A bipartisan coalition of Georgia lawmakers filed a resolution that calls for the formation of a House study committee to investigate the therapeutic potential of psychedelics like psilocybin and make recommendations for reforms.
The resolution, sponsored by House Appropriations Public Safety Subcommittee Chairman Bill Hitchens (R), starts with a section that discusses the need for effective treatments for major depressive disorder and post-traumatic stress disorder for military veterans.
The Emory Healthcare Veterans Program located within the state has “experience in both veteran treatment and psychedelic treatments, and studies show substantial evidence that supports psilocybin-assisted psychotherapy for the treatment of depressive disorders,” the text states.
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It also notes that “current research on psilocybin trials excludes patients with a history of substance abuse, and research further indicates that psilocybin therapy can enhance sobriety-focused psychotherapy for addiction.”
There are no explicit references to any particular studies that the proposed House Study Committee on Alternative Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder Treatment Resources for Veterans would be tasked with exploring; rather, the measure says members “shall undertake a study of the conditions, needs, issues, and problems mentioned above or related thereto and recommend any action or legislation which the committee deems necessary or appropriate.”
The new five-person committee would include the chair of the House Defense and Veterans Affairs Committee, two members appointed by the House speaker, one of which would be named chair of the study panel, and two members of the state Department of Veterans Affair.
Rep. Heath Clark (R), who chairs the House Defense and Veterans Affairs Committee, is a cosponsor of the new bill, as is Rep. Josh Bonner (R), who serves as a floor leader for Gov. Brian Kemp (R). The measure has been referred to Clark’s panel but hasn’t yet been scheduled for a hearing.
“In the event the committee adopts any specific findings or recommendations that include suggestions for proposed legislation, the chairperson shall file a report of the same prior to the date of abolishment specified in this resolution,” the resolution says. “In the event the committee adopts a report that does not include suggestions for proposed legislation, the chairperson shall file the report.”
There would be a tight turnaround deadline for any reports or recommendations, with the measure calling for the dissolution of the committee on December 1, 2022.
Activists and lawmakers across the U.S. have kicked into high gear when it comes to psychedelics policy reform this session.
For example, this week the Hawaii Senate approved a bill to set up a state working group to study the therapeutic benefits of psilocybin mushrooms and develop a “long-term” plan to ensure that the psychedelic is accessible for medical use for adults 21 and older.
Also this week, the Oklahoma House of Representatives passed a bill this week to decriminalize low-level possession of psilocybin and promote research into the therapeutic potential of the psychedelic.
Rhode Island lawmakers introduced a pair of drug decriminalization bills this month—including one focused on psilocybin and buprenorphine that would authorize doctors to prescribe the psychedelic mushroom.
Also this month, a Missouri Republican lawmaker filed a bill that would legalize a wide range of psychedelics for therapeutic use at designated care facilities while further decriminalizing low-level possession in general.
Last month, Utah lawmakers sent a bill to the governor that would create a task force to study and make recommendations on the therapeutic potential of psychedelic drugs and possible regulations for their lawful use.
An Oregon Senate committee also recently advanced a bill to ensure that equity is built into the state’s historic therapeutic psilocybin program that’s actively being implemented following voter approval in 2020.
A group of Maryland senators recently filed a bill that would create a state fund that could be used to provide free access to psychedelics like psilocybin, MDMA and ketamine for military veterans suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), while also supporting research into their therapeutic potential.
A bill to decriminalize a wide array of psychedelics in Virginia was taken up by a House of Delegates panel in January, only to be pushed off until 2023. A separate Senate proposal to decriminalize psilocybin alone was later defeated in a key committee.
California Sen. Scott Wiener (D) told Marijuana Moment in a recent interview that his bill to legalize psychedelics possession stands a 50/50 chance of reaching the governor’s desk this year. It already cleared the full Senate and two Assembly committees during the first half of the two-year session.
Washington State lawmakers also introduced legislation in January that would legalize what the bill calls “supported psilocybin experiences” by adults 21 and older.
New Hampshire lawmakers filed measures to decriminalize psilocybin and all drugs.
Last year, the governor of Connecticut signed legislation that includes language requiring the state to carry out a study into the therapeutic potential of psilocybin mushrooms.
Similar legislation was also enacted by the Texas legislature, requiring the state to study the medical risks and benefits of psilocybin, MDMA and ketamine for military veterans in partnership with Baylor College of Medicine and a military-focused medical center.
Colorado officials last week approved the language of two more psychedelics reform initiatives from the same campaign that already passed that procedural step for two separate measures it submitted late last year. A competing campaign filed a different psychedelics legalization last month.
Michigan activists filed a statewide ballot initiative last month that would legalize possessing, cultivating and sharing psychedelics and set up a system for their therapeutic and spiritual use.
A pair of Michigan senators also introduced a bill in September to legalize the possession, cultivation and delivery of an array of plant- and fungi-derived psychedelics like psilocybin and mescaline.
At the congressional level, bipartisan lawmakers sent a letter to the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) last month, urging that the agency allow terminally ill patients to use psilocybin as an investigational treatment without the fear of federal prosecution.