Connecticut just passed a law that will allow specific patients to access federally-approved MDMA- and psilocybin-assisted therapies and treatments.
This new provision was rolled into the state's most recent budget bill, which Governor Ned Lamont (D) signed into law earlier this week. The new program will establish legal psychedelic treatment centers where patients can participate in MDMA or psilocybin therapy trials that have been approved by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The budget also provides funding that allows qualified patients to access these services free of charge.
Although they have similar goals, Connecticut's new psychedelics program is more conservative than Oregon's voter-approved psilocybin therapy law. In 2020, Oregon legalized the production and therapeutic use of psilocybin mushrooms, even though the federal government still classifies psilocybin as an illegal Schedule I drug. Connecticut, on the other hand, is fully complying with federal law, and will only allow patients to enroll in FDA-approved studies or treatment programs. Any psychedelics use that is not sanctioned by the US government remains illegal in the state.
The FDA has already granted Breakthrough Therapy status to both MDMA and psilocybin, though, allowing researchers to fast-track clinical studies on the medicinal use of these currently-banned psychedelics. These trials have already shown so much promise that researchers expect the FDA to legalize both of these therapies as soon as next year.
Connecticut's new law makes it easier for patients to enroll in these programs and establishes regulations that will allow the state to expand its legal psychedelic therapy centers as soon as the feds approve these treatments.
The new state budget will also fund a pilot program that provides military veterans, retired first responders, and health care workers with grants covering the cost of participating in psilocybin- or MDMA-assisted therapy sessions. This program will last until the feds legalize these therapies, at which point state law will be amended to match federal regulations governing these compounds.
The bill also creates a state Psychedelic Treatment Advisory Board, which will create the “regulations and infrastructure necessary to safely allow for therapeutic access to psychedelic-assisted therapy upon the legalization of MDMA, psilocybin and any other psychedelic compounds,” Marijuana Moment reports.
Colorado lawmakers passed a similar bill last month that will automatically legalize MDMA prescriptions if and when the federal government approves them. Maryland lawmakers also approved legislation that would require the state to completely fund psychedelic therapy sessions for veterans suffering from PTSD and/or traumatic brain injuries. Meanwhile, Washington and Hawaii are working to create workgroups to research the possibility of legalizing psychedelic therapy in those states.
California lawmakers have proposed a bill that would completely decriminalize the possession of psychedelics for medicinal or recreational use, which has a strong chance of passing this bill. Denver, Oakland, and many other cities across the US have also recently decriminalized the personal possession and use of natural psychedelics.