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New York Bill Would Create State-Sponsored Psychedelics Research Institute

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A New York lawmaker introduced a bill on Tuesday that would require the state to establish an institute to research the therapeutic potential of psychedelics.

The legislation, sponsored by Assemblywoman Linda Rosenthal (D), would create a state-sanctioned research institute to explore the therapeutic potential of certain psychedelics and also require regulators to issue recommendations on the medical value of such substances in the treatment of conditions such as depression and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

“There is growing evidence to suggest that psychedelics, including psilocybin, can be a useful tool in treating symptoms of depression, anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder and to help individuals recover from a substance use disorder,” a memo from Rosenthal about the the bill states. “Psychedelics provide a host of benefits without the same risk of overdose or dependency that other medications may provide.”

“This bill would provide New York State the opportunity to research the use of psychedelics and the many benefits they can provide,” it continues.


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The institute, contracted by the state, would be mandated to investigate the medical potential of substances including “ibogaine, LSD, psilocybin and certain other psychedelic drugs” in the treatment of addiction for “people struggling with a substance use disorder, including methamphetamine, opioids, and other addictive substances.”

Researchers would be required to coordinate clinical trials into the therapeutic potential of these substances, develop training programs for professionals to conduct the research and establish an advisory board to “provide oversight in proposed clinical trials of psychedelic compounds, particularly to assist principal investigators at sites lacking formal institutional review board oversight.”

Interestingly, the legislation stipulates that, if state regulators are unable to obtain requisite amounts of psychedelics through a licensing agreement with the federal Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) due to the federal agency’s “refusal or failure” to cooperate with the state program, they must contract with a facility “with the available source and obtain the drugs without a DEA license.”

The legislation, which has been referred to the Assembly Standing Health Committee, is the latest piece of psychedelics-specific legislation that’s been filed by Rosenthal this session.

The legislator also introduced reform legislation in March that would amend state statute by removing psilocybin and psilocin—two of the main psychoactive ingredients in so-called magic mushrooms—from the state’s list of controlled substances.

A separate proposal to decriminalize possession of all currently controlled substances was also introduced in the New York legislature this session.

New York City mayoral candidate Andrew Yang released a veterans plan last week that calls for legal medical access to psychedelics such as psilocybin and MDMA.

Meanwhile, in Texas, lawmakers recently sent a bill to similarly require the state to study the therapeutic potential of psychedelics to their governor’s desk.

The California Senate on Tuesday approved a bill that would legalize the possession of psychedelics, including LSD, DMT and ibogaine.

This New York measure is one of the latest iterations of a the decriminalization movement that’s evolved since Denver became the first city in the U.S. to decriminalize psilocybin mushrooms in 2019 via a citizen initiative.

Seven cities—OaklandSanta CruzAnn ArborWashington, D.C.Somerville, Cambridge and Northampton—have decriminalized possession of a broader collection of plant-and fungi-based psychedelics since Denver’s move.

In Oregon, voters approved historic initiatives to legalize psilocybin for therapeutic purposes and decriminalize drugs more broadly in November. That action was referenced in the New York legislation.

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Photo courtesy of Wikimedia/Workman.

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