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Two Bills to Decriminalize Psychedelics Filed in Massachusetts

Massachusetts has filed two bills to end the criminalization of psilocybin, ayahuasca and mescaline. They would also end prosecutions of people using psychedelic drugs in the Bay State.

The Boston HeraldAccording to reports, companion bills were also filed in Massachusetts’s 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.

Individual amounts of psychedelics would be not prosecuted against adults over the age 18.

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.”

Following a number of cities that have made it illegal to use psychedelics in their communities, this statewide initiative is being taken. For example, Somerville and Cambridge, Northampton and Easthampton voted to remove criminalization of psychedelic mushrooms from the city level.

There are more reasons for decriminalizing: According to a market analysis, the global market for psychoactive drugs such as ketamine and psilocybin is projected to reach nearly $12 billion annually by 2030. Brandessence Market Research released a report last Thursday revealing that the market for psychedelic drugs is expected to be valued at $11.82billion by 2029. This represents a significant increase from $4.87 billion estimated in 2022.

There is an uptake in psychedelic-assisted therapies. The belief that psychedelics can help curb the opioid crisis is on the rise. The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine 2017 study found that opioid abuse is at 40% lower risk when psychedelics are used. This was based on 44,000 participants. A more recent study that suggested an even stronger reduced risk—55%.

Tryp Therapeutics, meanwhile, signed an earlier month letter of intent with Massachusetts General Hospital, the largest Harvard Medical School teaching hospital (MGH), to help fund and run a Phase IIa clinical trial. This team of researchers will investigate the effect of psilocybin assisted psychotherapy on patients with Irritable Bowel syndrome (IBS) aged 21 or older.

There are more states that have begun to relax laws regarding psychedelics for therapeutic purposes. Colorado and Oregon decriminalized psilocybin mushrooms.