Written by: Joseph Santiago
Following legal recreational marijuana sales in New York, different state lawmakers have pre-filled the 2023 bill to legalize psychedelics like ibogaine and psilocybin for use by adults 21 and older. The legislation is set for formal introduction next week, and Linda Rosenthal, an Assembly member, sponsors it.
This proposal seeks to legalize the possession, cultivation, creation, use, production, gifting, analysis, sharing, or exchange between natural persons that are 21 or older of a fungus-based or natural plant hallucinogen.
Psilocybin, psilocin, mescaline, ibogaine, and DMT are all fungus-based or natural plant hallucinogens that the bill would legalize. The legislation will also allow people to engage in psychedelic services freely. This is with or without paying remuneration, including using these substances for religious ceremonies.
Local and state law enforcement will no longer need to provide assistance or cooperate with the federal government to enforce controlled substance laws against activities that are legal under state laws. It’s worth noting that the measure will also highlight different protections. Basically, people will not lose public assistance or professional licenses or be denied behavioral or mental health services because they use a psychedelic substance. Also, the lawful use of these substances will not be the sole basis for child welfare investigation.
Psychedelics And Mental Health
The drive to decriminalize psychedelics is being advanced by research revealing the compounds’ potential to treat mental health conditions, including depression, anxiety, and substance misuse disorders. In October 2018, the FDA designated psilocybin-assisted psychotherapy as a breakthrough therapy for treatment-resistant depression, indicating that the therapy significantly improved over existing treatments. The following year, the FDA again designated psilocybin-assisted psychotherapy as a breakthrough therapy for treating major depressive disorder.
In addition, employers will not take action against their employees for using psychedelics when not on duty. Also, different localities in New York will not be allowed to endorse laws that criminalize psychedelics. However, they can implement and adopt policies and legislations directly related to fungus-based, or natural plant hallucinogens, according to the bill.
Karines Reyes, and Jo Anne Simon, both of whom are Assembly members, are co-sponsors of the legislation. In recent years, Rosenthal has developed a key interest in psychedelic policy. In 2022, she filed a bill to remove psilocin and psilocybin from the list of controlled substances and legalize the compounds. However, the measure was revised in October.
Rosenthal also introduced a bill to create psychedelic research institutes last year. The institutes will be studying all the therapeutic benefits of these substances for different conditions and making policy recommendations.
The introduction of this new bill is a good sign to show that 2023 holds different promises for psychedelic reform. This follows the decriminalization of these substances and the approval of psilocybin for therapy in Colorado and Oregon.
Sen. Scott Wiener in California recently filed a bill to also legalize the possession of some psychedelics, and this follows his derailed attempt in 2022. One analysis in the American Medical Association journal concludes that most states will legalize psychedelics by 2037. This is based on statistics and policy trends.