New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy (D) signed a bill last week loosening penalties for the possession of psilocybin mushrooms, according to NJ.com.
The legislation lowers the possession of up to one ounce of psilocybin from a third-degree crime to a disorderly person offense but does not completely decriminalize mushrooms. However, instead of facing three to five years imprisonment, the longest jail sentence someone might serve for the substance would be six months and up to $1,000 in fines.
The idea to decriminalize psilocybin mushrooms was first proposed during cannabis reform negotiations after New Jersey voters approved the legalization of adult-use cannabis in November. Originally coupled with the cannabis legislation, the mushroom bill stalled negotiations, however, resulting in lawmakers splitting the issues into two bills and approving them separately from one another.
The psilocybin bill was the first drug reform bill signed this session by the governor, who has cited concerns around youth possession rules as a reason for not immediately approving the legislature’s cannabis legalization language.
Denver, Colorado was the first U.S. city to decriminalize psilocybin in 2019. Since then, other cities have taken up the issue, including Washington D.C. and, most recently, the state of Oregon passed a bill legalizing the medicinal use of psilocybin mushrooms. The ongoing movement is driven by broadening awareness of the medicinal uses of psilocybin in treating conditions like PTSD and new efforts to decriminalize entheogenic plants used by indigenous people, and others, for religious or spiritual purposes.
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