Two Bills to Decriminalize Psychedelics Filed in Massachusetts
Two bills were filed in Massachusetts to decriminalize psilocybin mushrooms, ayahuasca, mescaline, and ibogaine. The bills would end the prosecution of psychedelic substances in the Bay State.
The Boston Herald reports that companion bills were filed in the Massachusetts House and Senate. The House bill, “An Act relative to plant medicine,” or Bill HD.1450, was filed by Rep. Lindsay Sabadosa. The Senate bill, titled “An act relative to plant medicine,” Bill SD.949 was filed by Sen. Patricia Jehlen.
Adults ages 18 and older would not be prosecuted for personal amounts of psychedelics.
The bill would decriminalize “the possession, ingestion, obtaining, growing, giving away without financial gain to natural persons 18 years of age or older, and transportation of no more than two grams of psilocybin, psilocin, dimethyltryptamine, ibogaine, and mescaline.”
The bills would amend the state general law’s Section 50: Entheogenic Plants and Fungi.
The bill however does not allow for the sale of psychedelics: “‘Financial gain’ shall mean the receipt of money or other valuable consideration in exchange for the item being shared,” the bill adds.
“Mushrooms are life changing,” James Davis, co-founder of Bay Staters for Natural Medicine, said in a statement. “From depression to addiction to painful cluster headaches, they are a tool that people should use in a caring community.
“There’s no better way to promote intentional and mindful use than to decriminalize minor amounts for home growing and sharing without enabling commercial sale,” Davis added.
“Humans have used psychedelic plants and fungi, non-addictive by their nature, for spiritual relief for more than 13,000 years: from Northern Africa and the Americas—to Greece and the Middle East,” Bay Staters for Natural Medicine states on their website. “President Nixon banned these plants as Schedule One “drugs” through the Federal Controlled Substances Act without scientific basis to purposefully criminalize Black Americans and anti-war protesters. We work to reverse these policies and stop for-profit corporations from monopolizing the facilitation market to needlessly charge desperate people thousands of dollars.”
The statewide move comes after a handful of cities decriminalized psychedelics at the city level. Somerville, Cambridge, Northampton, and Easthampton, for instance, voted to decriminalize psychedelic mushrooms and other entheogenic plants.
The reasons to decriminalize are growing: The global market for psychedelic drugs including psilocybin, ketamine, and LSD is expected to grow to nearly $12 billion per year before 2030, according to data from a recent market analysis. In a report released last Thursday, Brandessence Market Research revealed that the psychedelic drug market is anticipated to reach a valuation of $11.82 billion by 2029, growing from an estimated $4.87 billion in 2022.
Psychedelic-assisted therapy is undergoing somewhat of a renaissance. Belief that psychedelics could help control the opioid epidemic is growing. A 2017 Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine study, involving 44,000 participants, found that psychedelic use was associated with a 40% reduced risk of opioid abuse. A more recent study that suggested an even stronger reduced risk—55%.
Meanwhile, Tryp Therapeutics signed a letter of intent earlier this month with Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH), the largest teaching hospital of Harvard Medical School, to fund and conduct a Phase 2a clinical trial. The team of researchers will be investigating the effects of psilocybin-assisted psychotherapy in the treatment of patients aged 21 and older who are suffering from Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS).
More states are moving to loosen laws surrounding psychedelic use for therapeutic purposes. Colorado and Oregon decriminalized psilocybin mushrooms.