Why some Mass. communities are moving to decriminalize psychedelics

As evidence of the medicinal value of psychedelics grows, advocates and legislators are pushing to decriminalize and eventually legalize these long-used natural substances.

Since February, Cambridge, Somerville, and Northampton have passed resolutions decriminalizing entheogenic plants, a family of natural sources containing certain psychoactive compounds. Examples include peyote (a species of cacti), psychedelic mushrooms (which contain the hallucinogen psilocybin), and ayahuasca.

Oakland, California, did it first: in 2019, the City Council passed a resolution effectively decriminalizing entheogenic plants. In 2020, Oregon voters passed a ballot measure giving the state health authority two years to develop a program where adults can purchase and consume psilocybin products under supervision at a service center.

Though in the U.S., these substances famously grew in popularity in the 1960s and 70s, indigenous cultures across the Americas have used them for remedial and spiritual purposes for hundreds of years.

Keep reading at Boston.com via MSN.

MAGIC MUSHROOMS could work as antidepressant, study finds

A psychedelic drug found in mushrooms could work as an antidepressant, new research shows.

Psilocybin, a compound that naturally occurs in some mushrooms, may be able to increase the long-lasting connections between neurons in the brain by 10 percent.

A research team from Yale University believes these connections can reduce the effects of depression on a person.

The study, which will be published in the journal Neuron on Monday, also found that the strength of neuron connections increases as well.

‘We not only saw a 10 percent increase in the number of neuronal connections, but also they were on average about 10 percent larger, so the connections were stronger as well,’ Alex Kwan, senior author of the study and associate professor of psychiatry and of neuroscience at Yale.

Keep reading at The Daily Mail UK.

Magic mushrooms, other psychedelics would be decriminalized in California under proposed legislation

California could become the second state to decriminalize magic mushrooms and other psychedelics.

SB 519, a bill that would decriminalize the possession and sharing of certain psychedelics by people 21 or older, is gaining momentum.

The measure has cleared the state Senate, and an Assembly hearing is set for Tuesday.

State Sen. Scott Wiener, D-San Francisco, who authored the bill, said research indicates that psychedelics help with mental health.

He also said it’s time to stop criminal-justice policies that target people of color.

“The racist war on drugs, which has fueled mass incarceration and torn apart communities — particularly communities of color — has not made us any safer,” Wiener said. “For 50 years, the war on drugs has not made us safer. We have incarcerated as many people as possible, and we have had no benefit.”

Read more at ABC7

What if Seattle decriminalized magic mushrooms? City Council wants to explore that

The Seattle City Council is asking a drug overdose and recovery panel to explore the potential liberalization of local policies on psychedelics like magic mushrooms, citing their potential for treating addiction and mental health conditions.

Seven council members Monday signed a letter to the Overdose Emergency and Innovative Recovery Task Force, which will launch soon in King County.

The panel led by Black Lives Matter Seattle-King County and VOCAL Washington plans to reconsider how governments and communities can reduce overdoses, racial inequities in drug-user health and criminal-legal system challenges, representatives say.

The task force will delve into questions related to psychedelic medicines, also known as entheogens, among many other topics, said Malika Lamont, program director for VOCAL-WA, an advocacy organization that focuses on the war on drugs, homelessness, mass incarceration and HIV/AIDS. Entheogens include substances like psilocybin, ayahuasca and ibogaine.

Read more at Seattle Times.

Why Is Ottawa Stalling Proven Magic Mushroom Therapy for the Dying?

For many, COVID-19 has made one day blur into the next and each month merge with another in a sameness that’s different from the pre-pandemic feeling of time passing.

But there are some who are never untethered from clocks and calendars as they confront something far more personally profound than even COVID-19.

They cope with terminal illness, and the existential grief and anxiety that comes with an end-of-life diagnosis.

Last year I wrote about what seemed to be enlightenment and compassion from the federal health minister. Patty Hajdu used her authority under Section 56 of Canada’s Controlled Drugs and Substances Act to grant legal access to psilocybin for terminal patients. In at least one case Hajdu gave the exemption to a woman with a crippling life-long mental illness.

Read the full story at thetyee.ca

Dr. Markus Roggen: Quantifying the Medicinal Potential of Psilocybin

With legal access to psilocybin therapy growing, researchers are committed to understanding and quantifying its potential benefits. As the founder of Complex Biotech Discovery Ventures (CBDV) — a British Columbia-based research laboratory that focuses on extraction optimization, analytical testing, and chemical process development for the cannabis and psilocybin industries — Dr. Markus Roggen holds a unique perspective on the issue.

In this written Q&A, Dr. Roggen discusses the importance of understanding psilocybin’s chemistry, getting licensed to research psilocybin by Health Canada, and the similarities and differences of cannabis vs. psilocybin research. The interview also covers psilocybin’s growing prevalence and popularity, the unknowns that researchers hope to understand, and more!

Read more at ganjapreneur.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!

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

More Evidence Magic Mushroom Ingredient May Help Treat Depression – Right In Time For Legalization

Magic mushrooms may be making headway in medicine.

As voters in Oregon and DC opt to decriminalize psilocybin, there is growing evidence that the active compound in “magic,” or hallucinogenic, mushrooms might benefit individuals with moderate to severe depression—at least when used alongside psychotherapy under a doctor’s supervision.

“The findings that we have in our study, we believe, are related to the fact that it was in a controlled setting where we have trained professionals,” explained Alan Davis, a psychologist, social work researcher at Ohio State University, and adjunct assistant professor at Johns Hopkins University’s Center for Psychedelic and Consciousness Research.

“We certainly would not suggest that someone go out and take this on their own,” he added. “However, there are currently multi-site trials going on in the US and Europe, testing this in phase 2 and phase 3 trials in order to hopefully garner FDA approval in the next couple years.”

More at Forbes

Numinus Becomes The First Canadian Psychedelics Company To Legally Harvest Magic Mushrooms

A Vancouver-based psychedelics company has become the first in Canada to complete a legal harvest of magic mushrooms since the last wave of psychedelic research ended there in the 1970s.

Numinus Bioscience, a healthcare company with a focus on research and product development, announced the harvest of its first flush of psilocybe mushrooms yesterday at its licensed facility in Nanaimo, B.C., where it operates a research and testing laboratory. The firm is developing formulations and solutions intended for use in the burgeoning psychedelic therapy space, and received a license from Health Canada to grow and extract magic mushrooms as recently as June of this year.

The license, issued under the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act, allows Numinus to test, import, store, and distribute MDMA, psilocybin, psilocin (two compounds present in psychedelic mushrooms), DMT and mescaline.

Read more at Forbes

Oregonians will vote whether to legalize therapeutic use of ‘magic mushrooms’

On Tuesday, supporters of Measure 109 came together virtually to talk about the mental health benefits of the drug.

If passed, this measure would allow the manufacture, delivery and administration of psilocybin at supervised, licensed facilities to adults aged 21 and over.

Currently, the manufacturing and consumption of this drug is illegal under both state and federal law.

Supporters say psilocybin therapy relieves debilitating anxiety and depression that comes with a terminal illness.

On the Zoom call Tuesday, attendees heard from a cancer patient in Portland who has a terminal diagnosis.

Mara McGraw says she underwent psilocybin therapy with a trained facilitator recently after trying other options.

“In just one session, I feel tremendous relief from fear and anxiety that had been burdening me for three years now, and I did not receive that type of relief through a year of talk therapy. So, one session gave me more than going weekly to talk therapy for an entire year,” said McGraw.

Keep reading at MSN

Lawyers who specialize in cannabis are eyeing the burgeoning psychedelics industry as companies studying magic mushrooms go public

Lawyers who specialize in the cannabis industry say they’re getting inquiries from a new kind of client: psychedelics companies.

The calls started coming in around a year to a year and a half ago, as the psychedelics industry began to ramp up and garner more investor dollars, half a dozen cannabis lawyers told Business Insider. It’s accelerated in recent months as companies seeking to use psychedelic substances as medical treatments have gone public on US and Canadian stock exchanges.

Like cannabis, psychedelic substances like psilocybin and ibogaine are Schedule I drugs under the Controlled Substances Act in the US, which creates complications for businesses seeking to work with them. That helps create new clientele for cannabis lawyers, who have the expertise of helping cannabis companies navigate complicated laws and regulations over the years.

Read the full story at Business Insider

City Council votes to make psychedelic mushrooms legal in Ann Arbor

City Council members voted unanimously this week to decriminalize the use of psychedelic mushrooms in Ann Arbor.

The city joins a handful of others across the country. Ann Arbor is a college town that prides itself in a more relaxed approach to drug enforcement. In the 1970s, it was among the first to decriminalize marijuana. Now, it’s doing the same thing with mushrooms and other entheogenic plants.

“They are non-addictive chemicals,” Ann Arbor City Council member Anne Bannister said. “They are healthier than many of our pharmaceuticals people can fill their bodies with for years for treatment resistant anxiety.”

The drugs in question are ayahuasca, from South America, ibogaine, from Africa, and popular ’60s drugs such as mescaline, peyote and psilocybin mushrooms.

The Council voted 11-0, saying Ann Arbor police should stand down enforcing possession.

Keep reading here