Connect with us


Missouri Budget Bill Would Fund Psilocybin Research With $10 Million In Opioid Settlement Money



Lawmakers in Missouri’s House of Representatives have given preliminary approval to a budget bill that would spend $10 million from state opioid settlement funds on research grants to study the use of psilocybin to treat opioid use disorder.

The measure, HB 2010, underwent several amendments in the House on Tuesday and is scheduled for a third reading and likely floor vote on Thursday.

An addition made in a House committee last week would have put the $10 million toward studying the psychedelic ibogaine as a treatment for opioid use disorder, but on Tuesday on the House floor, that provision was adjusted to fund psilocybin research instead.

Rep. Cody Smith (R), the sponsor of the underlying budget bill, said the change resulted from a conversation he had with the state Department of Mental Health last week.

“They had concerns about the ibogaine research they had read, and there are concerns about the dangers involved in that research,” Smith said. “However, they are interested in the psilocybin piece. And we’ve seen many other states use their opioid settlement funds to that end.”

In the coming decades, Missouri is set to receive hundreds of millions of dollars in opioid-related settlement funds. Psychedelic medicine proponents have been working to encourage states to use those millions to fund further research into ibogaine and other entheogens.

An earlier plan to use $42 million from Kentucky’s opioid settlement fund for ibogaine research, for instance, ultimately fell through late last year after the state’s new attorney general replaced then-Kentucky Opioid Commission Chairman Bryan Hubbard, who was spearheading the ibogaine initiative, with a former Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) official. Hubbard and others have since shifted attention to other states, including Missouri and Ohio.

The short-lived addition of ibogaine to HB 2010 was the doing of Rep. Chad Perkins (R), a longtime police officer.

The provision in its current form would take a one-time $10 million deduction from the state’s Opioid Addiction Treatment and Recovery Fund and use that money to award grants to research universities in to study psilocybin as a treatment for substance use disorder.

HB 2010 (Missouri 2024) ibogaine provision

A previous version would have put $10 million toward “competitive grants to research universities to study ibogaine and its ability to treat opioid addiction,” but “ibogaine” was replaced with “psilocybin.”

If the bill passes the coming House floor vote on third reading on Thursday, it would next be transmitted to the Senate for consideration in that chamber. Advocates have indicated that further amendments to the psychedelic research language could be made there.

A Stanford University study published earlier this year found that military combat veterans with traumatic brain injury (TBI) saw “dramatic” and “life-changing” improvements in their symptoms and cognitive functioning immediately after receiving treatment with ibogaine. In response to the increased demand for research, DEA has proposed a dramatic escalation in the production quota for ibogaine and other psychedelic compounds in 2024.

A Republican congressman introduced a bill last month to direct the head of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to notify lawmakers if the agency adds a psychedelic drug to its formulary of covered prescription medicines.

Meanwhile, last 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.

The House Veterans Committee passed the legislation from Rep. Aaron McMullen (R), with amendments to align it with a Senate companion version that moved through a panel in that chamber. The measure would allow military veterans who are at least 21 and are diagnosed with a qualifying condition such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) or substance use disorders to legally access laboratory-tested psilocybin.

In order to receive legal protections under the legislation, participants would need to be enrolled, or have sought enrollment, in a study involving the psychedelic.

Lawmakers in a growing number of other states are also considering psychedelics legislation this session.

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.

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.

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

A 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.

Currently, there are no psychedelic drugs that are federally approved to prescribe as medicine. But that could soon change, as the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recently agreed to review a new drug application for MDMA-assisted therapy on an expedited basis.

At the start of this year, VA separately issued a request for applications to conduct in-depth research on the use of psychedelics to treat PTSD and depression.

In October, the agency also launched a new podcast about the future of veteran health care, and the first episode of the series focuses on the healing potential of psychedelics.

FDA also recently joined scientists at a public meeting on next steps for conducting research to develop psychedelic medicines. That came months after the agency issued historic draft guidance on psychedelics studies, providing scientists with a framework to carry out research that could lead to the development of novel medicines.

GOP Congressman Says Psychedelic Therapy With Ibogaine ‘Changed My Life’ As Lawmakers Push Military Research

Photo courtesy of Flickr/Scamperdale.

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!

Ben Adlin, a senior editor at Marijuana Moment, has been covering cannabis and other drug policy issues professionally since 2011. He was previously a senior news editor at Leafly, an associate editor at the Los Angeles Daily Journal and a Coro Fellow in Public Affairs. He lives in Washington State.


Marijuana News In Your Inbox

Get our daily newsletter.

Support Marijuana Moment

Marijuana News In Your Inbox


Get our daily newsletter.