Amended Maine Bill To Establish Psychedelic Research Committee Heads to Gov.

Among the many states currently looking to enact measures to investigate psychedelic regulation and increase psychedelic research, Maine is one of the latest to throw its hat in the ring. 

Lawmakers supporting the initial reform bill were hoping to usher in a new era of psychedelic drug regulation for therapeutic use, though the amended bill would pump the breaks and instead set the groundwork to potentially legalize and regulate at a later time.

The legislation would establish a commission to study and make recommendations on psychedelic regulation and related services, specifically examining what a legal framework “for the therapeutic use of psychedelic drugs, including but not limited to psilocybin,” may involve, Marijuana Moment first reported. The bill now heads to the desk of Gov. Janet Mills (D).

A Legislative Compromise: The Original Bill

The legislation, LD 1914, was approved by the House via voice vote on Tuesday just days after the Senate approved it. While the current language focuses on studying the proper pathways to potentially legalize and regulate psychedelics in therapeutic settings, the original legislation would have legalized psilocybin in therapeutic contexts.

It’s a disappointing turn of events for those pushing for urgent access to psychedelic medicines and treatments, though Maine lawmakers in favor of psychedelic reform, like Rep. David Boyer (R), still recognized that the bill “represents progress,” albeit not as much as many lawmakers and advocates had hoped for. 

In an email exchange with Marijuana Moment, Boyer cited evidence brought to the committee regarding how psilocybin can help a variety of different people with a wide range of conditions and needs. Still, he said it “seemed like” his Republican colleagues, and even many Democrats, were not ready to vote for the previous measure.

“Hopefully, they do good work and we have a little bit more of a starting place” for the next session, Boyer said. Lawmakers considered other options to amend the bill, like removing provisions that would have allowed for personal possession outside of the regulated program, though Boyer said that route “seemed to cause more problems than solutions.” 

So, if Mills gives the final OK, what exactly would the updated legislation entail?

Maine Psychedelic Commission Could Pave the Way for Future Reform

If passed, the bill would create a 13-member panel comprised of legislative appointees, health experts, a military veteran, academics and folks experienced in psychedelics policy. 

Similar to other states that have created investigative groups to research psychedelic medicine and regulation, the Maine commission would review “medical, psychological and scientific studies, research and other information on the safety and efficacy of psilocybin in treating behavioral health conditions.”

It would also look to other states and their approaches to psychedelic regulation. Additionally, the commission would be responsible for laying out a plan detailing how Maine could establish its own regulatory framework for psychedelic substances, psilocybin and otherwise in the future.

Specifically, the commission would be tasked with developing a “long-term strategic plan for ensuring that psilocybin services will become and remain a safe, accessible, and affordable therapeutic option for all persons who are 21 years of age or older and for whom psilocybin services may be appropriate.” It would also be responsible for advising and making recommendations to the legislature surrounding a legal framework for the therapeutic use of psychedelic drugs.

Luckily for psychedelic reform advocates, the turnaround time to report findings is relatively quick, with the commission required to meet six times and deliver its report to the legislature by Nov. 6, 2024. Still, it’s uncertain if and how quickly findings would lead to the regulation of psychedelic assisted therapies in the state.

Psychedelic Reform: An Ongoing Local Push, Growing National Trend

Maine has made related efforts in recent months, including a similar bill that would have originally decriminalized drug possession and invested in treatment resources. It was since amended to create a task force to study the proposed reform measures instead.

However, Portland, Maine — the state’s largest city — made waves last year when city council voted to pass a resolution to deprioritize prosecution for possession of psilocybin and other psychedelic drugs. It is not a decriminalization measure but rather “sets official city policy to put those crimes at the lowest priority for prosecution.”

While the latest bill may not immediately result in therapeutic access for psychedelic medicines in Maine, it represents one of many active bills around the country regarding psychedelic research and reform — a topic that was hardly even mentioned only a few years ago — and serves as another reminder that this momentum surrounding psychedelic access across the U.S. is unlikely to slow any time soon.

The post Amended Maine Bill To Establish Psychedelic Research Committee Heads to Gov. appeared first on High Times.


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