New York, I Love You but Are You Really Just Now Legalizing Weed?

Congratulations, you’ve legalized weed! Finally.

For all your East Coast elitism, you really are behind the times on this one. I mean, the 15th state to legalize recreational cannabis? Even Virginia did it before you. My home state of Oregon was the third to do it—seven years ago. Of course, Oregon has long been at the forefront of legalization. We were the first state to decriminalize pot, back in 1973, the same year New York enacted the Rockefeller Laws, some of the toughest drug laws in the country, which called for prison sentences of at least 15 years for those caught with even a small amount of weed. And while it’s cute that New Jersey legalized weed in the 2020 election, it was in this election that Oregon became the first state to legalize psychedelic mushroom therapy.

But hey, look at it this way—at least it’s better than being the 16th state to legalize, right?

Continue at wweek.com

Denver dabbles with magic mushrooms, but using them to treat mental health disorders remains underground

Nearly two years after Denver made history as the nation’s first city to decriminalize hallucinogenic mushrooms for personal use, the nightmare of rampant abuse and public intoxication feared by opponents has failed to materialize.

“There has been no effect that has been apparent to law enforcement,” said Denver Police Division Chief Joseph Montoya, who oversees major crime investigations.

Mushroom proponents see the absence of backlash as a key selling point in their push to eventually legalize psilocybin — the active ingredient — as a mainstream treatment for various mental health disorders.

A growing body of medical research suggests that psilocybin and other psychedelic drugs could help treat anxiety, depression, post-traumatic stress disorder and addiction. That promise has given rise to dozens of companies eventually hoping to cash in.

Continue reading at Yahoo!

New York is latest state to legalize recreational marijuana

New York adults over the age of 21 can now possess and use marijuana — even in public — under a legalization billsigned Wednesday by Gov. Andrew Cuomo, though legal sales of recreational-use cannabis won’t start for an estimated 18 months until regulations are set.

Passed after several years of stalled efforts, the measure makes New York the 16th state to legalize adult use of the drug, though South Dakota’s measure is in legal limbo.

New York becomes the second-most populous state, after California, to legalize recreational marijuana. Legalization backers hope the Empire State will add momentum and set an example with its efforts to redress the inequities of a system that has locked up people of color for marijuana offenses at disproportionate rates.

“By placing community reinvestment, social equity, and justice front and center, this law is the new gold standard for reform efforts nationwide,” said Melissa Moore, New York state director of the Drug Policy Alliance.

More at WI Proud.

Making Waves: The great mushroom debate

Crazy alert! They want to legalize magic mushrooms in Hawaii. Timothy Leary is cheering from his grave.

Actually Tim is not in his grave, when he died he had his ashes put into the nose cone of a satellite, now he is orbiting around the Earth like some wacked out, giggling moon.

That’s what magic mushrooms and similar chemicals do for your mind.

Now they want to unleash psychedelics on the world again. Flower Power is back, Summer of Love all over again, almost.

It seems a state senator named Stanley Chang thinks magic mushrooms are good for therapy so he came up with Senate Bill 738, the Mushroom Bill, which was deferred in late February. His idea is to set up clinics using psilocybin for therapy to cure smoking, alcoholism and depression.

It could happen with close supervision. I mean, real close.

Read more at West Hawaii Today.

Bill seeks to regulate kratom products in Oregon

“Kratom for sale here!” blare signs in front of convenience stores around the state. For the uninitiated, these signs are a bit puzzling, but for those in the know, kratom is serious business.

Kratom, pronounced in various ways, is the name of a tree in the coffee family, found in Southeast Asian countries such as Indonesia and Thailand. Traditionally, the leaves were chewed or made into tea to help people stay alert and productive.

Some substances in kratom work on the opioid receptors in the brain.

In recent years, extracts from kratom leaves have become a popular herbal remedy, which users say can help with pain, fatigue or opioid withdrawals.

The Food and Drug Administration, however, disagrees and considers the substance dangerous. In 2018, FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb said in a statement, “There is no evidence to indicate that kratom is safe or effective for any medical use.”

Read more at Oregon Live.

Magic mushrooms officially decriminalized in DC

D.C.’s Initiative 81, which passed with 76% of the vote in November, officially goes into effect on Monday, March 15.

DC votes to decriminalize magic mushrooms, passing ballot initiative 81, AP says

Initiative 81, formally known as the Entheogenic Plant and Fungus Policy Act of 2020, does not make it legal to use mushrooms or other psychedelics, but it makes policing and prosecution of them a low priority.

The battle to get Initiative 81 on D.C. ballots was spearheaded by spokesperson Melissa Lavasani, who said she knows firsthand how much of a difference access to these mushrooms can make. She suffered with depression after both of her pregnancies. After she had her son in 2017, she said she tried every home remedy, and nothing worked.

Read more at wusa9.com.

Phil Christofanelli is headlining this legislative session

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. — In the midst of the typical legislative drama and COVID-19 derailments, Rep. Phil Christofanelli has deftly risen as a young star of the Missouri Republican Party.

He’s not a member of House leadership, and it’s only the start of his third term. But while the Senate stalled debate on a massive education reform package after erroneously perfecting the wrong version of the bill — and the House seems unable to garner enough support for a charter expansion bill — Christofanelli quietly emerged victorious with his education savings account (ESA) bill.

Christofanelli, 31, also snagged a lucrative committee chairmanship with the Rules-Legislative Oversight Committee and passed another bill related to the sale of kratom products over to the upper chamber.

And he’s done it all before the midway point of the legislative session.

Keep reading at The Missouri Times.

What is Kratom and Why Did the UK Ban It?

Before you take any medicine, it is important to do your research and understand everything you need to know about it. This is especially crucial if you have heard about Kratom and considered using it. Kratom is a natural and traditionally used medicine that grows and exists as part of a tree. The effects it has on the brain are similar to opioid painkillers, which has led to people using it as a recreational drug. The side effects and addictiveness of the plant are recognized by doctors and many countries and states are or already have banned products that contain Kratom. It has not been made completely legal because more research is required to understand how and why it works in the way it does. To help you understand more, here is what we know about Kratom and why it was banned in the UK. 

The History of Kratom 

Kratom was used for medicinal purposes tens of thousands of years ago, but it wasn’t officially unearthed until the early 19th century and is still relatively popular today.

Keep reading at About Manchester.

Kratom will be illegal in SD for those under 21

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — While you can find it in convenience stores and specialty shops on almost every corner in Sioux Falls, kratom will now be illegal for anyone under the age of 21 in South Dakota.

KELOLAND News investigates has brought you a series of reports on the controversial plant from Southeast Asia, which typically comes in pill or powdered form. It’s more than a billion dollar business and the supplement acts as a stimulant on the brain at low doses and at higher doses has an opioid effect.

According to a CDC report, the substance has been linked to overdose deaths across the country.
Brian Helmbrecht’s brother, Jake, died of a kratom overdose in 2020; one of three last year linked to kratom.

Brian testified in favor of the bill in the South Dakota legislature to raise the minimum age for purchasing kratom to 21.

Keep reading at Keloland.com.

Medical Breakthroughs Propel Psilocybin Closer to Legalization

The psychedelics market is currently navigating a similar legal situation to the one the cannabis market found itself in for many years. Psychedelics are not legal for recreational use in Canada or the United States, yet medical research on the efficiency of such products may help reduce some of the stigma around them. In fact, some major developments have already begun to change the landscape for the better in this market. For example, earlier in 2019, Colorado became the first state to decriminalize magic mushrooms (mushrooms containing psilocybin). More recently, the state of Missouri introduced a bill that would allow seriously ill people to use substances such as MDMA, psilocybin mushrooms, LSD, DMT, mescaline and ibogaine with a doctor’s recommendation.

Read more at PR Newswire.

Push to legalize ‘magic mushrooms’ dies

A bill that would decriminalize psychedelic mushrooms and require state health officials to develop treatment centers where people can consume their active ingredients in a controlled environment was shelved by state lawmakers Tuesday. But the push to decriminalize mushrooms is likely to grow as other states and localities pass similar measures.

Oregon became the first state in November to legalize psilocybin, the main active ingredient in the mushrooms. Other cities, including Denver ; Santa Cruz, Calif ; Oakland, Calif.; Ann Arbor, Mich.; and Washington have decriminalized it.

Talk of legalizing “magic mushrooms, ” also called shrooms, is often accompanied by snickering and visions of the counterculture movement of the 1960s and 1970s. But medical researchers and health officials have grown increasingly interested in the effect that mushrooms can have on mental health disorders, including major depression, anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder and eating disorders.

Read more at Yahoo News.

Senate passes bill removing kratom from narcotics list

The Senate on Tuesday approved an amendment bill removing kratom from the narcotics list in its third reading, a step closer to households being allowed to grow up to three kratom trees each for daily use, Justice Minister Somsak Thepsutin said on Tuesday.

Mr Somsak said the next step is for the Senate speaker to forward the bill to the House speaker, who would submit it to the cabinet. The cabinet send the legislation to His Majesty the King for final approval. He did not give details of how the Senate voted in approving it. 

The bill will become law 90 days after it is published in the Royal Gazette.

Mr Somsak said supplementary laws would regulate the cultivation, possession, use and sale of kratom. The draft regulations were being considered by the Council of State, the government’s legal advisory body.

Keep reading at Bangkok Post.

California to consider decriminalising LSD, ketamine and magic mushrooms

Psychedelic drugs such as LSD, ketamine and magic mushrooms could be decriminalised in California amid a wave of drug liberalisation that is sweeping across the US.

A proposed law put forth in the California senate last week would make it legal for anyone over 21 to carry small amounts of eight substances including DMT and MDMA, as well as expunging many criminal convictions.

The bill, introduced by San Francisco Democrat Scott Wiener, says America’s war on drugs has inflicted “overwhelming financial and social costs” while ignoring the potential therapeutic benefits of psychedelics.

It is only the latest example of US states turning against decades of harsh drug enforcement, chiming with momentum to federally decriminalise cannabis in Washington DC.

Continue at The Telegraph.

Kratom could soon be illegal for those under 21 in SD

South Dakota is one step closer to restricting the availability of kratom in the state to people over the age of 21. Our KELOLAND News Investigation last fall looked into the dangers of kratom, which comes from Southeast Asia and has mild altering effects.

According to a CDC report, the substance has been linked to overdose deaths across the country. Kratom is banned in at least six states and several cities.

Last year, Aberdeen Representative Carl Perry, introduced a bill to ban kratom in South Dakota, but that attempted failed.

This year, Perry came back with a bill to restrict its use to 21 and older, which has now passed the state House.

Continue reading at Keloland.

Missouri House approves plan to regulate kratom

The Missouri House endorsed legislation Thursday requiring more regulations for kratom products.

The measure, sponsored by Rep. Phil Christofanelli, R-St. Peters, will bar the sale of the product to anyone younger than 18, as well as require sellers to ensure that their products do not contain dangerous substances.

Kratom is a plant grown in Southeast Asia that affects the same opioid brain receptors as morphine. It is often used as a dietary supplement for pain relief and a natural alternative to treat opioid withdrawal, post-traumatic stress disorder, depression and other health conditions.

While there are stores that specialize in selling kratom — as powder, in capsules, taffies and extracts — it’s also available to buy online and at convenience stores that sell items that are supposed to be consumed in moderation.

Continue at stltoday.com.

The Mushroom Moment Manifesto

Contemporary psychonauts are looking for insight, relief, fun, escape, and a million other things to make their lives more interesting and bearable.

The Saturday after voters in Washington, D.C., and Oregon voted to loosen legal restrictions on magic mushrooms, my girlfriend and I celebrated in the most appropriate way possible. We each ate almost 5 grams of the stuff, ground up and stuffed into capsules. This was a Venti-sized, mind-blowing “heroic dose” in the parlance of the late Terence McKenna, the Johnny Appleseed of hallucinogenic fungi, and we tripped for a good chunk of the afternoon and early evening.

Journeying to the center of our minds via vision-inducing drugs (variously called hallucinogens, psychedelics, and entheogens) is perfectly suited to a world that is hyper-polarized, literally and figuratively locked down, and increasingly a little too close to an Edvard Munch painting for comfort.

Keep reading at Reason.com.

The legal and illegal ways people are turning to psychedelics as the drug regulator rejects reclassification bid

In Melbourne’s St Vincent’s Hospital, down the hall from the cancer day unit, there’s an unassuming room known simply as “The Retreat”.

This is where a select few volunteers are offered a unique opportunity: to confront their deepest fears under a heavy dose of a psychedelic.

Terminally ill patients spend three to four hours here under the influence of psilocybin, the psychedelic compound found in “magic mushrooms”.

The participants are supported by therapy before, during and after their psychedelic experience.

“We go to a lot of trouble to make sure that it doesn’t look like a hospital room, but it looks more like a really chilled, really comfortable and inviting atmosphere,” clinical psychologist Marg Ross said as she walked around the room.

Keep reading at ABC News.

American Kratom Association: HHS Rescinds Scheduling Recommendation For Kratom But FDA Failed To Notify The Public For 2 ½ Years

Congressman Mark Pocan (WI) and Congressman Morgan Griffith, in exercising their oversight responsibilities over the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), discovered that on August 16, 2018 HHS had rescinded the request for the kratom to be classified as a Schedule I substance under the Controlled Substances Act (CSA).

In the HHS letter to the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) HHS recommended that “mitragynine and 7-hydroxymitragynine not be controlled at this time, either temporarily or permanently, until scientific research can sufficiently support such an action.” The FDA had made a recommendation for scheduling of kratom on August 31, 2016 that was subsequently withdrawn by the DEA on October 13, 2016 for insufficiency of evidence to support the scheduling under the CSA, and FDA submitted its second recommendation on October 17, 2017 that has been withdrawn by HHS because the scientific research did not justify the scheduling.

More at PRNewswire.

Psychedelic Mushroom Bills Filed In Florida And Connecticut As Movement Expands To Multiple States

Lawmakers in Connecticut and Florida have filed new bills to reform state laws on psilocybin mushrooms—the latest in a trend of psychedelics proposals to emerge in 2021.

Rep. Michael Grieco (D) filed the Florida legislation on Thursday, which would establish a legal psilocybin model for therapeutic use in the state, similar to an initiative that Oregon voters approved in November. It also seeks to deprioritize criminal enforcement against a wide range of psychedelic plants and fungi.

The Connecticut bill, sponsored by Rep. Josh Elliot (D) and four other legislators, would simply create a task force responsible for studying the medical benefits of psilocybin, the main psychoactive ingredient in so-called magic mushrooms.

The main objective of the broader Florida legislation is to promote mental health treatment with the help of psilocybin.

Keep reading at Marijuana Moment.

Thai MPs vote to remove kratom from narcotics list

The House of Representatives voted on Wednesday (Jan 27) to remove kratom (mitragyna speciosa) from Thailand’s narcotics list and classify the herb as a controlled substance.

The draft Narcotics Act proposed by the Justice Ministry was passed by 319 votes to seven with three abstentions.

If approved by the Senate, the draft will be published in the Royal Gazette and become law within 90 days.

The Cabinet in March 2019 approved the plan to align the law with widespread consumption of kratom, especially by farmers and labourers in the South.

The draft allows production, import and export of kratom by those granted permission by the Narcotics Control Board.However, sale of kratom to people under 18 or pregnant women is prohibited, as is hiring or allowing people under 18 to sell kratom.

Violators face up to two years in jail and a maximum fine of Bt200,000.

More at The Star.