The bill hasn’t made it all the way through yet, but it did pass the House of Representatives on the 12th of June. Should it make it all the way through, Rhode Island will be the next to join the list of states with psychedelics allowances of some kind. Read on for more info.
Road Island psychedelics bill
On June 6th, the Rhode Island psychedelics bill H5923 cleared the House Judiciary Committee in a vote of 12-2, which moved it onto a vote with the House floor. On Monday, June 12th, the bill was voted on by the House, and passed by 54-11. From there it was sent to the Senate, where it now needs to gain approval, in order to become law. It starts in the Senate Judiciary committee.
H5923, should it pass, would amend the current controlled substances list in the state. Under this law, adults could possess up to one ounce of psilocybin. It would also let adults cultivate psilocybin in personal residences.
Should we expect it to pass? It did get through the House with a pretty wide margin. But often, the two parts of a government don’t always see eye to eye. As it happens, the Senate also produced a companion bill in the form of Senate Bill 806. This bill is almost exactly the same, except for the sunset clause that was more recently added to the house version.
SB 806 made it to the Senate Judiciary Committee, where it was decided the measure should be held for further study. This happened on March 23rd, and could indicate that the current House bill will not go through either. We’ll have to wait and see.
What does Rhode Island psychedelics bill allow?
This legislation is all about psilocybin. According to the legislation, this applies to compounds, mixtures, and preparations; so long as the psilocybin is in one person’s possession, given from one person to another, or was cultivated in a secure manner for personal use. The amendment stipulates that upon federal approval of the compound, Rhode Island’s Department of Health will need to create regulation regarding cultivation, sale/distribution, and medical use.
It also states that contingent on the Federal Government expanding its Expanded Access program, that patients with serious mental health issues, who don’t have sufficient access to effective care, can receive psilocybin at facilities designated by the State’s Department of Health.
The last thing it mentions is a ‘sunset clause,’ which was put into an amended copy before passage on the 12th. A sunset clause essentially puts an end date on a piece of legislation, if no action is taken to extend the policy. In this case, the start date is put as July 1st, 2023 (the expected day for the legislation to go into effect, should it fully pass), with a sunset date of July 1st, 2025.
The reason for this seems to be twofold. For one, legislators want to know how many violations happen in the time of legalization, should the bill pass. The second, is the expectation that by the time of sunset, the federal government might have changed laws related to psilocybin. The clause specifies that before sunset, reports must be submit on this topic. As more than one company creating a psilocybin drug has been given ‘breakthrough therapy’ status by the FDA – a designation meant to get a product to market faster; it stands to reason that the federal landscape for psilocybin could change quickly.
Where are psychedelics legal in US?
Right now, there are two states that passed sweeping legalization measures. Oregon came first in 2020, and the legalization was voted on through Measure 109, the Psilocybin Mushroom Services Program Initiative. The legislation was the first of its kind to pass, and initially came with very few specifics. The measure stated: “clients would be allowed to purchase, possess, and consume psilocybin at a psilocybin service center and under the supervision of a psilocybin service facilitator after undergoing a preparation session.” This legalization is specifically for psilocybin mushrooms, and only one kind: Psilocybe cubensis.
I reported recently on the first licensed treatment center to get approval in Oregon. Eugene Psychedelic Integration Center (EPIC Healing Eugene) is gearing up to provide services, and its not looking at all cheap. In fact, a basic session will run a person $2,800-$3,500 depending on if they take a smaller or bigger dose. As of right now, insurance is not an option either, so this amount must be paid out of pocket.
Colorado also passed a psychedelics legalization bill, in the form of Proposition 122, which was voted in by the population on November 8th, 2022. Called the Decriminalization, Regulated Distribution, and Therapy Program for Certain Hallucinogenic Plants and Fungi Initiative, this bill is more wide than Oregon’s; and has several different provisions.
Coloradoans won’t have to use a service center, can cultivate on their own, and have access to a wider range of compounds, including: psilocybin, psilocin, non-peyote mescaline, ibogaine, and DMT. There are no limits instituted for personal possession of these substances as per SB23-290, the regulatory act for the industry, which was signed by the governor on May 23rd. It also doesn’t allow individual locations to opt out, requiring the entire state to uphold this law.
Colorado didn’t stop with that, though. It made another interesting legalization recently; though this one is reliant on a federal legalization, in order to become valid. On June 8th, 2022, HB 1344 was signed off on by the governor, which legalizes MDMA, contingent on a federal government legalization first. Should the federal government do so, HB 1344 works to legalize the prescription and medical use of the compound within the state.
Other than Rhode Island, where is psychedelics reform taking place?
Right now, two states officially have legalization policies. Added onto this are a growing number of individual locations which have voted in some kind of psychedelics decriminalization policy. These include: Oakland, San Francisco, Santa Cruz, and Arcata, in California; Colorado (which started with just Denver); Ann Arbor, Hazel Park, Washtenaw County, and Detroit in Michigan; Oregon; Washington, DC; Somerville, Cambridge, Northampton, and Easthampton in Massachusetts; and Port Townsend, Jefferson County, and Seattle in Washington.
There are also plenty of states currently in action, trying to get legislation passed. California has SB 58 which would legalize certain entheogenic compounds. Connecticut is pushing HB 6734 (which already passed the House) to decriminalize psilocybin, along with two medical use bills. Georgia is seeking a decriminalization for entheogenic plants via Resolution 22-R-4257. Hawaii has a couple things going on what with HB 1340 to review psychedelics for medical treatment, and HB 5102 to allow psilocybin for medical purposes.
Illinois is pushing HB0001 aka Compassionate Use and Research of Entheogens Act; and SB2353 for the medical and research applications of psilocybin, including a regulated market. Iowa has HF240 which would remove psilocybin and psilocin from the controlled substances list. Kentucky is pushing HB 98 which would reduce penalties for controlled substances. Maine has SB 1914 which would enact the Maine Psilocybin Health Access Act, for psilocybin administration.
Maryland passed SB 709 in 2022 which is meant to establish alternative cures for PTSD treatment, and which can include MDMA, psilocybin, and ketamine among other possibilities. It also has HB 0927 which would lower penalties for controlled substances. Massachusetts is pushing H 3574 which would legalize MDMA for medical use; as well as H 3605 which would legalize psilocybin for therapeutic purposes. Michigan is working to collect signatures for a 2024 ballot measure that would decriminalize Schedule I and II drugs, as well as legalize compounds like psilocybin, psilocin, ibogaine, peyote, and DMT.
Minnesota has HF 1884 to create a “Psychedelic Medicine Task Force”. Missouri has HB 869 to create a natural medicine policy; and HB 1154 which similarly seeks to establish provisions for alternative therapies including use of MDMA, psilocybin, and ketamine. Montana for its part, has HB 1208 which would legalize psilocybin for mental illness issues.
New Hampshire introduced HB 328 which would legalize LSD, mescaline, psilocybin, and peyote for those 21 and above. New York is going at it with Assembly Bill 114 which removes certain hallucinogenic substances from the controlled substances list, and legalizes their use; and S3520 which would allow for the medical use of psilocybin.
Nevada almost legalized psilocybin for medical purposes with SB 242, but instead only instituted a working group to study psychedelic medicine. Texas introduced a series of bills for research into psychedelics; as well as HB 4561 which would create the Alternative Mental Health Therapy Research Consortium, that would include ketamine clinics. Vermont has H 439 to decriminalize some compounds found in plants and fungi; as well as H 371 which would institute a Psychedelic Therapy Advisory Working Group and remove penalties for possessing/selling/dispensing psilocybin. This is similar to its S 114.
Washington is actually the 3rd state to pass some form of psychedelics legalization in some capacity. In May, the governor signed off on SB 5263 for psilocybin services. This includes a pilot program for psilocybin use, but right now only for military and first responders. Not a full legalization, but a start.
The reality is that weed isn’t legal yet in every state, yet many states are forging ahead into psychedelics. If Rhode Island passes its bill, it will be the 3rd state for a legal psychedelics policy; or 4th if you include Washington and its pilot program. I left out many research initiatives, and bills which did not pass. As you can see, even so, there’s a lot going on in the current world of psychedelics.
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