JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (Dec. 18, 2023) – A bill filed in the Missouri Senate would legalize the use of psilocybin for medical use, setting the stage to nullify federal prohibition of the same in practice and effect.
Sen. Holly Thompson Rehder prefiled Senate Bill 768 (SB768) on Dec. 1. The legislation would protect “any person who acquires, uses, produces, possesses, transfers, or administers psilocybin for the person’s own therapeutic use” from state or local criminal and civil penalties if they meet the following criteria:
- Is 21 years of age or older
- Suffers from a condition listed in the act
- Has enrolled or sought to be enrolled in a clinical trial to study psilocybin to treat such conditions
- Informs the Department of Health and Senior Services that they plan to acquire, use, produce, possess, transfer, or administer psilocybin under this act
- Provides the Department with specified documentation and information
- Ensures the psilocybin is tested in a licensed laboratory, and
- Limits the use of psilocybin to no more than 150 milligrams of psilocybin analyte during any 12-month period.
The legislation also protects any person “who assists another in any of the acts permitted under this act and any laboratory testing psilocybin.”
Psilocybin, often referred to as “magic mushrooms,” is a hallucinogenic compound found in certain mushrooms. Several 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.”
In 2020, voters passed a ballot measure making Oregon the first state to create a legal framework for the medical use of “magic mushrooms” despite federal prohibition. In 2022, Colorado voters passed a ballot measure decriminalizing several naturally occurring psychedelic substances. Dozens of cities in several states including Detroit, Michigan have decriminalized “magic mushrooms.” During the 2023 legislative session. California Gov. Gavin Newsome vetoed a similar bill. Despite the governor’s action, individual action is nullifying government prohibition of magic mushrooms in California.
Psychedelic decriminalization and legalization efforts at the state and local levels are moving forward despite the federal government’s prohibition of psilocybin and other psychedelic substances.
Under the Controlled Substances Act (CSA) passed in 1970, the federal government maintains the 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.
In effect, the passage of SB768 would end criminal enforcement of laws prohibiting the possession of psilocybin in Missouri. 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 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 other drugs.
SB768 will be officially introduced and assigned to a committee when the Missouri legislature convenes on Jan. 4 It will need to get a hearing and pass the committee by a majority vote before moving forward in the legislative process.
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