Voters in Oregon passed a measure legalizing magic mushrooms for therapeutic purposes in 2020, and lawmakers in Washington and New York proposed legalization bills this year.
Bills that would decriminalize possession have been introduced in 19 states – including Missouri, Iowa and Kansas – although none have been signed into law. And more than a dozen states – including Florida, Oklahoma and Texas – have introduced legislation to further study the health benefits of psilocybin.
“More and more people are starting to recognize and understand that when it comes to psychedelic therapy, it’s not some kind of radical field. It’s becoming more and more mainstream,” the state representative said. Oklahoma, Daniel Pae, co-author of a bill authorizing scientific research on psilocybin.
The bill, which passed the Oklahoma House and is headed to the state Senate for consideration, would allow adults living with a handful of conditions to participate in state-run clinical trials using psilocybin. . Texas passed a similar bill last year.
The potential for psychedelics to be part of the treatments for depression, anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder, substance abuse, and eating disorders is being evaluated in numerous clinical trials. In 2018, the Food and Drug Administration designated psilocybin a “breakthrough therapy,” a designation that is accelerating the development of drugs that may be more effective than existing treatments.
The Hawaii State Senate cited the FDA designation in March when it approved a bill that would convene a task force to develop a long-term plan to make psilocybin available to adults over 21 year old seeking mental health treatment. Connecticut lawmakers convened a panel to study psilocybin last year and adjusted its state budget to fund therapy programs administering psychedelic treatments to veterans and retired first responders.
While more than 60 bills have been introduced nationwide, the majority, including Hawaii’s bill, are either stalled in committee or haven’t gotten a vote. In Washington, lawmakers chose to study the substance after struggling to ease restrictions. And in California, lawmakers turned a bill to decriminalize use into one that would analyze the policy.
In Colorado, the election measure victory marks the second time the state has made psychedelic history in three years. Denver became the first US city to decriminalize psilocybin in 2019.
For Kevin Franciotti, a Denver-based addiction counselor who received psychedelic treatment for an opioid use disorder more than a decade ago, this is “Colorado’s opportunity to be a leader to push American drug policy in the right direction”.
Not everyone agrees with the legalization of psychedelics. Some opponents of Colorado’s measure say it would promote the use of such substances before the FDA declares them safe.
“I hope the rest of the country can learn the hard lessons from my state’s incursion,” said Luke Niforatos, who heads two national organizations opposed to the drug legalization measure. “As the years pass and we learn more about this experience, hopefully we’ll say we’re going to let the FDA and the scientists run the medicine, not the corporations.”