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Maryland Senate Approves Psychedelics Task Force Bill To Study ‘Equitable And Affordable’ Access To Psilocybin And DMT



The Maryland Senate has unanimously approved a bill to create a psychedelics task force to study and make recommendations on a possible regulatory framework for substances such as psilocybin and DMT. It would be charged specifically with ensuring “broad, equitable and affordable access to psychedelic substances” in the state.

Three days after the measure from Sen. Brian Feldman (D) advanced through committee, the full chamber passed it in a 45-0 vote on Monday, the legislative crossover deadline.

During the Senate Finance Committee hearing last Friday, members replaced the language of the legislation with that of an amended companion version that cleared the full House of Delegates last week.

The legislation would establish a “Task Force on Responsible Use of Natural Psychedelic Substances” that would be overseen by the Maryland Cannabis Administration (MCA).

Members of the task force would be required to examine and make recommendations on issues such as “permitting requirements, including requirements regarding education and safety,” “access to treatment and regulated support” and “production of natural psychedelic substances.”

There are also provisions tasking the body with looking into expunging prior convictions for psychedelics and releasing people incarcerated for such offenses, along with a mandate to make recommendations on potential civil penalties for “nonviolent infractions involving the planting, cultivating, purchasing, transporting, distributing, or possessing of or other engagement with natural psychedelic substances.”

Under the bill, the governor, legislative leaders and various state agencies would be responsible for appointing the 17-member task force that would specifically consider policies around psilocybin, psilocin, dimethyltryptamine and mescaline (not derived from peyote). Under a recent amendment, the legislation would also give members discretion to put more psychedelics under review as they see fit.

The body’s recommendations would be due to the governor and legislature by July 31, 2025. The legislation would sunset after two and a half years.

The House version as originally introduced contained more prescriptive requirements to explore and issue recommendations on aspects of psychedelics policy such as “systems to support statewide online sales of natural psychedelic substances with home delivery” and “testing and packaging requirements for products containing natural psychedelic substances with clear and accurate labeling of potency.” That language was taken out in an amendment and also did not appear in the original Senate version as drafted.

The task force legislation is advancing about two years after a different law took effect creating a state fund to provide “cost-free” access to psychedelics like psilocybin, MDMA and ketamine for military veterans suffering from PTSD and traumatic brain injury.

A number of state legislatures are pursuing psychedelics policy reform this session, with a focus on therapeutic 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.

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For example, the Indiana legislature recently sent a bill to the governor’s desk that includes provisions to fund clinical research trials into psilocybin.

A panel of Vermont lawmakers moved forward with planned amendments to a psychedelics bill on Friday, scaling back a proposal that originally would have legalized possession and use of psilocybin in the state to instead merely establish a working group that would study whether and how to allow therapeutic access to psychedelics.

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.

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 hearing on a bill to decriminalize possession of psilocybin this month.

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.

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Photo courtesy of Wikimedia/Workman.

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