The psychedelics reform movement is seeing even more psychedelics reform developments, with bill introductions and votes in another set of states as lawmakers across the country continue to advance the issue.
The latest iterations are coming out of Iowa, Missouri, New Hampshire and Utah.
2023 sessions have proved exceptionally active for psychedelics policy reform, with legislatures across the country considering a wide range of proposals amid growing interest in the therapeutic potential of entheogenic substances like psilocybin and ending the practice of criminalizing people over natural plants and fungi.
Here’s an overview of the latest state-level psychedelics developments:
Rep. Jeff Shipley (R) is reviving a bill to remove psilocybin and psilocyn from the state’s list of controlled substances, effectively legalizing the psychedelics.
In 2021, the lawmaker brought an identical measure before a legislative committee. It didn’t advance, but the bill helped set the tone for what’s become an expanding national conversation about ending psychedelics criminalization.
Shipley told Marijuana Moment that he’s “hoping to schedule a subcommittee for the bill later this month.”
The legislator first filed a bill to get the policy change enacted in 2019, and then pursued the idea again the next year as an amendment to a spending bill. The standalone legislation died in committee and the amendment was defeated on the floor.
Sen. Thompson Rehder (R) introduced a bill on Thursday that’s meant to promote research into the therapeutic potential of “alternative medicine and therapies,” including psilocybin, MDMA and ketamine in the treatment of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), treatment-resistant depression, substance use disorder and in end-of-life care.
The legislation calls for the state Department of Health and Senior Services (DHSS) to collaborate with a Missouri-based hospital operated by a university, as well as a medical center operated by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), to carry out the research.
Through those partnerships, the department would be required to conduct clinical trials into the medical efficacy of the psychedelics and other alternative therapies for the listed conditions and also carry out a review of the existing scientific literature concerning the safety and efficacy of, and patient access to, MDMA, psilocybin and ketamine for such treatment.
DHSS would further need to submit reports on its findings to the governor, lieutenant governor and legislature. The bill provides legal protections for officials and clinical trial participants.
Meanwhile, another Missouri lawmaker, Rep. Tony Lovasco (R), filed a bill last month that would provide therapeutic access to psilocybin for people with serious mental health conditions.
A New Hampshire House committee on Friday declined to support a bill that would’ve removed the psychedelic DMT from the state’s list of controlled substance and another that would’ve repealed the Controlled Drug Act altogether.
The legislation will still advance to the floor under the state’s rules, but the panel’s action to oppose the measures in lopsided votes signals that they will likely not be enacted this session.
There was some substantive discussion about the state’s drug policy in the House Criminal Justice and Public Safety Committee during Friday’s executive session. But in the end, members voted to deem the DMT bill inexpedient to legislate in a 14-6 vote. The broader proposal to scrap the state’s drug code faced the same fate in a 17-3 vote.
In addition to repealing the state drug control statute, starting in 2025, the latter legislation would call for the establishment of a committee to “study the statutory and policy changes to state law necessary to implement” the reform.
“I am completely for decriminalization and legalization,” one member said ahead of the vote. “I do feel like it needs to be done in a specific way. It needs to be done in a in a responsible way.”
With respect to the DMT measure, one member who supported the reform said during Friday’s hearing that “adults should be able to make the decision have to be stupid to be weird or to have a bad trip if they so choose.”
Separately, Rep. Kevin Verville (R) filed a bill last month to legalize the possession and use of psychedelics like psilocybin and LSD by adults 21 and older.
That legislation stipulates that the “possession or use of a hallucinogenic drug by a person 21 years of age or older shall not be an offense.” It would also specifically reduce penalties for LSD manufacturing and possession by people under 21.
Senate Minority Leader Luz Escamilla (D) has introduced a measure to legalize psilocybin therapy for adults.
Patients 21 and older would be able to access psilocybin treatment in a clinical setting if they’ve been diagnosed with depression, treatment-resistant anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) or are receiving hospice care.
That distinguishes the reform proposal from those that have been enacted in Colorado and Oregon, where there aren’t limited sets of conditions that make people eligible for psilocybin treatment.
Under the Utah legislation, the Department of Agriculture and Food (UDAF) would be responsible for regulating production facilities that propagate the mushrooms, and the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) would be tasked with registering “psilocybin medical providers and therapy providers.”
Separately, the governor of Utah signed a bill last year to create a task force to study and make recommendations on the therapeutic potential of psychedelic drugs and possible regulations for their lawful use.
Marijuana Moment is tracking hundreds of 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.
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These are just some of the most recent examples of this issue being raised by lawmakers of diverse political backgrounds in 2023. More than a dozen psychedelics bills have been filed in legislatures throughout the U.S. over the past few weeks.
Just this week, the Virginia Senate approved a bill to establish a statewide psilocybin advisory board while moving the psychedelic to a lower schedule under state statute.
In a setback, Virginia lawmakers rejected another bill last month that would have allow people with serious mental health conditions to possess and use psilocybin mushrooms with a doctor’s recommendation.
A bill to create a state working group to study the therapeutic benefits of psilocybin separately advanced in the Hawaii Senate recently with the support of the governor’s office.
Legislators in Connecticut, Massachusetts and Oklahoma have also filed bills to revise laws governing entheogenic plants and fungi.
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.
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.
Photo elements courtesy of carlosemmaskype and Apollo.