Congressional Lawmakers File New Bill To Protect States That Legalize Psilocybin From Federal Intervention

A new congressional bill has been filed to prohibit federal intervention in jurisdictions that legalize psilocybin mushrooms.

Reps. Robert Garcia (D-CA) and Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) are sponsoring the Validating Independence for State Initiatives on Organic Natural Substances (VISIONS) Act.

The two-page legislation simply says that no federal funds can be used to “prevent any State or unit of local government from implementing such State’s or unit of local government’s own laws that authorize the use, distribution, sale, possession, research, or cultivation of psilocybin.”

That’s similar to existing protections in place for state medical cannabis programs that have been enacted annually through appropriations riders.

“Current federal law lags behind the growing body of evidence that suggests that the psychedelic treatment that psilocybin offers can provide relief for those suffering from anxiety, depression, and other mental health disorders,” Garcia said in a press release on Wednesday.

“Here in the U.S. we have countless military and law enforcement veterans who have seen their lives improve thanks to these groundbreaking treatments,” he said. “The potential benefits of psilocybin have been overlooked for years and my aim is to protect the areas and states that want to delve into the real progress this treatment can offer for people in their communities.”

Blumenauer, whose state became the first to legalize regulated access to psilocybin through a vote-approved ballot initiative in 2020, said that, for too long, “the federal government has perpetuated a broken system that has denied patients access to the therapeutic potential of psilocybin.”

“It is time for the federal government to get out of the way of states like Oregon who are making progress,” the congressman said.

The bill could also be timely for Garcia’s state of California, where lawmakers have delivered a bill to the governor that would legalize possession and cultivation of certain psychedelics, including psilocybin, by adults 21 and older.

Marijuana Moment is tracking more than 1,000 cannabis, psychedelics and drug policy bills in state legislatures and Congress this year. Patreon supporters pledging at least $25/month get access to our interactive maps, charts and hearing calendar so they don’t miss any developments.Learn more about our marijuana bill tracker and become a supporter on Patreon to get access.—

Psychedelics reform policy has become a recurring theme in Congress this session.

This month, the GOP-controlled House Rules Committee cleared two psychedelics research amendments for floor consideration as part of a large-scale spending bill covering the Department of Defense (DOD)—though it also blocked separate marijuana-related proposals from advancing.

In March, Blumenauer and Rep. Nancy Mace (R-SC) filed a bill to clarify that federal “Right to Try” (RTT) laws give seriously ill patients access to Schedule I drugs, including marijuana and psychedelics like psilocybin and MDMA.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA), for its part, is taking steps to facilitate research into psychedelic therapies. Not only has it designated psilocybin and MDMA as “breakthrough therapies,” but the agency has released first-ever draft guidance to scientists on best practices to study the entheogenic substances in the interest of drug development.

Earlier this month, the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) also called for research into the impact of evolving laws around psychedelics, including the effects of allowing regulated access to substances like psilocybin.

NIDA separately announced in May that it is soliciting proposals for a series of research initiatives meant to explore how psychedelics could be used to treat drug addiction, with plans to provide $1.5 million in funding to support relevant studies.

At a Senate committee hearing in May, Volkow told members that there’s emerging evidence that psychedelics carry “significant potential” as therapeutic treatments for certain mental health conditions, and it’s a topic of “great interest” for researchers.

Last year, Sens. Brian Schatz (D-HI) and Cory Booker (D-NJ) pushed top federal officials to provide an update on research into the therapeutic potential of psychedelics, arguing that ongoing federal prohibition has stymied studies.

NIDA responded to the inquiry by saying that federal prohibition makes it more difficult to study the benefits of psychedelics, requiring researchers to jump through additional regulatory hoops. Volkow previously said that she personally hesitates to study Schedule I drugs because of those complications.

The director told Marijuana Moment in 2021 that researchers need to prioritize psychedelics research, as more people are likely to use them as they’re exposed to studies showing the therapeutic potential of the substances.

Read the text of the VISONS Act below:

Here’s The New Marijuana Banking Bill Text That Senators Negotiated As Committee Prepares To Vote Next Week

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