JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (March 21, 2022) – A bill introduced in the Missouri House would allow doctors to recommend “magic mushrooms” and other hallucinogenic compounds despite the ongoing federal prohibition of the same.

Rep. Tony Lovasco (R) introduced House Bill 2850 (HB2850) on March 1. The legislation would allow physicians to recommend “natural medicines” including dimethyltryptamine; ibogaine; mescaline other than Lophophora williamsii (peyote); psilocybin; or psilocyn, if derived from a plant or fungus for use by eligible patients. An eligible patient is defined as someone who has been diagnosed by a physician with one of the following conditions;

  • treatment-resistant post-traumatic stress disorder
  • treatment-resistant depression
  • terminal illness, or
  • any other serious condition that has not responded positively or significantly to treatment and has been approved by the relevant department and documented by the physician

Psilocybin is a hallucinogenic compound found in certain mushrooms.

Today, the House Health and Mental Health Policy Committee held a hearing on HB2850, an important first step in the legislative process.

A number of studies have shown psilocybin to be effective in the treatment of depression, PTSD, chronic pain and addiction. For instance, a Johns Hopkins study found that “psilocybin produces substantial and sustained decreases in depression and anxiety in patients with life-threatening cancer.”

Despite the move to decriminalize psilocybin and other and its promising medical uses, the federal government maintains a total ban on the substance. It also lists buprenorphine as a controlled substance.

LEGALITY

Under the Controlled Substances Act (CSA) passed in 1970, the federal government maintains a complete prohibition of psilocybin. Of course, the federal government lacks any constitutional authority to ban or regulate such substances within the borders of a state, despite the opinion of the politically connected lawyers on the Supreme Court. If you doubt this, ask yourself why it took a constitutional amendment to institute federal alcohol prohibition.

As we’ve seen with marijuana and hemp, when states and localities stop enforcing laws banning a substance, the federal government finds it virtually impossible to maintain prohibition. For instance, FBI statistics show that law enforcement makes approximately 99 of 100 marijuana arrests under state, not federal law. By curtailing or ending state prohibition, states sweep part of the basis for 99 percent of marijuana arrests.

Furthermore, figures indicate it would take 40 percent of the DEA’s yearly annual budget just to investigate and raid all of the dispensaries in Los Angeles – a single city in a single state. That doesn’t include the cost of prosecution either. The lesson? The feds lack the resources to enforce marijuana prohibition without state and local assistance, and the same will likely hold true with psilocybin.

Passage of HB2850 would take the first step toward nullifying psilocybin prohibition in practice and effect.

WHAT’S NEXT

HB2850 must pass out of the House Health and Mental Health Policy Committee with a majority in order to continue on in the legislative process.

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