The governor of Nevada has signed a bill to create a new working group to study psychedelics and develop a plan to allow regulated access for therapeutic purposes.
Gov. Joe Lombardo (R) approved the legislation from Sen. Rochelle Nguyen (D) on Monday, just one week after it cleared the legislature.
As introduced, the measure would have legalized psilocybin and promoted research into the psychedelic, as well as encouraged studies of MDMA—but it was significantly scaled back in a Senate committee.
The new law created by the revised measure focuses on forming a Psychedelic Medicines Working Group to examine the use of entheogens “in medicinal, therapeutic, and improved wellness.”
The sponsor had acknowledged that the legislation would likely be amended during an initial committee hearing in March, stating that she would be amenable to changes and primarily wanted to initiate a conversation in the legislature about psychedelics reform.
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Under the bill as enacted, a 15-member working group will be established under the state Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), tasked with studying the science of psychedelics “including but not limited to” psilocybin and psilocin in overall wellness and the treatment of mental health conditions such as PTSD, substance use disorder and major depressive disorder, and during end of life care.
The group will further need to look at federal, state and local laws governing the therapeutic use of psychedelics and then develop an “actionable plan on how to enable access to therapeutic entheogens and compounds…that are safe, accessible, and affordable.”
They will be required to submit a report to the legislature with their findings by December 31, 2024.
Members of the working group will include the state attorney general, director of HHS, director of veterans services and president of the Nevada Board of Pharmacology, or their respective designees. Another four members will be appointed by majority and minority leaders of each legislative chamber. Seven more members who meet certain criteria will be appointed by the governor.
The governor will need to select a military veteran with personal experience with psychedelics to treat post-traumatic stress disorder, a licensed psychiatrist or psychologist with a background in substance misuse treatment, a federally registered psychedelics researcher and a representative of a Nevada tribal government, among others.
“The passage of SB-242 is a historic step forward and demonstrates that Nevada is ready to join the conversation about how we can bring healing to our communities and state through the use of psychedelic medicines,” Kate Cotter, executive director of the Nevada Coalition for Psychedelic Medicines (NCPM), said in a press release. “We look forward to assisting the Working Group in any way we can to enable access to the potential healing benefits of psilocybin and other entheogens.”
Nevada is joining a rapidly growing list of states where legislators are pursuing psychedelics reform this session as interest in the therapeutic potential into entheogenic substances expands.
For example, the Rhode Island House of Representatives approved a bill this week to legalize possession and cultivation of psilocybin mushrooms, while taking steps to prepare for regulated therapeutic access pending federal reform.
The governor of Minnesota signed a large-scale bill last month that includes similar provisions to establish a psychedelics task force meant to prepare the state for possible legalization.
A California bill to legalize the possession of certain psychedelics and facilitated use of the substances passed the Senate last month.
Colorado Gov. Jared Polis (D) signed a bill last month to create a regulatory framework for legal psychedelics under a voter-approved initiative.
Last month, a North Carolina House committee approved a bill to create a $5 million grant program to support research into the therapeutic potential of psilocybin and MDMA and to create a Breakthrough Therapies Research Advisory Board to oversee the effort.
A Washington State bill to promote research into psilocybin and create a pilot program to provide therapeutic access to the psychedelic for mental health treatment was signed by the governor.
Back in Nevada, the legislature also recently approved a resolution urging Congress to federally legalize marijuana.
Lawmakers have also sent the governor a large-scale marijuana reform bill that would more than double the personal possession limit, consolidate licensing rules and broaden eligibility for participation in the market by people with prior felony convictions.
Photo courtesy of Dick Culbert.