New York begins with the legalization of recreational cannabis sales this week. While this should be reason enough to celebrate, state lawmakers have already pre-filed a bill looking to legalize the sale of psychedelics like psilocybin and ibogaine for 2023.
First Cannabis, Now This
Achieving legalization of cannabis sales in the state of New York is a massive step forward for the country as a whole. Having one of the most influential states legalize recreational cannabis sales and usage will have a trickle-down effect on the rest of the states that may still be hesitant to legalize cannabis.
But while cannabis legalization is a massive win for recreational smokers and users, some state lawmakers have already pre-filed a bill that looks to push for the legalization of “possession, use, cultivation, production, creation, analysis, gifting, exchange, or sharing by or between natural persons of twenty-one years of age or older of a natural plant or fungus-based hallucinogen.”
In plain English, they’re pushing to legalize psychedelics like DMT, ibogaine, mescaline, psilocybin and psilocin for recreational sale to persons 21 years of age or older by 2023.
This legislation is being sponsored by assembly members Linda Rosenthal (D), Jo Anne Simon (D) and Karines Reyes (D). It’s expected to be formally announced next week.
Another point of the legislation is that it will authorize people to engage in psychedelic services “with or without remuneration,” as well as use the entheogens in religious ceremonies.
One of the legislation conditions is that state and local law enforcement would be prohibited from cooperating or providing assistance to the federal government to enforce controlled substance laws against activities made legal under state law.
The measure outlines a series of protections for psychedelics users, including:
- Professional licenses, public assistance, mental health or behavioral health services wouldn’t be lost or suspended for using psychedelics. Their lawful use also couldn’t be the sole basis for a child welfare investigation.
- Employers wouldn’t be able to take adverse action against a worker for lawfully using psychedelics off-duty.
- New York localities wouldn’t be allowed to enact laws criminalizing psychedelics. Still, they could “adopt and implement legislation and policies which bear directly on or are related to natural plant or fungus-based hallucinogens in furtherance” of the bill.
- Finally, the proposal would remove psilocybin, psilocin, DMT, mescaline and ibogaine from the state’s banned substances list.
While the legislation in its current form wouldn’t create the framework for any legal sale market yet, if it passes, it’ll be an important stepping stone for the psychedelic market to head in that direction.
The legislation does set up the framework for the legal possession and gifting of psychedelics, which would already make a big difference in how people obtain their psychedelics.
The introduction of this new bill is a potential signal that this year will be especially active regarding psychedelics reform and revisiting. This is especially foretelling following the success of the local decriminalization movement for psilocybin therapy in Oregon and broader psychedelic legalization in Colorado.
As of Tuesday, a voter-approved Colorado initiative to legalize psychedelic possession for adults took effect with the governor’s proclamation.
In California, state Sen. Scott Wiener (D) recently refiled his bill to legalize possession of certain psychedelics after his last attempt derailed in the eleventh hour of the 2022 session.
An analysis published in an American Medical Association journal this month also concluded that a majority of states will legalize psychedelics by 2037, based on statistical modeling of policy trends.
We can probably expect the complete legalization of psychedelics in the next five years. And the legalization process will likely follow a similar trend as cannabis, with states legalizing psychedelics slowly at first, then countrywide.
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