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
Congressmen Robert Garcia (D-CA) and Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) have co-sponsored a bill prohibiting federal law enforcement from interfering with communities where psilocybin is decriminalized. The Validating Independence for State Initiatives on Organic Natural Substances Act of 2023 (VISIONS Act) aims to improve access to psychedelic related therapies by alleviating widespread concerns shared by both licensees and clients over legal issues stemming from federal regulation of psilocybin and other hallucinogens. VISION Act proponents point to the rise in states moving towards psilocybin decriminalization (for example, the recent passage of CA SB-58) as a major impetus for the bill. They point particularly to the need for psychedelic-assisted therapies in military and law enforcement veterans, and hope that the added protection from federal oversight in those states will spur faster and more widespread growth of psilocybin ecosystems and research opportunities. “For too long, the federal government has perpetuated a broken system that has denied patients access to the therapeutic potential of psilocybin,” Rep. Blumenauer said in the release. “It is time for the federal government to get out of the way of states like Oregon who are making progress.”
“It’s exciting to see a bill such as this introduced in Congress this early in the developing industry,” says Emerge Law Group California attorney Delia Rojas. “The bill is surprisingly broad to include both decriminalization and legalization of psilocybin which would hopefully remove much of the fear in passing state or local legislation allowing for activities involving the organic substance.”
Other Noteworthy News
MARIJUANA MOMENT – “A bill recently introduced in Michigan would legalize psychedelic plants and fungi so long as activities like cultivating and distributing the substances are done ‘without receiving money or other valuable consideration.’ Senate Bill 449, sponsored by Sen. Jeff Irwin (D), would apply to five substances—psilocybin, psilocyn, dimethyltryptamine (DMT), ibogaine and mescaline—along with the plants and fungi known to produce them. If approved, it would exempt individuals from penalties for possession and use of the substances as well as noncommercial manufacturing, processing and delivery. At the local level, several municipal governments in Michigan have moved to decriminalize psychedelics, including Detroit, Ann Arbor, Ferndale and Hazel Park. Only Massachusetts has seen more local jurisdictions pass the reform. ‘We’ve got some really great activists here in Michigan that have started this conversation in their communities,’ [Irwin] said. “They’ve reached out to city council members and township board members and folks like that to ask the basic question, ‘Does it make sense that we would spend our tax resources on busting people for these crimes? Does it even make sense that possessing or using these substances is a crime in the first place?’”
HEALTHLINE – “The psychedelic drug MDMA, commonly known as “ecstasy” or “molly,” has moved one step closer to receiving approval from the Food and Drug Administration as a treatment for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). This comes after a second large phase 3 clinical trial found that the drug, in combination with psychotherapy, was effective at reducing symptoms in a racially diverse group of people with moderate to severe PTSD. In the new study, sponsored by nonprofit Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS), 104 people with moderate or severe PTSD received MDMA-assisted therapy — using a protocol developed by MAPS — or an inactive placebo with therapy. After three 8-hour treatment sessions spaced approximately 1 month apart, 71% of people in the MDMA-assisted therapy group no longer met the diagnostic criteria for PTSD, compared to 48% of those in the placebo with therapy group. The results of the clinical trial were published September 14 in Nature Medicine. One of the promising aspects of the new study is that only 2% of people in the MDMA-assisted therapy group dropped out of the trial early. In the placebo with therapy group, 16% dropped out, which the researchers said may be due to them receiving ‘less effective treatment.’ ‘I think that there will be a large demand for this treatment, if it is approved,’ [said Brett Waters, co-founder and executive director of Reason for Hope, a group that advocates on behalf of veterans and others on issues related to psychedelic medicine and assisted therapies], ‘particularly among the veteran population, including those who haven’t been helped by gold-standard therapies such as SSRIs [selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors] and other medications.’”
CBS NEWS – “Oregon has taken an unprecedented step in offering psilocybin, also known as magic mushrooms, to the public. Epic Healing Eugene – America’s first licensed psilocybin service center – opened in June, marking Oregon’s unprecedented step in offering the mind-bending drug to the public. The center now has a waitlist of more than 3,000 names, including people with depression, PTSD or end-of-life dread. No prescription or referral is needed, but proponents hope Oregon’s legalization will spark a revolution in mental health care. Colorado voters last year passed a measure allowing regulated use of psychedelic mushrooms starting in 2024, and California’s Legislature this month approved a measure that would allow possession and use of certain plant- and mushroom-based psychedelics, including psilocybin and mescaline, with plans for health officials to develop guidelines for therapeutic use. The Oregon Psilocybin Services Section, charged with regulating the state’s industry, has received ‘hundreds of thousands of inquiries from all over the world,’ Angela Allbee, the agency’s manager, said in an interview. ‘So far, what we’re hearing is that clients have had positive experiences,’ she said. As of September 15, 2023, Oregon Psilocybin Services has issued 11 service center licenses, 110 facilitator licenses, 4 manufacturer licenses, and 281 worker permits, the agency confirmed to CBS News.”