CT Lawmakers Revive Psilocybin Decrim Bill, Despite Governor’s “Concerns”

    Connecticut lawmakers have revived an effort to decriminalize low-level possession of psilocybin, despite the governor’s office recently indicating that it has concerns about the psychedelics reform.

    A new bill filed by the legislature’s Joint Judiciary Committee and cosponsored by Rep. David Michel (D) would make possession of up to one-half an ounce of psilocybin punishable by a $150 fine, without the threat of jail time.

    A second or subsequent violation would carry a fine of at least $200 but not more than $500. A person who pleads guilty or no contest on two separate occasions would be referred to a substance use treatment program.

    Police would be require to seize and destroy any amount of the psychedelic they find under the measure, HB 5297. Possession of more than a half-ounce of psilocybin would be considered a Class A misdemeanor.

    An earlier version of the psilocybin decriminalization bill passed the House last year but did not advance in the Senate.

    Lawmakers and activists held an informational forum last month to discuss the therapeutic potential of substances such as psilocybin and potential pathways to allow for regulated access.

    “While the bill is a great start, there’s still room for improvement by including home cultivation and retroactive relief.”

    “We are inspired by the leadership of the Judiciary Committee to continue the conversation on how to responsibly decriminalize psilocybin and stand ready to assist the legislature and the governor in working through any concerns,” Jason Ortiz, policy director of Connecticut for Accessible Psychedelic Medicine and also director of strategic initiatives for the Last Prisoner Project, told Marijuana Moment.

    “While the bill is a great start, there’s still room for improvement by including home cultivation and retroactive relief for those who were criminalized for simply seeking a better quality of life,” he said.

    Meanwhile, as the legislation is being introduced, the office of Gov. Ned Lamont (D) has signaled that it may face a major barrier to enactment.

    “The governor has concerns about broad decriminalization of mushrooms,” spokesperson David Bednarz said last month, noting that at the time it was “a bit too early to speculate” because a 2024 bill had not yet been filed yet.

    As the prior version to decriminalize possession of psilocybin advanced last year, Lamont also reportedly threatened to veto it, despite having championed and signed into law legislation to legalize cannabis in 2021.

    Lamont signed a large-scale budget bill in 2022 that includes provisions to set the state up to provide certain patients with access to psychedelic-assisted treatment using substances like MDMA and psilocybin.

    Prior to that, he also signed separate legislation in 2021 that required the state Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services to create a task force to study the therapeutic potential of psilocybin mushrooms.

    But broad decriminalization of so-called “magic mushrooms,” apparently, may be a bridge too far from his perspective.

    Separately, a Connecticut lawmaker also introduced different legislation last session that would have appropriated an unspecified amount of state funds to the Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services for the current fiscal year to establish a “psychedelic-assisted therapy pilot program.”


    Reforms Advance Nationwide

    A growing number of states are pursuing psychedelics reform legislation this session, with a focus on research and therapeutic access.

    For example, the governor of New Mexico recently endorsed a newly enacted resolution requesting that state officials research the therapeutic potential of psilocybin and explore the creation of a regulatory framework to provide access to the psychedelic.

    An Illinois senator recently introduced a bill to legalize psilocybin and allow regulated access at service centers in the state where adults could use the psychedelic in a supervised setting—with plans to expand the program to include mescaline, ibogaine and DMT.

    Earlier in February, a second Arizona Senate committee approved a bipartisan bill that would legalize psilocybin service centers where people could receive the psychedelic in a medically supervised setting, sending it to the floor. An Alaska Senate committee advanced a bill that would create a task force to study how to license and regulate psychedelic-assisted therapy in anticipation of eventual federal legalization of substances like MDMA and psilocybin. And an Indiana House committee approved a Republican-led bill that would fund clinical research trials into psilocybin that has already cleared the full Senate.

    Bipartisan California lawmakers also recently introduced a bill to legalize psychedelic service centers.

    Lawmakers in Hawaii are meanwhile continuing to advance a bill that would provide some legal protections to patients engaging in psilocybin-assisted therapy with a medical professional’s approval.

    Bipartisan California lawmakers also recently introduced a bill to legalize psychedelic service centers where adults 21 and older could access psilocybin, MDMA, mescaline and DMT in a supervised environment with trained facilitators.

    In January, a Nevada joint legislative committee held a hearing with expert and public testimony on the therapeutic potential of substances like psilocybin. Law enforcement representatives also shared their concerns around legalization—but there was notable acknowledgement that some reforms should be enacted, including possible rescheduling.

    The governor of Massachusetts recently promoted the testimony of activists who spoke in favor of her veterans-focused bill that would, in part, create a psychedelics work group to study the therapeutic potential of substances such as psilocybin.

    A New York lawmaker has introduced a bill that would create a pilot program to provide psilocybin therapy to 10,000 people, focusing on military veterans and first responders, while the legislature also considers broader psychedelics reform.

    A Missouri House committee considered a proposal in Jaunary that would legalize the medical use of psilocybin in the state and mandate clinical trials exploring the therapeutic potential of the psychedelic.



    Photograph by Alan Rockefeller via Wikimedia Commons/Creative Commons 4.0

    This story was originally published by Marijuana Moment, which tracks the politics and policy of cannabis and drugs. Follow Marijuana Moment on Twitter and Facebook, and sign up for its newsletter.

    • Kyle is Marijuana Moment‘s Los Angeles-based associate editor. His work has also appeared in High Times, VICE and attn.

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