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Rhode Island Lawmakers Approve Bill To Legalize Psilocybin And Prepare For Regulated Therapeutic Access



A Rhode Island House committee has approved a bill that would legalize possession and cultivation of psilocybin mushrooms, while taking steps to prepare for regulated therapeutic access pending federal reform.

The House Judiciary Committee, which held an initial hearing on the legislation from Rep. Brandon Potter (D) in March, passed the bill with amendments in a 12-2 vote on Tuesday.

The next stop for the bill will be the House floor.

Meanwhile, a Senate companion version from Sen. Megan Kallman (D) received a hearing in the chamber’s respective committee last week, but members agreed to hold it for further study before potentially scheduling a vote in that chamber.

The legislation would remove criminal penalties for possessing and cultivating up to one ounce of psilocybin for personal use, and people would also be able to share that amount with other adults—beginning on July 1.

It further says that, if the federal Food and Drug Administration (FDA) reschedules the psychedelic, which the agency has already designated as a breakthrough therapy, then the Rhode Island Department of Health “shall establish rules and regulations pertaining to cultivation, distribution and medical prescription.”

In the event that FDA expands its access program, the state department would also need to authorize locations to administer psilocybin to “patients with a serious or life-threatening mental or behavioral health disorder, who are without access to effective mental or behavioral health medication.”

Before passing the bill, members of the committee adopted an amended version of the bill that adds a sunset clause of July 1, 2025.

The revision would also require the state attorney general to submit a report to legislative leadership in both chambers before the measure sunsets that details the number of violations that were issued over psilocybin possession, cultivation and distribution.

Also, the head of the health department would need to submit a separate report to lawmakers that looks at FDA psilocybin scheduling and “permitted use for the treatment of mental or behavioral health disorders.”

There are some expectations that FDA is positioned to approve the therapeutic use of psilocybin, as well as MDMA, possibly within the next year or two. And health officials in the Biden administration are “exploring” creating a task force focused on psychedelics in anticipation of possible policy reform.

Marijuana Moment is tracking more than 1,000 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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In the interim, lawmakers in a growing number of states are actively working to advance psychedelics reform.

For example, Nevada’s legislature recently sent a bill to the governor that would create a new working group to study psychedelics and develop a plan to allow regulated access for therapeutic purposes.

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 Rhode Island, the governor signed a bill into law last year legalizing adult-use marijuana, and the state’s first licensed retailers opened in December.

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