January 26, 2023

Three More State-Level Psychedelic Bills In The Works: MO, MA And NY

An increasing number of state lawmakers are aiming to introduce psychedelic legalization bills to their respective House of Representatives and Senates. Let’s take a look at some of the latest proposals.

Missouri Bill: Psilocybin Therapy For Qualifying Patients

After advising on his plans, Rep. Tony Lovasco finally introduced HB 869 to legalize psilocybin-assisted therapy.

The measure would allow patients suffering from PTSD, severe depression and end-of-life anxiety, as well as people with other mental health indications who have been underserved by current treatment options to use the natural psychedelic.

Access would require a physician’s recommendation, and the state’s Dept. of Health and Senior Services would regulate all things related to the provision of psilocybin therapy. 

The bill includes “trigger language” that would expand treatment accessibility to adults over 21, should psilocybin be rescheduled under the federal Controlled Substances Act (CTA.)

Rep. Lovasco believes his proposal to be “a first step to addressing pervasive mental health crises by creating access to clinically validated therapies,” adding that he is “especially encouraged” at clinical research suggesting psilocybin as a tool to address the state’s opiate addiction crisis.

Massachusetts: Companion Bills Decriminalizing Entheogenic Substances

The state’s lawmakers have filed companion bills to decriminalize several psychedelic substances for adults over 18.

House bill HD 1450 would legalize possession, use, growing, gifting and transportation of up to two grams (net weight) of psilocybin, psilocin, DMT, ibogaine and mescaline by adults 18 and older without financial gain.

Senate bill SD.949 reaffirms the call for an end to prosecution of adults over 18 for the possession of personal amounts of the same listed psychedelics.

Together, the bills would amend Massachusetts’ general law “Section 50: Entheogenic Plants and Fungi.”

Now, a third, harm reduction-focused proposal, bill HD 2741, would amend state statute towards replacing criminal penalties for drug possession with a health and needs screening test, prioritizing the individual’s self-identified needs for referral to appropriate services. 

New York: Third Proposal Goes For Wider Reform

After filing bills calling for psychedelics descheduling and legalization and psilocybin and MDMA-assisted therapy pilot programs, a new measure intends to decriminalize possession of personal amounts of drugs and create a task force for other potential harm reduction reforms, as reported by Marijuana Moment.

Senate bill S2340 states drug abuse is still understood as “a moral failing” and “a crime” and therefore individuals with substance use disorders (SUDs) are not treated with the same compassion and care as others with other health conditions “such as cancer or an anxiety disorder.” 

It also refers to how inefficacious it has been to criminalize people with SUDs in terms of actually preventing drug abuse as well as racial disparities.

The new measure then states its purpose at saving lives and helping transform New York’s approach to drug use “from one based on criminalization and stigma to one based on science and compassion.”

Besides the decriminalization component, the new task force would develop recommendations for reforming state laws, regulations and practices aligned with the understanding of addiction as a disease and not a criminal action.

Photo: Benzinga edit with photo by Foxyliam and Chones on Shutterstock and Wikimedia Commons.

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