Massachusetts Legislators Consider Bill to Establish Task Force for Psychedelics

Last week, legislators in Massachusetts heard testimony about legislation that would establish a task force that would look into the consequences of legalizing psychedelic substances such as ayahuasca and psilocybin. The legislation was introduced by Rep. Mike Connolly, and while members of the Joint Judiciary Committee didn’t vote on the measure, Connolly made a case for the proposal, noting that emerging research proposed that entheogenic substances held significant therapeutic potential for various mental health conditions.

He explained that serious issues, including addiction, anxiety, depression and post-traumatic stress disorder, were a challenge to address, which was why it was important to hear from researchers and clinicians about the potential benefits that these substances offered in the treatment of these conditions.

The task force would have 21 members who would be in charge of examining the advantages and disadvantages of legalizing the distribution, transportation, consumption and possession of naturally grown entheogenic fungi and plants. Connolly asserted that the task force would also unite stakeholders from the scientific, indigenous, racial justice, harm reduction, public safety, medical communities and relevant regulatory bodies to make recommendations for the distribution, consumption, possession and legalization of entheogenic substances.

In an email to a news outlet, Connolly stated that the momentum for broader drug and psychedelics policy reform in different states in the United States showed that his measure to establish a task force to draw up policies around legislation was both warranted and rational. The legislator added that the war on drugs along with years of oppression and racial injustice in the country partly motivated him to introduce the proposal. He explained that when entheogens were classified as Schedule I substances under the Controlled Substances Act by the Nixon administration, it was without any scientific evidence and was based on systemic racism and politics.

If the legislation is enacted, the task force would have until June of next year to conduct studies on the effects of fungi- and plant-based psychedelics and present recommendations for how to legalize these substances in a way that maximizes sustainable production and equitable access to the plants. The proposal also asks that the task force come up with recommendations around equity measures, expungement, as well as parole and pardons for individuals with criminal records due to the distribution or possession of controlled substances.

District Attorney Marian Ryan from Middlesex County also testified before the Joint Judiciary Committee and was in favor of the measure.

Thus far, three cities in the state of Massachusetts, namely Cambridge, Somerville and Northampton, have passed measures to deprioritize the enforcement of laws against the distribution, use and possession of various psychedelic substances.

The growing movement to legalize psychedelics in different jurisdictions may stem in part from the work being done by companies such as Cybin Inc. (NEO: CYBN) (NYSE American: CYBN) as they develop novel treatments for psychiatric ailments from various psychedelic substances. People are learning that many psychedelics possess therapeutic potential, hence the push for legalization.

NOTE TO INVESTORS: The latest news and updates relating to Cybin Inc. (NEO: CYBN) (NYSE American: CYBN) are available in the company’s newsroom at https://ibn.fm/CYBN

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