Psychedelics Bills Filed In Four More States As 2023 Reform Efforts Heat Up
Another series of psychedelics reform bills have been introduced in states from New Hampshire to Hawaii, building on the movement that’s seen exceptional activity in the 2023 session.
The proposed legislation ranges in scope, but legislators across the aisle are making their interest in the issue clear this year.
More than a dozen psychedelics bills have been filed in legislatures throughout the U.S. in recent weeks—from modest proposals to establish advisory boards that would study the issue to broader ones that would legalize substances like psilocybin for therapeutic use.
Here’s a rundown of the latest proposals since Marijuana Moment’s last roundup of psychedelics legislation:
Numerous psychedelics bills have been introduced in the Aloha State.
Sen. Ron Kouchi (D) filed a bill to create a “therapeutic psilocybin working group” that would be tasked with studying the “medicinal and therapeutic effects of psilocybin or psilocybin-based products” for conditions such as anxiety, depression and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
The body would also need to look into the efficacy of therapeutic psilocybin programs that are being implemented in Colorado and Oregon.
Members would have to “determine and develop a long-term strategic plan to ensure the safe availability and accessibility of affordable, therapeutic psilocybin or psilocybin-based products for adults twenty-one years of age or older.”
Rep. Amy Perruso (D) is sponsoring companion legislation in the House.
A Senate concurrent resolution from Sen. Stanley Chang (D) would similarly request a “Medicinal Psilocybin and Psilocin Working Group” to study local, state and federal laws on the entheogens, existing scientific literature on the therapeutic value of the fungi and possible the medical protocol for administering psilocybin.
The whereas section of the resolution says that “studies conducted by nationally and internationally recognized medical institutions indicate that psilocybin and psilocin have shown efficacy, tolerability, and safety in the treatment of a variety of mental health conditions, including addiction, depression, anxiety disorders, and end-of-life psychological distress.”
It adds that “Hawaii has a shortage of mental health professionals and should actively consider novel, innovative, and safe solutions to treat its citizens.”
There’s also an identical Senate resolution from the same sponsor.
Rep. Adrian Tam (D) introduced legislation that would establish a “beneficial treatments advisory council” that would be required to “review, evaluate, and recommend new medicinal treatments for mental health” such as psilocybin and MDMA.
This measure nearly mirrors the Senate bill from Kouchi, except that the advisory council would need to explore the laws, science and possible therapeutic of MDMA in addition to psilocybin. There’s also a Senate version of this legislation from Sen. Chris Lee (D).
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A bill from Rep. Matthew Santonastaso (R) would simply remove the psychedelic DMT from the list of controlled substances under state statute.
The proposal states that “individuals in possession of the drug would no longer be subject to the criminal penalties imposed by that statute.”
“There is no method to determine how many fewer charges will be brought as a result of the bill,” an analysis says.
The House Criminal Justice and Public Safety Committee recently held a hearing on the legislation but did not vote on advancement.
A Republican New Hampshire lawmaker also recently filed a bill to legalize the possession and use of psychedelics like psilocybin and LSD by adults 21 and older.
Sen. Nathalia Fernandez (D) has filed a bill to legalize psilocybin therapy for patients with qualifying conditions.
Under the proposal, people could receive psilocybin treatment from a certified facilitator in a clinical setting, or at their home if they’re unable to travel. Patients and facilitators would receive protections against state-level prosecution.
A Psilocybin Assisted Therapy (PAT) grant program would be established to “provide veterans, first responders, retired first responders, and low income individuals with the funding necessary to receive psilocybin and/or MDMA assisted therapy.”
The bills calls for $5 million in funding, “or so much thereof as may be necessary,” to support the grant program.
The state Department of Agriculture and Markets would launch and oversee a pilot program to cultivate psilocybin mushrooms that facilitators could access, with the intent of lowering costs.
“Struggles with mental health ailments like PTSD, depression, anxiety, and substance abuse disorder are often a major disruptor to a person’s livelihood,” a sponsor memo attached to the bill says. “Psilocybin assisted therapies have been called a ‘breakthrough therapy’ by the FDA for providing people facing these mental ailments unbelievable response rates and even high remission rates.”
“This treatment gives a promising alternative to a crisis that is only being exacerbated in today’s society,” it continues. “As a State, it is our duty to use every tool at our disposal to alleviate that suffering for New Yorkers.”
In Utah, Senate Minority Leader Luz Escamilla (D) has announced plans to soon file legislation to legalize psilocybin for people with serious mental health conditions.
The legislation is expected to allow people with PTSD, anxiety or depression to receive the psychedelic treatment in clinical settings with a professional’s recommendation.
“There’s enough evidence it can help in very specific mental health conditions,” Escamilla told FOX 13 News. “We want to bring it in a controlled manner.”
In West Virginia, Rep. Kayla Young (D) filed a bill that would simply remove psilocybin, marijuana and THC from the state’s list of controlled substances.
These are some of the latest examples of psychedelics reform legislation that lawmakers across the country are pursuing this year.
Legislators in Connecticut, Massachusetts and Oklahoma also recently filed bills to revise laws governing entheogenic plants and fungi.
In a setback, Virginia lawmakers rejected a bill this month that would have allow people with serious mental health conditions to possess and use psilocybin mushrooms with a doctor’s recommendation.
Meanwhile, a Republican Missouri lawmaker has filed a bill that would provide therapeutic access to psilocybin for people with serious mental health conditions.
New York Assemblymember Linda Rosenthal (D) pre-filed legislation late last month to legalize certain psychedelics like psilocybin and ibogaine for adults 21 and older. Gov. Kathy Hochul (D) also recently signed a bill mandating that the state immediately reschedule or deschedule Schedule I drugs like MDMA and psilocybin if they’re reclassified under federal law.
Bipartisan Washington State senators also recently unveiled a revised bill to legalize psilocybin services for adults.
There are also psychedelics reform efforts underway in Arizona, California, Colorado, Illinois, Minnesota, Montana, New Jersey and Oregon.
Oregon voters approved a historic ballot initiative to legalize psilocybin for therapeutic use in 2020, and Colorado voters passed a broad psychedelics legalization and psilocybin services measure during the November election.
An analysis published in an American Medical Association journal last month concluded that a majority of states will legalize psychedelics by 2037, based on statistical modeling of policy trends.
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