legislature in November with recommendations on how to regulate the substances.

The Indiana governor also 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.

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.

A Connecticut joint legislative panel approved a bill to decriminalize possession of psilocybin.

Alaska lawmakers are considering legislation to create a task for to study how to regulate access to psychedelics following federal approval.

bipartisan bill to legalize psychedelic service centers in California was recently amended in a number of different ways as supporters prepare for an expected committee hearing this month.

The governor of New Mexico has 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 committee also recently held a hearing 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..

Lawmakers in Hawaii are also considering 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.

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. Last month a Massachusetts joint legislative committee held a hearing to discuss an initiative that would legalize psychedelics that may appear on the November ballot if lawmakers decline to independently enact it first.

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Image courtesy of Kristie Gianopulos.

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