Illinois State Senator Introduces Legislation to Legalize Psilocybin
Earlier this year, Illinois State Senator Rachel Ventura introduced a bill that would legalize psilocybin, often referred to as “magic mushrooms” for adults over the age of 21 in a supervised facility, so long as they meet certain requirements. The bill is modeled after similar laws in Oregon and Colorado, the only two states that have legalized and decriminalized psilocybin at the state level. Much of the emphasize behind the push for legalization concerns its potential use to help those with various mental health issues. “If this is going to help people, we really want to utilize that here in our state. Because we have a mental health crisis right now we have people who are burnt out and have tried everything,” Ventura said, “Those individuals are really looking for a new tool in the toolbox.” While the bill would be a step towards legal access for Illinois residents, the private use, possession, or sale of psilocybin would remain illegal and any violation could still result in criminal charges.
Complex Federal Regulation and Enforcement Remains on Display Across Country for Psilocybin
Much like the issues created with the remaining federal prohibition on marijuana against the backdrop of state legalization, enforcement of federal drug prohibitions have created legal issues for those trying to use, prescribe, and source psilocybin. Recently, the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) was sued by Washington state doctors after the agency denied a medical clinic in Seattle from prescribing the drug to cancer patients in end-of-life care. The medical clinic argued that they should be granted the authority to prescribe psilocybin under state and federal “Right to Try” laws that permit seriously ill people to try investigational drugs not approved by the FDA for widespread use. However, the DEA argues that because psilocybin is classified as a Schedule I drug under the Controlled Substances Act (“CSA”) and, “substances in Schedule I are deemed to have no accepted medical use in under the CSA, the law does not provide for any registration that would permit such drugs to be dispensed in the course of professional practice.” The medical clinic has been seeking access to psilocybin since at least 2020 but has been rebuffed by the DEA multiple times which have led to multiple federal lawsuits, including one in the United States Circuit Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. Regardless of the outcome of this specific case, the federal government seems to be showing signs of potentially revisiting how it views the drug, with recent funding in a defense bill going towards studies into the therapeutic use of psychedelics such as psilocybin for United States military service members. Although any optimism should be cautioned, as it is clear from the federal government’s treatment of marijuana legalization that it takes some time. In the meantime, psilocybin remains illegal and anyone who believes they are currently being investigated or are facing criminal charges related to the drug, should consult an experienced criminal attorney.The post Could Illinois Become Newest State to Legalize “Magic Mushrooms”? first appeared on Darryl A. Goldberg.