Lawmakers in the Massachusetts Joint Committee on Public Health advanced a proposal this week that would legalize psilocybin — the psychedelic compound in so-called “magic mushrooms” — for medical, therapeutic, and spiritual purposes, Marijuana Moment reports.
Sponsored by Rep. Nicholas A. Boldyga (R), proposed bill H.3605 would allow the supervised use of psilocybin during sessions overseen “by a properly licensed facilitator.”
Under the bill, the state Department of Public Health would be in charge of licensing the program’s facilitators as well as the educational institutions where facilitators would be trained, and other regulations related to the program. Facilitators would be charged a $155 biennial licensing fee and would be required to complete between 20 and 300 hours of training from a licensed school, including at least 20 hours of in-person practice. Facilitators would also need to be high school graduates, residents of Massachusetts, aged 21+, and free of felonies for the past five years before they can apply for the program, the report said.
The proposal comes as advocates for psychedelics reform recently submitted signatures for a 2024 Massachusetts ballot proposal that, if approved by voters, would legalize psilocybin as a treatment for anxiety, depression, and PTSD, according to a CBS News report.
Massachusetts activist organization Bay Staters for Natural Medicine expressed support for the proposal. “The PAC can no longer claim that the only choice before voters is an unelected control commission to draft expensive regulations or no legalization at all. That was always a false choice, and we’re grateful that H.3605 passing out of its committee puts that on full display” said Michael Botelho, a cofounder of New England Veterans for Plant Medicine and a Massachusetts Marine Corp Veteran.
Oregon was the first state to legalize medicinal psilocybin following a successful voter initiative in 2020, and the very first state-licensed psilocybin treatment center in the U.S. opened for business in Eugene, Oregon last year. However, many advocates have pointed out that Oregon’s high licensing registration costs for practictioners (which amount to more than 20 times the fees proposed under H.3605) could result in treatments being inaccessible to people in need. Massachusetts’ bill would create a much more inclusive framework for psilocybin therapists to serve a broader range of patients.
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