PsychedeLinks is a curated selection of top news stories impacting business, research, and culture in the psychedelics ecosystem, crafted by Emerge Law Group’s groundbreaking Psychedelics Group.
Emerge’s Hot Take
Legislators in favor of legalizing psychedelics in California are narrowing the scope of proposed psychedelics bills for the upcoming election. This shift follows Gov. Gavin Newsom’s veto of a psychedelics decriminalization bill in October of last year. Gov. Newsom cited the need for “regulated treatment guidelines” as a primary reason for vetoing the bill. In response to the Governor’s directive, and citing California’s “severe mental health crisis,” Assemblymember Marie Waldron (R-San Diego) and Sen. Scott Wiener (D-San Francisco) announced at a January 9th Senate hearing that they will be partnering this year “in the space of psychedelic therapy.” Assemb. Waldron and Sen. Wiener expect to introduce a Senate bill by early February aimed at legalizing and structuring such therapies. A related bill to fund “a work group to study the benefits and dangers” of psychedelic-assisted therapies passed the Assembly health committee early in January. Opponents of the bill have expressed concerns as to a lack of clarity around what specifically would be studied and how the studies would be conducted, as well as skepticism of the proposed conclusion of the work group by 2026. Proponents however point to the necessity of the data such studies would produce for use in legislating further policy around psychedelic use and the strong foundation of centralized information these studies could provide.
“While Gov. Newsom’s veto of SB 58 was disappointing, the Governor did provide clear guidance as to what needs to happen for psychedelic legislation to progress in California,” observes Emerge attorney Delia Rojas. “These proposed measures are in-line with his recommendations, and it’s encouraging to see legislators such as Assemb. Waldron and Sen. Weiner continue to work towards some form of legal psychedelic space in California. The narrowing of focus may be frustrating to some, but incremental steps such as these can be invaluable in moving towards broader decriminalization.”
Other Noteworthy News
Psilocybin Therapy Expands in Bend with New Facility Drop Thesis
THE BULLETIN – “Drop Thesis will become Bend’s third licensed psilocybin center and will focus on wellness and consciousness expansion. Each patient’s session will take 12 to 15 hours with a licensed facilitator in a structured environment designed to create a safe psychedelic experience, said Drop Thesis co-founder Ryan Reid. The facility, at 505 NW Franklin Ave., is one of three in Bend, and will open sometime in February, but there is already a wait list. Eventually, the company will add a manufacturing location to become vertically integrated. Reid said he wants to create an environment focused on creating an experience of wellness and restoration of mind and body using psilocybin in a structured setting. ‘Everyone has a different intention,’ Reid said. ‘It will require a lot of processing and understanding of the unconscious. The professionals will talk through that. The big question is what is the intention of the user? What does the individual want from the session? We want to make sure they’re prepared for it. It’s fantastic that we can experience this legally and with a structured, intentional environment.’”
Your Employer May be Adding Another Health Benefit to its Roster: Psychedelic Drugs
FORTUNE – “A slowly increasing number of employers—mostly those who’ve experienced the benefits themselves—are giving their employees access to psychedelic-assisted psychotherapy as part of their health plan. ‘People should have access to these substances that are transformational relative to traditional pharmaceutical solutions for depression, anxiety, pain and PTSD. It’s not for everybody, but everybody should have access to it if it’s right for them,’ says Peter Barsoom, CEO and co-founder of 1906, a cannabis edibles company. 1906 offers its employees mental health coverage through Enthea, the only third-party administrator of health insurance plans that offers psychedelic medicine as a workplace benefit. But it is far from just purveyors of cannabis who have found value in offering psychedelic medicine to their workforce. Employers across industries, from trucking, to software, gaming, financial services, healthcare, and retail, are adding this medicine to health benefits packages.”
World’s First Psychedelic Medicine Doses for 50 Years Begin in Australia
DMARGE – “After the TGA’s landmark decision in February 2023, reclassified substances are being administered to patients for the very first time. [A spokesperson for Mind Medicine Australia announced that] ‘this week the first two patients received treatment with psychedelic-assisted therapy as part of the Therapeutic Goods Administration’s (TGA) Authorised Prescriber (AP) program in Melbourne, Australia with medicines and training supplied through Mind Medicine Australia. This marks the first time patients have received these treatments outside of research in a legal, regulated clinical setting with scheduled psychedelic medicines in over 50 years.’ Since July 1st 2023, psychiatrists [in Australia] have been able to apply to become APs for psilocybin and MDMA. Psychiatrists with AP status can prescribe these substances as part of therapy for patients with treatment-resistant depression (psilocybin) and treatment-resistant post-traumatic stress disorder (MDMA).”
LISTEN: In Oregon, Some See the Benefits of Psychedelic Treatment for Mental Health Conditions
NPR WEEKEND EDITION – “When Oregon legalized psilocybin, it did so under a measure that specifically cited the drug’s efficacy in treating mental health conditions. Centers are now opening their doors across the state.”
LISTEN: The Birth of Psychedelic Science
NPR FRESH AIR – “You may have heard about the pioneering research of anthropologist Margaret Mead, but do you know about her work with psychedelics? Mead and her husband, Gregory Bateson, thought psychedelics might reshape humanity by expanding consciousness. We’ll speak with author Benjamin Breen about that research and how it led to the CIA’s secret experiments in the ’50s and ’60s, using psychedelics in interrogation. He also shares with us details about a NASA-funded experiment to try to get dolphins to talk by giving them LSD.”
WATCH: New Jersey Legislature to Consider Bill Decriminalizing Magic Mushrooms
NBC NEW YORK – “A push is underway to legalize magic mushrooms in New Jersey. News 4’s Adam Harding reports.”
Subscribe to PsychedeLinks to receiveessential biweekly articles on news, business, and culture in the psychedelics industry, delivered straight to your inbox.