Legislator in New Hampshire Introduces Measure to Legalize Psychedelics

A legislator in the state of New Hampshire recently introduced a measure that would legalize the use and possession of psychedelics such as psilocybin and LSD by individuals aged 21 and above. Psilocybin is the main psychoactive compound found in hallucinogenic mushrooms that induces a high when ingested, while LSD (lysergic acid) is a synthetic psychedelic drug that causes hallucinations when ingested.

This is not the first time a psychedelic measure has been introduced in the state. In 2022, Rep. Tony Labranche introduced a measure that would have decriminalized the possession of psilocybin by adults. Despite enjoying bipartisan support, the bill was not approved by legislators.

New Hampshire state law currently defines a hallucinogenic drug as any substance that asserts a disorganizing or confusion effect upon behavior or mental processes and mimics acute psychotic disturbances.

Rep. Kevin Verville in the state’s House of Representatives introduced the bill, HB328, on Jan. 5, 2023. Under the measure, the use or possession of a hallucinogenic by an individual aged 21 and above is not a punishable offense. It also decreases the penalties for the manufacture and possession of LSD. The bill also revises penalties under the New Hampshire state law for the manufacture, sale and possession with the intent to sell PCP and LSD; instead, the bill reserves the punishment for individuals under the age of 21.

This comes as studies on the potential applications of entheogenic plants and fungi in the medical sector continue to be done. Research published in JAMA psychiatry in 2020 discovered that psychotherapy administered together with psilocybin was an effective and fast-acting treatment against patients suffering from major depressive disorder.

A separate study published a few years ago also found that psilocybin treatment produced significant and sustained decreases in anxiety and depression among patients with terminal cancer.

The measure introduced by Verville makes up one of the many efforts seen across the country to reform policies on the therapeutic use of psychedelics.

Joshua Kappel, an attorney with the Vicente Sederberg law firm, praised the measure’s introduction in New Hampshire, noting that this move would end the criminalization of adults who wanted to use natural or synthetic psychedelics to improve their mental health. Kappel, who is the head of the firm’s Entheogens and Emerging Therapies division, is also the coauthor of the Natural Medicine Act, which was introduced in Colorado to legalize the therapeutic use of natural psychedelics. That bill, HB 328, has been advanced to the Criminal Justice and Public Safety committee for consideration.

These attempts to reform psychedelic laws in different states come as various companies, including Compass Pathways PLC (NASDAQ: CMPS), register progress in their efforts to develop therapies from these hitherto ostracized substances.

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