While marijuana laws continue to stagnate at the state and federal levels, one Senate leader from New Jersey has filed a bill to legalize the possessing and cultivating psilocybin mushrooms.
Nicholas Scutari (D), the Senate President of New Jersey, recently filed the Psilocybin Behavioral Health Access and Services Act. This measure would grant New Jerseyans suffering from behavioral and mental health issues access to cultivate, possess, and even gift the psychedelic to others.
From Marijuana To Magic Mush
A week after the SAFE Banking Act – a bill that would allow financial institutions and cannabis-related companies to do business together without fear of repercussions at the Federal level – hit yet another wall in Congress, Senate President Nicholas Scutari has filed a bill granting New Jersey citizens access to the psychedelic psilocybin.
The bill, which totals 50 pages in length, opens with a paragraph detailing its intent, which states: “It is the intent of the Legislature to facilitate the establishment of safe, legal, and affordable psilocybin service centers to provide residents of New Jersey who are 21 years of age or older with opportunities for supported psilocybin experiences to alleviate distress, provide preventative behavioral health care, and foster wellness and personal growth.”
As is currently being done in Oregon after the successful passing of psilocybin legislation, Scutari’s Psilocybin Behavioral Health Access and Services Act would allow for the creation of psilocybin treatment and service centers where of-age adults can purchase and/or use the psychedelic. If passed, the bill would also allow residents 21 years old and up to “possess, store, use, ingest, inhale, process, transport, deliver without consideration, or distribute without consideration, four grams or less of psilocybin,” according to Marijuana Moment.
More Lenient Than Cannabis Laws
Perhaps the most significant aspect of the bill – which can be read in full here – is that it will be legal for persons aged 21 and older to “grow, cultivate, or process plants or fungi capable of producing psilocybin for personal use, or to possess the psilocybin produced if the plants and fungi are kept on the grounds of a private home or residence and are kept secure from access by persons under 21 years of age.”
What’s particularly noteworthy about this aspect of Scutari’s measure is the fact that, at present, New Jersey’s own cannabis laws do not allow for the home cultivation of marijuana plants, even for MMJ patients. If the bill passes, New Jerseyans will be able to cultivate the psychedelic in their private homes while still not being able to grow marijuana plants for either recreational or medical use.
Psilocybin Legislation In Other States
As mentioned above, New Jersey is not the first state to try and pass a bill legalizing or, at the very least, decriminalizing psilocybin possession, use, and cultivation. Numerous US cities have decriminalized the use and possession of psilocybin. Back in 2020, Oregon became the first state to decriminalize psilocybin fully and legalize its use for therapeutic purposes.
Other cities that have decriminalized psilocybin include:
- May 2019 – Denver, Colorado
- June 2019 – Oakland, California
- January 2020 – Santa Cruz, California
- September 2020 – Ann Arbor, Michigan
- November 2020 – Washington, DC
- January 2021 – Washtenaw County, Michigan
- January 2021 – Somerville, Massachusetts
- February 2021 – Cambridge, Massachusetts
- March 2021 – Northampton, Massachusetts
- October 2021 – Easthampton, Massachusetts
- November 2021 – Detroit, Michigan
Though the United States still has a long way to go in terms of country-wide marijuana legalization, the fact that states are now looking into the decriminalization and/or legalization of psilocybin and other psychedelic substances for the treatment of behavioral health issues is definitely a step in the right direction.
Lawmakers should take a hard look at what Rep. Scutari is doing in New Jersey to learn a thing or two about catering to the needs and wants of their citizens.
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