Arizona lawmakers have proposed a new bill that could make the Grand Canyon State a leading center of psilocybin research.
The bipartisan bill would accomplish this goal by offering $30 million in grants to fund clinical studies exploring the therapeutic use of psilocybin. The state health department would be tasked with distributing this funding to eligible institutions over the next three years. These grants would only be issued to researchers capable of conducting FDA-approved clinical trials exploring how shrooms could treat 13 conditions, including depression, anxiety, substance abuse, long Covid symptoms, and PTSD.
The bill would not legalize psilocybin use or therapy for Arizona residents in general, but it would protect researchers and study subjects from state-level prosecution. And uniquely, the bill would require researchers to use “whole mushroom psilocybin cultivated under a Schedule I license issued by the [DEA]” and to prioritize “veterans, first responders, frontline health care workers and persons from underserved communities as the research subjects.”
Dr. Sue Sisley, a leading cannabis and psychedelics researcher from the Scottsdale Research Institute (SRI), told Marijuana Moment that the “best, most sensible approach for Arizona is sponsoring randomized controlled trials that (for the very first time ever) will utilize whole, natural mushrooms and not just synthetic psilocybin... This bill is truly groundbreaking because all of the studies showing promise with psilocybin are single molecule studies.”
“Now finally, Arizona will lead the way to doing real world clinical trials, looking at what patients are actually ingesting in their daily lives versus an unattainable synthetic molecule,” Dr. Sisley continued. “And you can see from the list of medical conditions that will be approved for study, psilocybin offers immense hope for treating a wide variety of chronic conditions including putting opioid addiction into remission (and other often intractable ailments, not responsive to conventional pharmaceuticals).”
Lawmakers in roughly a dozen states are pushing similar new bills that could further expand the psychedelic renaissance. Hawaii lawmakers proposed their own psychedelics research bill in 2020, and some federal lawmakers have even introduced similar legislation in Congress. Legislatures in New York, New Hampshire, and California will also debate full adult-use psychedelics legalization this year, while Washington and other states will consider bills to legalize psychedelics-assisted therapy.
Several states have already passed psychedelics reform laws as well, but these new reforms vary widely in scope. Oregon legalized psilocybin-assisted therapy back in 2020, and Colorado completely legalized psilocybin and decriminalized other natural psychedelics last year. Other states have taken a more cautious approach, though. Connecticut, Colorado, and New York all recently passed bills that will legalize MDMA or psilocybin therapy, but only if the federal government approves it first.
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