You are here
Home > News > Bipartisan Senate Bill Would Give ‘Right to Try’ Protection to Psilocybin and MDMA

Bipartisan Senate Bill Would Give ‘Right to Try’ Protection to Psilocybin and MDMA

On Wednesday, Senator Cory Booker, a Democratic from New Jersey, and Senator Rand Paul (a Republican of Kentucky) introduced bipartisan legislation to expand federal Right to Try protection to psychedelic drugs MDMA and psilocybin. The bill is called the Right to Try Clarification Act. It would prohibit federal Controlled Substances Act restrictions from being applied to Schedule I Drugs that have undergone a Phase 1 clinical trial. These new provisions will apply to physicians and patients suffering from life-threatening conditions who use Schedule 1 controlled substances as part of the federal Right to Try Act.

“As a physician, I know how important Right to Try is for patients facing a life-threatening condition,” Paul said in a statement about the legislation from Booker’s office. “Unfortunately, the federal bureaucracy continues to block patients seeking to use Schedule I drugs under Right to Try. I’m proud to lead this bipartisan legislation with Sen. Booker that will get government out of the way and give doctors more resources to help patients.”

Patients with serious or life-threatening conditions can apply for the Right to Try Act to receive treatment options that are not approved yet by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. A drug that has completed a Phase 1 clinical trial for the drug will be eligible for Right to Try. However, the FDA must approve or license the drug for use in any other circumstances. The Right to Try law gives states the power to allow or deny Right to Try use.

Senators mentioned that MDMA and psilocybin are promising treatments for a wide range of mental conditions including anxiety and depression. The success and safety of the drugs exhibited in Phase 1 and Phase 2 clinical trials has been so encouraging that the FDA has classified both substances as “breakthrough therapies,” indicating that they show a substantial improvement over currently approved therapies.

“Recent studies suggest that MDMA and psilocybin could represent an enormous advancement in mental health and psychopharmacology,” said Booker. “Unfortunately, many eligible patients who urgently need care do not currently have access to these promising therapies. This legislation will put the patient first and help ensure access to life-changing and life-saving drugs.”

Incorporating Companion Measures in the House

A bipartisan duo of members of the House of Representatives who support federal cannabis policy have already signed on to support Booker and Paul’s bill and will introduce companion legislation in the House. Democratic Representative Earl Blumenauer of Oregon, who has long supported reforming the nation’s cannabis laws, and Representative Nancy Mace, a first-term Republican who introduced a bill to legalize cannabis last year, expressed their support for the change to Right to Try legislation.

“Oregon has a long legacy of ensuring that end-of-life patients have access to the full spectrum of treatment options to alleviate their condition and improve their quality of life. Patients and doctors deserve to discuss treatments—including psilocybin—that researchers find provide immediate and sustained relief from pain, anxiety, and depression for people battling terminal illness,” Blumenauer said. “Federal restrictions have obstructed access to end-of-life care for too long, this legislation will change that and ensure that all patients have the Right to Try. I appreciate Senator Booker’s leadership, it is timely and important.”

“Advances in science and technology are often made when we think outside the box and try new things,” said Mace. “This legislation gives patients the power to choose alternative options like psilocybin or MDMA when facing a life-threatening condition. These chemicals can save lives and this legislation is a significant step in medical advancement. I want to thank Senators Booker and Paul for their bipartisan work to bring these exciting new options into the mainstream medical world.”

Booker was not present when the Right to Try Clarification Act was presented in the Senate. On the same day, Senator Chuck Schumer (New York) and Ron Wyden (Oregon), introduced the long-awaited bill to legalize marijuana at the federal level. Shane Pennington, an attorney with the law firm Vicente Sederberg, said that he is “happy to see Congress paying attention to psychedelics issues, particularly those that affect the veteran community. Vets shouldn’t have to go to other countries to access therapies that evidence has shown to be safe and likely effective.”