The momentum toward psychedelic legalization is gaining speed throughout the United States, with significant advancements in Massachusetts and California, along with increased federal policy engagement.
Momentum for psychedelic policy reform is building across the United States, highlighted by California's state Assembly passing Senate Bill 58, which aims to legalize the possession and use of certain psychedelics for adults over 21. Meanwhile, the American Psychedelic Practitioners Association (APPA) has partnered with policy advisory firm, the Daschle Group, to advocate for federal policy changes and navigate the regulatory landscape. In Massachusetts, the campaign for psychedelic legalization has advanced significantly, receiving Attorney General certification for two proposals that focus on personal possession and sharing, now facing the task of gathering tens of thousands of signatures to move forward. Let’s dive into this week’s roundup.
California on the Brink of Making Psychedelic History: S.B. 58 Clears Major Hurdle!
California is on track to become the third U.S. state to decriminalize certain psychedelics for adults 21 and over. The state Assembly recently approved Senate Bill 58 with a 42-11 vote. Introduced by Democratic State Senator Scott Wiener in 2021, the bill would legalize the possession and use of specific natural psychedelics like psilocybin, psilocin, DMT, and mescaline, although peyote is excluded.
The proposed legislation in California not only seeks to decriminalize the personal use and growing of certain psychedelics but also plans to create community-focused therapeutic programs for group use of these substances. State Senator Scott Wiener expressed his excitement about the bill's recent passage on social media. This success comes after a previous version of the bill stalled in the Assembly despite clearing the Senate last year.
“The Assembly just passed our psychedelics decriminalization bill (SB 58),” Wiener wrote. “It’s supported by veterans, 1st responders, and health professionals.”
California's progress on Senate Bill 58 follows similar legislative moves in Oregon and Colorado, which have previously decriminalized psychedelics. Oregon was the first U.S. state to set up a regulated framework for psilocybin use in 2020, and Colorado legalized certain natural psychedelics two years later. In California, the bill must receive Senate approval again before reaching Democratic Governor Gavin Newsom for his signature. If enacted, the legislation would take effect on January 1, 2025.
APPA Teams Up with Daschle Group to Shape Psychedelic Policy: A Power Move in Educating Washington Stakeholders
The American Psychedelic Practitioners Association (APPA) has recently formed a partnership with the Daschle Group, a public policy advisory firm, to focus on educating stakeholders in Washington, D.C. According to a recent press release , “this collaboration is intended to help the APPA navigate the intricate regulatory landscape while advancing its objectives in the psychedelics sector.”
The Daschle Group's Role
The Daschle Group, a public policy firm headed by former U.S. Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle, will provide counsel to the APPA on matters concerning policy and regulatory issues. With a wealth of experience in healthcare and public policy, the Daschle Group is well-positioned to guide the APPA as it seeks to make inroads into federal and state governmental decision-making.
The APPA is a medical association that focuses on integrating psychedelics into medical practice. Its primary objectives include the advancement of research, education, and ethical standards related to psychedelics and their therapeutic use. By teaming up with the Daschle Group, the APPA aims to gain greater visibility and influence in shaping policies that impact the psychedelics industry. The APPA has earned a reputation as a trustworthy resource for more conventional medical institutions exploring these novel therapies. The alliance with the Daschle Group provides the APPA with a significant edge as it works to offer concrete solutions and advice to lawmakers and other organizations.
Prior to this partnership, the APPA had already been an influential voice, contributing expert insights to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) on its initial guidance concerning the clinical research of psychedelics. Moreover, in collaboration with BrainFutures, the APPA recently released the industry's inaugural professional practice guidelines aimed at establishing a standard for psychedelic-assisted therapy. These guidelines are grounded in existing clinical research and expert consensus. By forging connections with influential policymakers, the APPA aims to fortify its position as the primary resource for the oversight and medical application of psychedelic therapies.
The partnership symbolizes a growing trend of professional associations in the psychedelics space seeking specialized policy advice, underlining the sector's increasing legitimacy and potential for future growth.
Massachusetts Campaign Faces Intensive Next Steps for State-Wide Psychedelic Legalization
The Massachusetts for Mental Health Options campaign has put forth two nearly identical proposals focused on expanding mental health access through natural psychedelics. The only significant difference between them is that one allows for home cultivation by adults. The campaign has expressed gratitude towards the Attorney General for certifying both petitions, 23-13 and 23-14.
The two proposals from the Massachusetts for Mental Health Options campaign aim to legalize the personal possession and sharing of psychedelics like psilocybin and ayahuasca. However, they do not establish a commercial retail market for these substances. During the drafting process, the campaign's legal team emphasized this point to the Attorney General's office, urging revisions to clarify that the initiatives wouldn't set up a commercial system similar to the state's existing marijuana market.
The campaign pushing for the legalization of psychedelics in Massachusetts is financially supported by the national New Approach PAC. The key points of the Natural Psychedelic Substances Act are as follows: It would allow adults aged 21 and up to possess and share specific quantities of certain psychedelics, such as DMT and psilocybin. Penalties for possessing excess amounts would range from a $100 civil fine to criminal charges. The act also calls for the establishment of a commission and advisory board to oversee regulation and implementation. These bodies would be responsible for enacting rules for at least one psychedelic by April 2026 and would start accepting applications for service centers by September 2026. A 15% excise tax would be levied on psychedelics purchased at licensed facilities, with local governments having the option to add an additional 2% tax. There are no provisions for expunging past convictions related to these substances. The law, if passed, would go into effect on December 15, 2024, with the commission and advisory board to be established by March 1, 2025.
Now that the Attorney General has approved the summaries, the campaign faces a significant workload ahead. First, they must decide which version of the initiative to advance. Then, they'll need to gather at least 74,574 verified signatures from registered voters by the first Wednesday of December. Should the legislature opt not to act on the measure by the first Wednesday of May 2024, activists will have until the first Wednesday of July to collect an additional 12,429 valid signatures.