The proposed bill is calling for a reclassification of psilocybin from a Schedule I to Schedule III substance under Virginia state law and the formation of an advisory board dedicated to its therapeutic use.
The new bill has passed Virginia’s Senate and will move on to a vote in the House. The Legislation contains two major points.
The legislation requests the creation of a “Virginia Psilocybin Advisory Board”, which would be tasked with developing a long-term strategy to establish access to psilocybin as a therapeutic.
It would also focus on monitoring and studying federal regulations, policies, and laws regarding the substance.
Another Important aspect is a rescheduling of psilocybin under Virginia state law. It currently sits as a Schedule I substance, but the bills state that it is to be reduced to Schedule III.
Possession of schedule III substances is considered a Class 1 misdemeanor, which is punishable by up to one year in prison plus being fined a maximum of $2,500. This is drastically less severe than the punishment for schedule I possession, which qualifies as a Class 5 felony and can carry a maximum 10 years in prison plus a $2,500 fine.
SB 932 was brought to the floor by Virgnia State Senator, Ghazaha Hashmi (D), and passed through the State Health and Safety Committee 6-1 in favor. She had previously proposed that psilocybin be decriminalized all together, but it didn’t pass after a vote last month.
The Psilocybin Advisory Board
The board would comprise 12 members, hand selected by the Governor. It wouldn’t immediately decide on decriminalization or even legalization for therapeutic use, but it does state that it would, “analyze scientific studies and research on the safety and efficacy of psilocybin in treating mental health conditions and on the requirements, specifications, and guidelines for providing psilocybin services in Virginia.”
The members would be tasked with sending an annual report to the Governor and General Assembly on December 1st which includes its activities and recommendations.
Pro-psilocybin policy had taken a bit of a hit in Virginia recently with a recent bill being voted down in January. It would’ve allowed doctors to prescribe the substance to patients who qualify for “Depression, PTSD. or End-of-Life Anxiety”.