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Missouri Senators Approve Bill To Legalize Psilocybin Therapy For Veterans



A Missouri Senate committee has approved a Republican-led bill to legalize the medical use of psilocybin by military veterans and fund studies exploring the therapeutic potential of the psychedelic.

The Senate Emerging Issues Committee passed the legislation from Sen. Holly Thompson Rehder (R), with amendments, on Tuesday.

As revised, the bill 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. The veteran requirement was added in committee.

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.

There are also numerous requirements for patients to provide the state Department of Mental Health (DMH) with information about their diagnosis, the person who would be administering psilocybin and other details on the place and time of the treatment sessions. As introduced, the Department of Health and Senior Services (DHSS) would have had that oversight responsibility.

The bill was changed in committee to allow for additional qualifications to become a facilitator who could administer the psychedelic, and it now also contains training requirements for those professionals. The substitute version also contains amended language that calls for patient enrollment in studies generally rather than specifying that they be clinical trials.

Psilocybin could only be administered over a maximum of a one-year period, with the amount of the psychedelic used in that treatment capped at 150 milligrams, though qualifying patients could be also approved to continue for subsequent one-year periods.

Regulators, physicians and state agency officials would all be protected from legal consequences related to activity made lawful under the legislation.

Also, the legislation calls for DMH to provide $3 million in grants to support “research on the use and efficacy of psilocybin.” That represents a $1 million increase from the original bill. The bill was also revised to require that funding to come from the state opioid addiction treatment and recovery fund.

The measure further expands the state’s Right to Try statute to allow people with life-threatening or severely debilitating conditions to access experimental controlled substances, in addition to those with terminal illnesses as is the case under current law. It would strike language that prohibits the use of Schedule I drugs, an initial step to potentially opening up access to other substances such as additional psychedelics.

Additionally, it states that psilocybin research can be done by “an institution of higher education in this state or contract research organizations conducting trials approved by the United States Food and Drug Administration.”

The bill, SB 786, takes its lead from a separate House bill that advanced to the floor of that chamber last year but was not ultimately enacted.

A current House companion to the psilocybin bill this session was taken up during a hearing before the House Veterans Committee last month. It did not receive a vote, however, nor was it amended.

A growing number of states are pursuing psychedelics reform legislation this session, with a focus on research and therapeutic access.

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.

Learn more about our marijuana bill tracker and become a supporter on Patreon to get access.

For example, Connecticut lawmakers have revived an effort to decriminalize low-level possession of psilocybin, despite the governor’s office recently indicating that it has concerns about the psychedelics reform.

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.

Last week, a second Arizona Senate committee approved a bipartisan bill that would legalize psilocybin service centers where people could receive the psychedelic in a medically supervised setting, sending it to the floor.

Earlier this month, an Alaska Senate committee advanced a bill that would create a task force to study how to license and regulate psychedelic-assisted therapy in anticipation of eventual federal legalization of substances like MDMA and psilocybin.

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.

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

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 last month. 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.

A New York lawmaker have introduced a bill that would create a pilot program to provide psilocybin therapy to 10,000 people, focusing on military veterans and first responders, while the legislature also considers broader psychedelics reform.

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Image courtesy of Kristie Gianopulos.

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