New York Legislators File Measure to Legalize Psychedelics

Last week, legislators in New York filed a measure to legalize psychedelics such as ibogaine and psilocybin for the 2023 legislative session. The bill, which will be introduced formally this week, is being sponsored by assembly members Linda Rosenthal, Karines Reyes and Jo Anne Simon. The bill would make the use, possession, cultivation, creation, production, gifting, analysis, sharing or exchange of natural fungus or plant-based hallucinogens legal for individuals aged 21 and above.

The psychedelics that will be legalized if the bill is approved include psilocybin, mescaline, psilocyn, ibogaine and DMT. The bill will also allow individuals to use the entheogenic substances in religious ceremonies as well as engage in various psychedelic services. Local and state law enforcement will also be barred from providing assistance to or cooperating with the federal government for the purpose of enforcing laws on controlled substances against activities that have been legalized in the state of New York.

The bill outlines some protections, including that individuals will not lose public assistance or professional licenses or be denied behavioral or mental health services for using these substances. Additionally, the use of psychedelics will not be used as a basis for a child welfare investigation. Furthermore, employers will be prohibited from taking action against workers who lawfully use the substances off duty.

In addition to this, localities in the state will not be permitted to enact laws that criminalize psychedelics. Finally, the bill will remove DMT, ibogaine, mescaline, psilocyn and psilocybin from the state of New York’s list of banned substances.

We have seen Rosenthal’s interest in psychedelic policy grow these last few years. In 2021, Rosenthal filed a measure that would have removed psilocyn and psilocybin from New York’s controlled substances list.  She also introduced a separate measure that would establish a psychedelic research institute to study the therapeutic potential of psychedelic substances for a range of conditions and make policy recommendations.

Additionally, assembly member Pat Burke and Rosenthal took part in a psychedelics symposium in 2022. Burke has separately sponsored another bill to legalize the medical use of psilocybin for eligible patients in a clinical setting.

The introduction of this new psychedelic legalization bill is the latest sign that this year will be good for psychedelic reform in the country, following the success in states such as Colorado, which saw voters approve a bill to legalize the possession of psychedelics.

In California, Senator Scott Wiener also refiled a measure that would legalize the possession of various psychedelics.

All this legislative activity points to a favorable future for industry players that are heavily investing in developing therapeutics from a variety of psychedelic compounds, such as Compass Pathways PLC. (NASDAQ: CMPS).

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