Three bills - H3589, H3605 and H3574 - have been brought forward to legalize certain plants and fungi, facilitate the therapeutic use of psilocybin plus enable access to a prescription medicine containing MDMA.
Massachusetts State Representative Nicholas Boldyga (R-Southwick), widely regarded as the most conservative member of the Massachusetts legislature, recently announced the filing of legislation that would legalize certain psychedelic compounds and plant medicines. Citing overwhelming research related to the mental health benefits these compounds offer, as well as a need to reform drug policy and the disastrous consequences of the “War on Drugs,” Representative Boldyga said these are among the most meaningful pieces of legislation he has filed in his 12 years in office.
“People are suffering from debilitating mental health issues such as PTSD, traumatic brain injury, anxiety, and depression. These psychedelic compounds and plant medicines are offering hope and healing to those that were once hopeless” said Representative Boldyga. “Plant medicines have been used for thousands of years by various cultures around the world, they truly are revolutionizing how we approach mental health and wellbeing.”
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The three bills are:
H3589 An Act concerning the legalization of certain natural plants and fungi.
H3605 An Act concerning the legal use of the plant medicine known as psilocybin for therapeutic, spiritual, and medicinal purposes.
H3574 An Act concerning the use of a prescription medicine that contains 3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine (MDMA).
As a former law enforcement officer, Representative Boldyga said he was compelled to file legislation to legalize certain psychedelic compounds and plant medicines after countless conversations with military veterans and first responders who shared their stories of suffering from PTSD, addiction, and other mental health issues. Many of whom had reached a point where there were no effective treatments available and found themselves on the verge of suicide until they came across psychedelic plant medicines.
“The stories have been powerful and with each one I saw first hand how these plant medicines have transformed lives,” said Representative Boldyga. “The clinical research, hundreds of years of meta-analysis, and countless stories of lives saved doesn’t just serve as a wake-up call, it’s a call to action,” Boldyga continued. “Bottomline, it’s about saving lives. By legalizing plant medicines, challenging old stigmas rooted in disinformation, and removing barriers to access, we can help millions of people heal and move on from debilitating trauma to lead healthy and fulfilling lives.”
Representative Boldyga noted that veterans and first responders are just one subgroup among many that have experienced the lifesaving properties of psychedelics and plant medicines. “Issues of mental health know no boundaries. The cure rate using psychedelics and plant medicines among those suffering from addiction as another example, is nothing short of astounding” said Representative Boldyga.
Representative Boldyga also stated these bills, in part, address the failed war on drugs. “The criminalization of naturally growing plants has not only cost lives in terms of denying people access to medicines that have the power to heal, but also has destroyed lives through unjust laws and policies that have condemned and incarcerated individuals for decades ” Boldyga continued.
“It’s time we flip the script and end the insanity. Locking people away in jail for using plant medicines that have been used by other cultures for thousand of years, is a travesty of the failed medical and criminal justice system of this country” said Representative Boldyga. “I wasn’t elected to serve the interests of ‘Big Pharma’ who have spent decades actively lobbying the government to keep these plant medicines illegal and using propaganda to spread misinformation to create dangerous stigmas around them” Boldyga continued. “I care about those suffering in my district and throughout the Commonwealth that would benefit from legal access to these natural plants. I was elected to serve them.”
H3589 – “An Act concerning the legalization of certain natural plants and fungi”
The bill will legalize the possession, cultivation, and personal use for those 21 years of age and older, of plants and fungi that contain Psilocybin, N,N-Dimethyltryptamine (DMT), Psilocin, Ibogaine, and Mescaline. The bill explicitly prohibits the sale or transfer of these substances for financial gain and would limit the amount one could possess up to 2 grams, excluding the weight of plant material and water.
“H3589 is about ending unjust laws and expanding legal access to lifesaving plant medicines,” said Representative Boldyga. “Unlike the legalization of cannabis, this shouldn’t be about creating another revenue stream for the state. This bill puts healing before profit.”
Additionally, H3589 would protect people using these plant medicines legally from adverse consequences such as the loss of professional licenses and being barred from certain government services.
H3605 – “An Act concerning the legal use of the plant medicine known as psilocybin for therapeutic, spiritual, and medicinal purposes”
H3605 will establish a legal and regulatory framework for the state to issue licenses to qualified individuals to facilitate the use of psilocybin for therapeutic, spiritual, and medicinal purposes. The bill is modeled after a similar framework recently established in Oregon, however would be less restrictive. It would also authorize the state to license independent schools to train people how to safely and effectively facilitate the use of psilocybin.
“H3605 is once again about providing safe and legal access to a substance that is already saving lives and helping people heal from trauma and debilitating mental health issues throughout the world” said Representative Boldyga. “Unlike other states, this bill prioritizes safety and access over profit. We want to create a system that is not overburdensome or cost prohibitive for an individual to obtain a facilitator's license. As well as a way for people to have easy and affordable access to a facilitator who is well trained and meets certain qualifications, such as having a clean criminal background check” continued Boldyga.
H3605 would legalize the use of psilocybin for therapeutic, spiritual, and medicinal purposes for those 18 years of age and older while under the direct supervision of a licensed facilitator.
H3574 – “An Act concerning the use of a prescription medicine that contains 3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine (MDMA)”
H3574 will automatically reschedule MDMA for the treatment of PTSD upon approval from the Federal Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
Extensive research has been done over the last several decades by the Multidisciplinary Association of Psychedelic Studies (MAPS) using MDMA to effectively treat otherwise treatment resistant PTSD. Currently undergoing FDA authorized phase 3 clinical trials, MAPS expects that the drug will be approved as a prescription medication sometime in 2023 or 2024. “The results of the studies are profound. We’re talking about seeing people effectively cured from PTSD when all else has failed” said Representative Boldyga. “Clinical trials have been so successful that the FDA declared MDMA to be a ‘breakthrough therapy’” he continued.
H3574 would also place a price ceiling on MDMA therapy, limiting the cost to $5,000 per session. Representative Boldyga said that the price ceiling is necessary to ensure MDMA assisted therapy and treatment remains affordable.
“I share similar concerns among grassroots advocates about access, affordability, and the over-corporatization of psychedelic compounds and plant medicines,” said Representative Boldyga. “I look forward to working with advocates and others to do everything we can to deliver this lifesaving therapy to as many people as possible suffering from PTSD,” Boldyga continued.
The Office of State Representative Nick Boldyga has put out a call to action and is encouraging anyone who is interested in joining a growing coalition of veterans, first responders, mental health professionals, patients, and advocates for the legalization of plant medicines to contact his office by emailing Legislative Director Joel Dusoe at firstname.lastname@example.org. Over the coming weeks and months Representative Boldyga plans to host coalition meetings, educational sessions, and rallies at the State House in Boston to support plant medicine legalization. “We need to pack the committee hearings for these bills,” said Representative Boldyga.
Representative Boldyga said that he is grateful to grassroots advocacy groups like Bay Staters for NaturalMedicine and New England Veterans for Plant Medicine for their dedication and tireless effort to bring healingto so many in need throughout the northeast. “Because of the incredible work by BSNM, 6 municipalities havealready decriminalized plant medicines for their communities. I believe there is a real opportunity forMassachusetts and other New England states to lead the way in this mental health revolution” saidRepresentative Boldyga.
“I believe the time has come for viewing mental health issues in a whole new light. The old profit driven systems will begin to give way to new systems that put the wellbeing of people first, treat disease at its root cause, and have positive outcomes.” Boldyga proclaimed.
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