New Jersey Senate Bill 2283 would decriminalize psilocybin
Photo 83293703 © Natalia Bratslavsky |


New Jersey Senate Bill 2283 would decriminalize psilocybin

Senate Bill 2283 would allow personal possession and cultivation of psilocybin in a private residence.

A version of this testimony was submitted to the New Jersey Senate Committee on Health, Human Services and Senior Citizens on June 6, 2024.

We applaud the New Jersey Senate for considering the decriminalization of psilocybin. Reason Foundation has reviewed the clinical research regarding the effectiveness of psilocybin in treating a range of mental health conditions and concluded that psilocybin-assisted therapy can be highly effective in the treatment of clinical depression. Early studies also suggest that psilocybin-assisted therapy can help individuals overcome substance abuse, including alcoholism and nicotine addiction.

Senate Bill 2283 would allow personal possession and cultivation of psilocybin in a private residence. Our research into the effects of a similar reform in Colorado reveals this policy change has had no notable effect on public health or crime. We analyzed data from hospital discharges and the uniform crime reporting database in Colorado and found no increase in arrests or hospitalizations in the year after home cultivation and possession of natural psychedelic substances were decriminalized by the passage of Proposition 122.

We further applaud Senate Bill 2283’s proposal to license the commercial manufacture of psilocybin products and the delivery of psilocybin-assisted therapies. Many individuals do not possess the knowledge or ability to safely produce these products on their own, and a commercial system allows for specialization and greater market efficiency. However, we urge caution regarding the regulatory costs that might be imposed on licensees, as these costs will be subsequently passed onto consumers and may result in a lack of price competitiveness with alternative, illicit offerings. In Oregon, rules for professional licensing of psychedelic guides have led to excessive training, licensing and security requirements that inflate the price of regulated psilocybin therapies well beyond the means of many working-class families. A single psilocybin-assisted therapy session commonly costs $3,000 or more in Oregon as providers attempt to recoup these costs. Clinical protocols often call for multiple administrations, which could cost a patient more than $10,000 in total. Meanwhile, an unlicensed psilocybin-infused chocolate bar may sell for $60. High costs for legal products may drive many individuals to consider these unlicensed alternatives.

We recommend that Senate Bill 2283 allow students-in-training to acquire their mandated hours in an apprenticeship or other work-related context so that they can earn money while learning the mandatory educational modules. Any didactic or classroom-based educational requirements should be limited to no more than 10 hours, and non-class requirements should be limited to no more than 40 hours.

Additionally, Senate Bill 2283 should explicitly protect the “gifting” or transfer of psilocybin in the context of “harm reduction” education for financial remuneration by anyone who is able to possess psilocybin. Individuals should be able to pool their personal home cultivation rights into a collective that allows for greater specialization and efficiency. Collectives should be permitted to freely advertise their services and membership benefits.