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Second Missouri House Panel Approves Bill To Legalize Psilocybin Therapy For Veterans



A second committee in Missouri’s House of Representatives has advanced legislation that would legalize the medical use of psilocybin by military veterans and fund future studies exploring the therapeutic potential of the psychedelic.

The bill, HB 1830, would in its current form allow military veterans who are at least 21 and are diagnosed with a qualifying condition such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) or substance use disorders to legally access laboratory-tested psilocybin. Meanwhile, aseparate budget proposal that would spend $10 million from state opioid settlement funds to study the use of psilocybin to treat opioid use disorder passed the full House last month.

In order to receive legal protections under the veterans legislation that cleared the House Rules – Regulatory Oversight Committee on Tuesday on a 5-3 vote, participants would need to be enrolled, or have sought enrollment, in a study involving the psychedelic.

Last month the House Veterans Committee passed the legislation from Rep. Aaron McMullen (R) after adopting amendments to align it with a Senate companion version that previously moved through a panel in that chamber.

Rep. Rachel Proudie (D) said at Tuesday’s hearing that she’s in favor of the proposal, calling it “forward thinking…in a world where Big Pharma is certainly on the hook for getting the country hooked on opioids.”

“Finding other methods and means to medicate in more natural ways is something that is certainly of interest to me as an individual who suffers with lupus and severe depression,” she said. “For that reason, I am in strong support of this bill.”

The measure contains numerous requirements for patients to provide the state Department of Mental Health (DMH) with information about their diagnosis, the person who would be administering psilocybin and other details on the place and time of the treatment sessions.

Psilocybin could only be administered over a maximum of a one-year period, with the amount of the psychedelic used in that treatment capped at 150 milligrams, though qualifying patients could be also approved to continue for subsequent one-year periods.

The legislation also calls for DMH to provide funding to support research into the therapeutic potential of psilocybin.

The measure further expands the state’s Right to Try statute to allow people with life-threatening or severely debilitating conditions to access experimental controlled substances, in addition to those with terminal illnesses as is the case under current law. It would strike language that prohibits the use of Schedule I drugs, an initial step to potentially opening up access to other substances such as additional psychedelics.

Additionally, it states that psilocybin research can be done by “an institution of higher education in this state or contract research organizations conducting trials approved by the United States Food and Drug Administration.”

An opponent of the bill, Rep. Mike Haffner (R)—a veteran himself—said he’s not yet convinced there’s enough evidence to support the proposal.

“I’m a combat veteran. I would do whatever I can for the vets,” he said, but “I believe in this one we’re getting ahead of ourselves.”

He pointed to a January news article about the federal Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) funding new studies into psychedelics. “The first line on this report says, ‘New research would determine the benefits of psychedelics in the treatments of PTSD and depression,'” Haffner said, implying those benefits were still unknown.

Further, Haffner said the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has noted that psilocybin can cause mood and cognitive changes. “As a result,” he claimed, “there is potential abuse of these drugs, which is a dark safety issue that requires careful consideration.”

“Although I’ll do anything I can to help veterans with PTSD,” he repeated, “I think we’re too far ahead of the program on this one.”

McMullin, the bill’s sponsor, said for his part that FDA-approved sites conducting trials on psilocybin that he’s visited amounted to a “clinical environment.”

“They have crash carts, medical personnel. It’s in a super controlled environment,” he said. “This isn’t out in the wild. We’re not just giving these doses out to individuals on the street. There’s going to be a vigorous follow-through and vetting process, and I’d just like to say that the results of these have been nothing more than miraculous.”

He acknowledged that using psychedelics to treat mental health might seem counterintuitive, but he noted that plenty about medicine might seem unusual to the untrained eye.

“You know, AC inhibitors that we use today…for low blood pressure is actually from synthesized snake venom,” he noted. “That seems kind of out there, but it’s an everyday thing. We find these compounds in nature, and then we use them to better our mental health or our health as a whole.”

The legislation takes its lead from a separate House bill that advanced to the floor of that chamber last year but was not ultimately enacted.

Separately this month, Missouri’s House of Representatives gave final approval to a budget bill that would spend $10 million from state opioid settlement funds to study the use of psilocybin to treat opioid use disorder. It’s part of a growing push by state governments to support more psychedelics research.

Marijuana Moment is tracking more than 1,400 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.

Learn more about our marijuana bill tracker and become a supporter on Patreon to get access.

For example, the Maryland Senate and House of Delegates have both passed legislation to create a psychedelics task force responsible for studying possible regulatory frameworks for therapeutic access to substances such as psilocybin, mescaline and DMT, sending the proposal to Gov Wes Moore (D). It would be charged specifically with ensuring “broad, equitable and affordable access to psychedelic substances” in the state.

Vermont’s Senate also recently passed a measure that would establish a working group to study whether and how to allow therapeutic access to psychedelics in the state. If the bill is enacted, a report from the working group would be due to the legislature in November with recommendations on how to regulate the substances.

The Indiana governor recently signed a bill that includes provisions to fund clinical research trials into psilocybin.

Utah’s governor allowed a bill to authorize a pilot program for hospitals to administer psilocybin and MDMA as an alternative treatment option to become law without his signature.

Maine lawmakers sent the governor legislation to establish a commission tasked with studying and making recommendations on regulating access to psychedelic services.

An Arizona House panel also approved a Senate-passed bill to legalize psilocybin service centers where people could receive the psychedelic in a medically supervised setting.

A Connecticut joint legislative panel approved a bill to decriminalize possession of psilocybin.

A bipartisan bill to legalize psychedelic service centers in California cleared a Senate committee.

The governor of New Mexico has endorsed a newly enacted resolution requesting that state officials research the therapeutic potential of psilocybin and explore the creation of a regulatory framework to provide access to the psychedelic.

Alaska lawmakers are considering legislation to create a task for to study how to regulate access to psychedelics following federal approval.

An Illinois committee also recently held a hearing to discuss a bill to legalize psilocybin and allow regulated access at service centers in the state where adults could use the psychedelic in a supervised setting—with plans to expand the program to include mescaline, ibogaine and DMT.

Lawmakers in Hawaii are also considering a bill that would provide some legal protections to patients engaging in psilocybin-assisted therapy with a medical professional’s approval.

New York lawmakers also said that a bill to legalize psilocybin-assisted therapy in that state has a “real chance” of passing this year.

A Nevada joint legislative committee held a hearing with expert and public testimony on the therapeutic potential of substances like psilocybin in January. Law enforcement representatives also shared their concerns around legalization—but there was notable acknowledgement that some reforms should be enacted, including possible rescheduling.

The governor of Massachusetts recently promoted the testimony of activists who spoke in favor of her veterans-focused bill that would, in part, create a psychedelics work group to study the therapeutic potential of substances such as psilocybin. Last month a Massachusetts joint legislative committee held a hearing to discuss an initiative that would legalize psychedelics that may appear on the November ballot if lawmakers decline to independently enact it first.

Currently, there are no psychedelic drugs that are federally approved to prescribe as medicine. But that could soon change, as FDA recently agreed to review a new drug application for MDMA-assisted therapy on an expedited basis.

At the start of this year, VA separately issued a request for applications to conduct in-depth research on the use of psychedelics to treat PTSD and depression.

In October, the agency also launched a new podcast about the future of veteran health care, and the first episode of the series focuses on the healing potential of psychedelics.

FDA also recently joined scientists at a public meeting on next steps for conducting research to develop psychedelic medicines. That came months after the agency issued historic draft guidance on psychedelics studies, providing scientists with a framework to carry out research that could lead to the development of novel medicines.

Meanwhile in Congress this week, a House panel approved GOP-led bill that would instruct the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to notify Congress if any psychedelics are added to its formulary of covered prescription drugs.

California Senators Approve Bill To Legalize Psychedelics Service Centers

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Ben Adlin, a senior editor at Marijuana Moment, has been covering cannabis and other drug policy issues professionally since 2011. He was previously a senior news editor at Leafly, an associate editor at the Los Angeles Daily Journal and a Coro Fellow in Public Affairs. He lives in Washington State.


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