The New Jersey Senate leader introduced a bill Thursday that would legalize the possession, cultivation and gifting of the psilocybin mushroom in the home for adults age 21 and older — with provisions giving adults greater freedoms for the drug than those granted under the state’s current marijuana. laws.
The legislation, passed by Senate Speaker Nicholas Scutari (D), who has long advocated cannabis reform in the Garden State, would create a system for companies licensed to provide psilocybin services in supervised settings.
Scutari’s proposed “Psilocybin Behavioral Health Access and Services Act” represents a bold development in the drug reform movement that has mushroomed rapidly in state legislatures and through citizen-led initiatives across the country in recent years. And the fact that the legislation originates from leadership that is intimately familiar with drug policy reform is a strong indication that this is a serious endeavor.
The bill’s inception discusses the “high prevalence” of behavioral health conditions in adults in New Jersey and the growing body of research demonstrating that psilocybin may be a valuable treatment option for certain conditions, as evidenced by the Federal Food and Drug Administration. (Food and Drug Administration) described the drug as a “breakthrough therapy” based on preliminary clinical trials.
“The legislature aims to facilitate the establishment of safe, legal, and affordable service centers for psilocybin to provide New Jersey residents 21 years of age and older with opportunities for psilocybin-assisted trials to alleviate distress and provide preventative behavioral health care, and promote wellness and personal growth,” the text of the legislation, which was released Friday , Says.
But besides setting up psilocybin treatment centers, as is happening in Oregon after voters approve a historic ballot initiative in 2020, the Measures It would also make it legal for adults to “possess, store, use, swallow, inhale, handle, transport, deliver without charge or distribute, without charge, four grams or less of psilocybin.”
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“It would also not be illegal for any person over the age of 21 to grow, grow or treat plants or fungi capable of producing psilocybin for personal use, or to possess the psilocybin produced if the plants and fungi are kept on a private home or dwelling basis and are protected from Access by persons under the age of 21.
This is a particularly notable ruling, as New Jersey’s marijuana laws do not allow adults – or even medical cannabis patients – to grow their own plants for personal use, much to the frustration of reform advocates.
The Senate President’s new bill would significantly expand legislation he introduced in late 2020 to reduce penalties for possession of up to one ounce of psilocybin. Signed by Governor Phil Murphy (D) last year.
Under the newly introduced legislation, “engaging in such authorized conduct shall not be: an offense under state law or the laws of any county or municipal administration body; constitutes the basis for assessing a civil penalty, civil penalty, or professional or administrative discipline against any person; constitutes the basis for the detention of any person search or arrest; or form a basis for depriving any person of any right or privilege, or for the confiscation or confiscation of the assets of any person under State law or the laws of any county or municipal governing body, provided that the person is at least 21 years of age.”
In addition, people who have been convicted of a crime that would become legal under the bill will be given the opportunity to petition the courts for a return of the sentence or disqualification.
Regarding the psilocybin services program, the bill lays down basic regulations, including licensing requirements. There will be four types of licenses — product manufacturers, service center operators, testing labs, and service facilitators — as well as psilocybin worker permits. The state Department of Health (DOH) will be responsible for overseeing the program and licensing.
There are also proprietary rights included in the proposed licensing system. Manufacturing, Service Center, and Testing applicants will be eligible for the Social Opportunity Program if they meet the following criteria: The applicant must be owned at least 51 percent by people who have lived in an economically distressed area for five of the past ten years and have more than 10 full-time employees (With more than half of these workers also living in a low-income area.)
The Department of Health will be tasked with developing the Social Opportunities Program in coordination with the 18 members of the Psilocybin Behavioral Health Access and Services Advisory Board that will be established within the department.
Members of this Board shall include the Commissioner of Health, the Deputy Commissioner for Public Health Services, and the State Attorney General (or their designees). These will be ex officio, non-voting members. In addition, the board will consist of a representative of the State Cannabis Regulatory Commission and 12 governor-appointed members with relevant expertise.
“The purpose of the council is to provide advice and recommendations to the Ministry of Health, at the request or on the initiative of the board of directors, regarding the implementation of the bill,” the text reads. Recommendations may relate to issues such as public education, research into the therapeutic potential of psilocybin, guidelines for narcotic services, health and safety standards and more.
The proposal to create a psilocybin program comes with the persistence of Scutari and other lawmakers Working with advocates and stakeholders in the marijuana sector to clarify regulatory issues related to licensing, pricing and more while rolling out the state’s entertainment market, which It saw sales of nearly $24 million In the first month of implementation.
Regarding local control of the psilocybin proposal, the bill states that county or municipal governments “may, by ordinance, adopt reasonable regulations regarding the operation of psilocybin product manufacturers and psilocybin service centers located within that county or municipality.”
“No county or municipality will be permitted to levy any taxes or duties in the manufacture or sale of psilocybin products or the provision of psilocybin services,” it states.
The bill has been referred to the Senate Health and Human Services and Seniors Committee.
This is one of the most recent examples of state legislators following in the footsteps of voters in cities and states across the United States who have lobbied for decriminalization of natural plants and fungi, as well as access to narcotic drugs for therapeutic use.
For example, the governor of Colorado recently signed a bill for Harmonize state law to legalize MDMA prescriptions If and when the federal government eventually allows such use.
Connecticut Governor Signed a large-scale budget bill In May, that includes provisions to prepare the state to provide some patients with access to narcotic-assisted therapy with substances such as MDMA and psilocybin.
The governor of Maryland recently allowed a bill into law without his signature to create a state fund for Providing “free” access to narcotics Such as psilocybin, MDMA, and ketamine for veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and traumatic brain injury.
The Massachusetts-based Bay Staters for National Medicine (BSNM) campaign has also been launched Support the reform push at the state level To compel state legislators to introduce legislation to legalize estrogenic substances for therapeutic use and to decriminalize certain narcotic drugs.
Senate approved Min Bill in April to establish psilocybin . medical program in the state, but the House of Representatives refused to proceed with it.
Also that month, Georgia lawmakers introduced a bipartisan resolution calling for the formation of a House Study Committee Investigating the therapeutic potential of drugs Like psilocybin and make recommendations for repairs.
The Utah governor signed a bill in March to create a task force to study and make recommendations On the therapeutic potential of narcotic drugs and possible regulations for their legitimate use.
A Missouri House of Representatives committee also held a hearing that month on a Republican-led bill Legalization of a wide range of narcotic drugs for therapeutic use In dedicated care facilities with decriminalization of low-level tenure in general.
The Washington state legislature recently sent a budget bill to the governor’s office that includes a proposal to Directing $200,000 in funding to support a new working group To study the possibility of legalizing psilocybin services in the state, including the idea of using existing marijuana regulatory systems to track narcotic mushrooms.
In March, the Hawaii Senate approved a bill to create a state working group Study of the therapeutic benefits of psilocybin mushrooms and a “long-term” plan to ensure that the drug is available for medical use for adults 21 and over.
Also that month, the Oklahoma House of Representatives passed a bill to Decriminalization of low-level psilocybin possession and promoting research into the therapeutic potential of the drug.
Rhode Island legislators introduced A pair of drug decriminalization bills in March— including one focusing on psilocybin and buprenorphine that would allow doctors to prescribe the psychedelic mushroom.
A committee of the Oregon Senate also recently introduced a bill to secure property rights Incorporated into the State’s Historic Psilocybin Therapeutic Program It is actively implemented after voter approval in 2020.
A bill to decriminalize a wide variety of hallucinogens in Virginia was discussed by a House of Delegates committee in January, Only to be postponed until 2023. Separate Senate motion to decriminalize psilocybin alone He was later defeated by the Main Committee.
California Senator Scott Weiner, D, told Marijuana Moment in a recent interview that his bill Legalization of drug possession He stands a 50/50 chance of getting into the governor’s office this year. It did pass the full senators and assembly committees during the first half of the two-year session.
Washington state legislators It also introduced legislation in January It would legalize what the bill calls “supported psilocybin trials” for adults 21 and older.
New Hampshire lawmakers introduced measures to Decriminalization of psilocybin and all drugs.
Legislation was As enacted by the Texas State Legislature Last year, the state required a study of the medical risks and benefits of psilocybin, MDMA and ketamine for veterans in partnership with Baylor College of Medicine and an Army-focused medical center.
At the congressional level, lawmakers from both parties sent a letter to the DEA in January urging Allow terminally ill patients to use psilocybin As investigative therapy without fear of federal prosecution.
Activists and patients were recently Arrested at the headquarters of the Drug Enforcement Administration After engaging in civil disobedience during a protest against the agency’s refusal to make a waiver granting these patients access to psilocybin under right-to-trial laws.