New York Lawmaker Files Bill To Decriminalize Psilocybin Mushrooms
A New York lawmaker is proposing to decriminalize psychedelic mushrooms in the state.
Assemblywoman Linda Rosenthal (D) introduced the reform legislation on Monday. It would amend state statute by removing psilocybin and psilocin—two of the main psychoactive ingredients in so-called magic mushrooms—from the list of controlled substances.
This is similar to a bill Rosenthal filed last year, except that the old version only covered psilocybin while the new one also includes psilocin. The measure has now been referred to the Assembly Health Committee.
A “justification” section of the legislation notes that research shows psilocybin has significant potential to help treat mental health conditions such as severe depression, anxiety and addiction. It also lists cities that have already moved to decriminalize the psychedelic and says “New York should do the same.”
“With the opportunity to positively affect the lives of millions suffering with mental health and addiction issues, this bill will decriminalize psilocybin and allow further research into the study of the drug and its beneficial uses for treatment,” it states.
The last time Rosenthal filed the legislation, it did not move out of committee. But with growing interest in the issue and a wave of cities enacting the policy change locally in recent months, advocates are optimistic that lawmakers will take decriminalization seriously this session.
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A separate proposal to decriminalize possession of all currently controlled substances is also moving through the New York legislature. That bill has been referred to the Senate Codes Committee.
This new measure is one of the latest iteration 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.
Six cities—Oakland, Santa Cruz, Ann Arbor, Washington, D.C., Somerville and Cambridge—have decriminalized possession of a broader collection plant-and fungi-based psychedelics since Denver’s move. Activists in Spokane, Washington have also recently submitted a similar reform proposal to local lawmakers.
In Oregon, voters approved historic initiatives to legalize psilocybin for therapeutic purposes and decriminalize drugs more broadly in November.
Legislators in California, Connecticut, Florida, Hawaii, Kansas, Missouri, Washington State and Virginia are also considering psychedelics and drug policy reform bills for the 2021 session.
A Republican lawmaker in Iowa introduced a bill to remove psilocybin from the list of controlled substances, which received a subcommittee hearing last week but did not advance. He also filed another piece of legislation to let seriously ill patients use psychedelic mushrooms, LSD, DMT and other drugs.
The New York psilocybin bill also comes as Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) and top lawmakers are pushing separate plans to legalize marijuana.
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Photo courtesy of Wikimedia/Mushroom Observer.