A Missouri Republican lawmaker filed a bill on Tuesday that would legalize a wide range of psychedelics for therapeutic use at designated care facilities while further decriminalizing low-level possession in general.
The bill from Rep. Tony Lovasco (R) is one of the latest examples of psychedelics reforms being proposed in traditionally conservatives states. But it’s comparatively bold, providing patients with certain serious conditions like treatment-resistant depression, PTSD and terminal illnesses with access to substances including psilocybin, DMT, mescaline and ibogaine in a clinical setting.
Patients would only be able to access the treatment option at certified health facilities, those providing hospice care, residential care facilities or the patient or caregiver’s residence.
The bill would also provide legal protections from prosecution for doctors who make recommendations for “natural medicine to an eligible patient.” The text states that “no state agency or regulatory board shall revoke, fail to renew, or take any other action against a physician’s license…based solely on the physician’s recommendation to an eligible patient regarding treatment with natural medicine.”
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“Notwithstanding any other provision of law, the medical use of natural medicine by an eligible patient or caregiver in compliance with this section is not subject to criminal or civil liability under the laws of this state,” the legislation says.
The Department of Health and Human Services would be able to add additional qualifying conditions following a rulemaking process.
There would be an “allowable amount” for any psychedelic that is administered to eligible patients. It would be limited to “not more than four grams of the active psychoactive substance of each natural medicine.”
The amount would “not include the weight of any material of which the natural medicine is a part, including dried fungus or plant material, or to which the substance is added, dissolved, held in solution.”
Possessing up to four grams of psychedelics outside of the therapeutic model would otherwise be decriminalized and considered a class D misdemeanor punishable by a maximum $500 fine without the threat of jail time.
Possessing more than the four gram limit outside of the medical model would remain criminalized as a class A misdemeanor that could carry a penalty of up to one year in jail and a maximum $2,000 fine.
Separately, another Republican Missouri lawmaker introduced a bill in January to give residents with serious illnesses legal access to a range of psychedelic drugs like psilocybin, ibogaine and LSD through an expanded version of the state’s existing right-to-try law.
Psychedelics reform is being pursued and advancing in other state legislatures across the country.
Last week, for example, Utah lawmakers sent a bill to the governor that would create a task force to study and make recommendations on the therapeutic potential of psychedelic drugs and possible regulations for their lawful use.
Also last week, a second Hawaii Senate committee approved a bill to set up a state working group to study the therapeutic benefits of psilocybin mushrooms and develop a “long-term” plan to ensure that the psychedelic is accessible for medical use for adults 21 and older.
An Oregon Senate committee also recently advanced a bill to ensure that equity is built into the state’s historic therapeutic psilocybin program that’s actively being implemented following voter approval in 2020.
Oklahoma lawmakers approved a bill in committee last week to decriminalize low-level possession of psilocybin and promote research into the therapeutic potential of the psychedelic.
A group of Maryland senators recently filed a bill that would create a state fund that could be used to provide free access to psychedelics like psilocybin, MDMA and ketamine for military veterans suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), while also supporting research into their therapeutic potential.
A bill to decriminalize a wide array of psychedelics in Virginia was taken up by a House of Delegates panel in January, only to be pushed off until 2023. A separate Senate proposal to decriminalize psilocybin alone was later defeated in a key committee.
California Sen. Scott Wiener (D) told Marijuana Moment in a recent interview that his bill to legalize psychedelics possession stands a 50/50 chance of reaching the governor’s desk this year. It already cleared the full Senate and two Assembly committees during the first half of the two-year session.
Washington State lawmakers also introduced legislation in January that would legalize what the bill calls “supported psilocybin experiences” by adults 21 and older.
New Hampshire lawmakers filed measures to decriminalize psilocybin and all drugs.
Last year, the governor of Connecticut signed legislation that includes language requiring the state to carry out a study into the therapeutic potential of psilocybin mushrooms.
Similar legislation was also enacted by the Texas legislature, requiring the state to study the medical risks and benefits of psilocybin, MDMA and ketamine for military veterans in partnership with Baylor College of Medicine and a military-focused medical center.
Colorado officials last week approved the language of two more psychedelics reform initiatives from the same campaign that already passed that procedural step for two separate measures it submitted late last year. A competing campaign filed a different psychedelics legalization last month.
Michigan activists filed a statewide ballot initiative last month that would legalize possessing, cultivating and sharing psychedelics and set up a system for their therapeutic and spiritual use.
A pair of Michigan senators also introduced a bill in September to legalize the possession, cultivation and delivery of an array of plant- and fungi-derived psychedelics like psilocybin and mescaline.
At the congressional level, bipartisan lawmakers sent a letter to the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) last month, urging that the agency allow terminally ill patients to use psilocybin as an investigational treatment without the fear of federal prosecution.
Back in Missouri, a pair of state lawmakers on Tuesday filed resolutions urging President Joe Biden to end marijuana criminalization, provide executive relief to those caught up in the drug war and condemn what some view as racial disparities in how athletic organizations apply drug testing standards.