Psychedelic Drug Regulation: Three US States Make Moves to Legalize Psilocybin and MDMA for Mental Health Treatment
LOS ANGELES– Over the past few weeks, several states in the United States have been making strides in the area of psychedelic drug regulation, specifically around the compound psilocybin found in magic mushrooms. Three states have been particularly active in this space: Hawaii, Iowa, and Washington.
Hawaii’s legislature introduced HB 1340 in January 2023, which aims to create an advisory council that would review, evaluate, and recommend new medicinal treatments for mental health. The council would be tasked with developing a long-term strategic plan to ensure that therapeutic psilocybin, psilocybin-based products, and methylenedioxymethamphetamine (MDMA) are safe, accessible, and affordable for adults 21 years old or older. Although the bill passed out of committee with unanimous support on April 4, it now faces disagreements in the full House and Senate.
Iowa lawmakers recommended the passage of H.B. 240 on April 11, which would decriminalize psilocybin and psilocin (another active chemical compound in magic mushrooms) by removing them from the state’s Schedule I controlled substances list. The bill, sponsored by Republican Rep. Jeff Shipley, was passed by the House’s Public Safety Committee with a 3-0 vote.
Washington, on the other hand, established a working advisory group to guide the state’s lawmakers on psilocybin regulations. The group was created through the passing of bill S.B. 5263 on April 14, which seeks to regulate psilocybin treatment centers for people aged 21 or older. The bill also established a pilot program to offer psilocybin treatment to first responders and veterans suffering from PTSD, mood disorders, or substance abuse disorders. The legislation was sponsored by Democratic Sen. Jesse Salomon and passed the state Senate with 40 in favor, four against, and five abstentions. The advisory group has about a year to deliver its final report.
The three states’ approaches to psilocybin regulation differ in their scope, but all three are making headway in their efforts. The introduction of these bills suggests a growing interest in exploring the potential benefits of psychedelics in treating mental health disorders. As the movement towards psychedelic drug regulation gains momentum, it will be interesting to see how other states follow suit.
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