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Illinois Lawmaker Introduces Psychedelics Legalization Bill

Illinois’ state legislator has proposed a bill to legalize the therapeutic use of psychedelics. This includes psilocybin. It is the main psychoactive compound found in magic mushrooms. The Compassionate use and Research of Entheogens Act (CURE Act) was presented Wednesday by Democratic state Representative La Shawn Ford. 

Ford presented the bill on the first day of Illinois’ new legislative session. It would establish a controlled psychedelic treatment program, overseen by an advisory board. House Bill 1 (HB1) has been named the bill. The legislation also repeals any criminal penalties that could be imposed for the use of psilocybin personally. Ford explained in a statement the removal was necessary to ensure the safety and well-being of patients as well as providers. Ford noted that while existing criminal prohibitions on the drugs are rarely enforced, “formally removing them ensures that patients won’t be turned into criminals simply for seeking health, healing and wellness.”

“I’ve been seeing more and more legitimate scientific evidence, including information coming from the FDA, showing that psychedelic therapy is not only safe, but also very effective, particularly for the toughest patients for whom other treatments have not worked,” Ford said in a press release about the legislation. “At the same time, I am also hearing from patients and from their medical providers, that Illinoisans should have access to these exciting new treatment options.”

HB1 Legalizes Psychedelic Therapies In Illinois

The legislation will allow adults 18 years and older to access supervised psychoedelic therapy under supervision from certified facilitators. All psychedelic compounds that are used in the program have to be made and tested in licensed laboratories. Ford stated that the law legalizes possession and use of psychedelic substances, but it doesn’t authorize commercial sale of any entheogenic compound.

“I want to be clear that this is a health measure. My proposal does not allow retail sales of psilocybin outside of a regulated therapeutic setting and ensures that medicines purchased for therapeutic use at a service center must be used under medical supervision, and cannot be taken home,” said Ford. “Only licensed facilitators will be allowed to provide treatment at closely regulated and licensed healing centers, approved health care facilities, in hospice, or at a pre-approved patient residence.”

Ford stated in his statement, “A growing body of research on entheogenic plants, fungi, such as psilocybin, is showing that these drugs can treat many mental health conditions including anxiety, depression, post-traumatic Stress disorder, and more.” The use of psychedelics could also prove to be effective in treating neurological conditions like cluster headaches and migraines as well as cancer and phantomlimbs. Psychedelic-assisted therapy is so promising that psilocybin has been given “breakthrough treatment” status designation by the FDA.

Bill Marks A Step Forward in the Psychedelics Policy Reform Efforts

Although the bill is focused on naturally occurring psychedelic compounds, Joshua Kappel, founding partner of the cannabis and psychedelic law firm Vicente Sederberg LLP, notes that the bill’s provisions are not limited to traditionally cultivated or foraged entheogens. It marks an important evolution in the psychedelics policy reform effort, which have so far resulted only two states allowing psilocybin to be legalized for therapeutic purposes.

“It builds off Colorado and Oregon in a very thoughtful and progressive way, including permitting synthetic varieties of the natural medicines permitted in Colorado,” Kappel writes in an email to Chronic News, “which is key development from a sustainability perspective.”

House Bill 1 already has the support of many medical and mental health professionals as well as patients and grassroots psychedelic activists. Entheo IL was formed by many to help lead reforms in Illinois’ psychedelics policies.

“The push for legal access to entheogenic medicines is broad at the state level, such as in Oregon and Colorado, as well as at the federal level,” Jean Lacy, the executive director of the new group, said in a statement. “This legislation will ensure Illinois is a leader in developing the infrastructure needed for this work.”