CONCORD, N.H. (Jan. 8, 2024) – A bill filed in the New Hampshire House would legalize the use of psychedelics including psilocybin and LSD for medical use, setting the stage to nullify federal prohibition of the same in practice and effect.
Rep. Kevin Verviller prefiled House Bill 1693 (HB1693) on Dec. 15. The legislation would legalize psilocybin, LSD, and mescaline for medical purposes and set up a system similar to the state’s medical marijuana program to administer medicinal psychedelics for patients with qualifying conditions.
The proposed law would protect registered patients and their caretakers from “arrest by state or local law enforcement, prosecution, or penalty under state or municipal law.” The patient would be required to meet the following criteria:
- Is 21 years of age or older
- Suffers from a condition listed in the act
- Possesses a valid registry identification card
- Doesn’t exceed two ounces of usable psychedelics or any unusable psychedelics
Registered caregivers would enjoy similar legal protection.
The legislation includes provisions to regulate treatment centers and cultivation facilities.
Psilocybin 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.”
Efforts to legalize psychedelics for medical use in New Hampshire follow a successful ballot measure that decriminalized several drugs, including heroin and cocaine in Oregon. 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 HB1693 would end criminal enforcement of laws prohibiting the possession of psychedelics in New Hampshire. 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.
HB1693 will be referred to the House Health, Human Services, & Elderly Committee when the New Hampshire legislature convenes on Jan. 3. 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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