As New York begins legal recreational marijuana sales this week, state lawmakers have pre-filed a bill for 2023 to legalize certain psychedelics like psilocybin and ibogaine for adults 21 and older.
The legislation, which will be formally introduced next week, is being sponsored by Assemblymembers Linda Rosenthal (D), Jo Anne Simon (D) and Karines Reyes (D).
The proposal would amend state statute to make legal the “possession, use, cultivation, production, creation, analysis, gifting, exchange, or sharing by or between natural persons of twenty-one years of age or older of a natural plant or fungus-based hallucinogen.”
DMT, ibogaine, mescaline, psilocybin and psilocyn would fall under the definition of “natural plant or fungus-based hallucinogens” that would be legalized by the bill.
Further, the legislation would authorize people to engage in psychedelic services “with or without remuneration,” as well as use the entheogens in religious ceremonies.
State and local law enforcement would be prohibited from cooperating or providing assistance to the federal government for the purpose of enforcing controlled substances laws against activities made legal under the state law.
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The measure goes on to outline a series of protections: People couldn’t lose professional licenses, public assistance or be denied mental health or behavioral health services simply for using psychedelics. And their lawful use also couldn’t be the sole basis for a child welfare investigation.
Employers would be barred from taking adverse action against a worker for lawfully using psychedelics off duty.
New York localities wouldn’t be allowed to enact laws criminalizing psychedelics, but they could “adopt and implement legislation and policies which bear directly on or are related to natural plant or fungus-based hallucinogens in furtherance” of the bill.
Finally, the proposal would remove psilocybin, psilocyn, DMT, mescaline and ibogaine from the state’s banned substances list.
Rosenthal has taken special interest in psychedelic policy in recent years. She filed a bill last year that would have simply removed psilocybin and psilocyn from the state’s list of controlled substances, effectively legalizing the compounds.
But she revised that measure in October, filing language that is substantially similar to this latest legislation for the 2023 legislative session.
Rosenthal separately introduced a bill last year that would create a “psychedelic research institute” tasked with studying the therapeutic potential of the substances for certain conditions and making policy recommendations.
She and Assemblymember Pat Burke (D), who sponsored another measure to legalize the medical use of psilocybin for certified patients in clinical settings, participated in a psychedelics symposium earlier this year and discussed their competing proposals.
The new bill’s introduction is the latest signal that 2023 will likely prove especially active for psychedelics reform, following the success of the local decriminalization movement in cities across the country and voter approval of psilocybin therapy in Oregon and broader psychedelics legalization in Colorado.
As of Tuesday, a voter-approved Colorado initiative to legalize psychedelics possession for adults took effect with the governor’s proclamation.
In California, state Sen. Scott Wiener (D) recently refiled his own bill to legalize possession of certain psychedelics after his last attempt was derailed in the eleventh hour of the 2022 session.
An analysis published in an American Medical Association journal this month concluded that a majority of states will legalize psychedelics by 2037, based on statistical modeling of policy trends.
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