Connecticut Lawmakers Advance Psychedelics Therapy Bill

Connecticut Lawmakers Advance Psychedelics Therapy Bill
High Times

A Connecticut legislative panel last week gave its approval to a bill to study the potential of the psychedelic drugs psilocybin and ketamine as treatments for serious mental health conditions. The measure, HB 5396, which would earmark $3 million for psychedelic-assisted therapy research, was approved by the Connecticut General Assembly’s joint Public Health Committee on Friday. The bill does not legalize the therapeutic use of psychedelic drugs in Connecticut. Instead, the legislation would create a pilot program with the state Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services to provide qualified patients with the funding necessary to receive MDMA-assisted or psilocybin-assisted therapy. The program would be implemented as part of an expanded access program approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. “The pilot program ends when the federal [Drug Enforcement Agency] approves MDMA and psilocybin for medical use,” said Rep. Jonathan Steinberg, the committee’s co-chair. “We should say ‘When and if,’ but we’re presuming ‘when.’” The proposal also establishes an advisory panel to be appointed by the governor and legislative leaders to draft regulations in anticipation of an expected change in federal policy regarding the therapeutic use of psychedelic drugs. The bill directs the board to make recommendations on the “design and development of the regulations and infrastructure necessary to safely allow for therapeutic access to psychedelic-assisted therapy upon the legalization of MDMA, psilocybin and any other psychedelic compounds,” according to the text of the bill. Lawmakers heard testimony at a hearing held by the Public Health Committee last week. Martin Steele, a retired Marine Corps lieutenant general and the founder of psychedelic therapy advocacy group Reason for Hope, told lawmakers that it is time to end the “misguided stigma” associated with the drugs. “While we still have much to learn, psychedelic medicine, when used safely, responsibly, and in the…

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