Psychedelics Policy Newsletter: Massachusetts ballot initiative would foster access, state legislature momentum stalls, and more
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Psychedelics Policy Newsletter

Psychedelics Policy Newsletter: Massachusetts ballot initiative would foster access, state legislature momentum stalls, and more

Plus: The National Institute of Health awards money for addiction research, a Michigan poll signals interest in psychedelics, and more.

Welcome to Reason Foundation’s newsletter on psychedelics policy. This edition covers:

  • Massachusetts ballot measure worthy of support
  • California proposes heavy psychedelic therapy regulation
  • State-level psychedelic legislation stalls
  • Michigan poll shows support for psychedelic access
  • Colorado’s social media censorship bill would target legalized drugs
  • NIH funds ibogaine-like compound

Massachusetts initiative would promote safe access

Reason Foundation has published a new opinion piece in favor of a Massachusetts ballot initiative that would legalize personal possession of botanical psychedelics and set up a regulated marketplace for guided psychedelic-assisted therapy sessions. This marketplace would be similar to what is currently happening in Colorado after that state’s passage of Proposition 122. The initiative is likely to be up for a vote this fall.

California legalization bill fails

A Reason Foundation opinion piece syndicated in Southern California newspapers, including the Orange County Register, argued that a California bill, SB 1012, to legalize psychedelic therapy had included too much heavy-handed regulation. For instance, the bill would have required providers to have healthcare licenses to oversee clients. The bill ultimately failed.

Although the bill represented a positive incremental step toward legalization, its proposed regulations, such as requiring a medical license, would have increased costs to consumers and therefore encouraged an illicit market to continue to thrive. The sponsor, State Sen. Scott Wiener (D-San Francisco), has pledged to continue pursuing legalization, and his fellow lawmakers should address these concerns.

Other state legislation stalls

Several states were considering bills to legalize psychedelic medicine earlier this year. However, nearly all of those efforts have either failed or been severely cut back into commissions to report on the possibility of future reform.

Bills in Wisconsin, Rhode Island, and California failed. Maine’s legalization attempt was downgraded to a study and joins Alaska and Vermont in the group of advisory-only reforms. So far, the best outcome is that legislators nationwide seem willing to investigate potential future legalization within their respective states. 

Michigan poll shows majority support for access to psychedelics

As Michigan lawmakers are considering legalization, Reason Foundation conducted an opinion poll to gauge constituent interest. We found that a comfortable majority (65%) support medical access and a slim majority (55%) support retail access to psychedelic products.

Reason Foundation published an opinion piece warning against a Colorado bill that would have required social media companies to police content and censor any accounts promoting the use of drugs that are fully legal under state law and provided for other heavy-handed mandates on private industry. The bill narrowly failed and is likely up for a renewed push in the next legislative session.

NIH awards $14 million in grant money for addiction research

The National Institute of Health (NIH) has awarded $14 million to Gilgamesh, a pharmaceutical company developing a compound similar to the psychedelic ibogaine, which can be used to treat opioid addiction. NIH has also opened a grant application to study psychedelic treatment for chronic pain in older adults.