Vermont Senate Approves Psychedelic Working Group Bill To Study How Substances Can ‘Improve Physical And Mental Health’ - Read of Green
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Vermont Senate Approves Psychedelic Working Group Bill To Study How Substances Can ‘Improve Physical And Mental Health’

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Source: Marijuana Moment

Vermont’s Senate has given preliminary approval to a measure that would establish a working group to study whether and how to allow therapeutic access to psychedelics in the state. If the bill is enacted, a report from the working group would be due to the legislature in November with recommendations on how to regulate the substances.

Senators on Tuesday approved the legislation, S. 114, during second reading on a voice vote. It still needs to pass on a subsequent third reading vote in order to advance to the House of Representatives.

“This bill will start the state of Vermont on a journey to explore other possibilities and other options to treating mental illness,” Sen. Martine Larocque Gulick (D), the legislation’s sponsor, said on the Senate floor.

“When faced with a problem, you have the choice to do what you’ve always done or to try something different. In this case, we have a crisis of mental health,” she said. “And we can do what we’ve always done. Therapy, pharmaceuticals, mindfulness practices have all been proven to help. However, at this time, they don’t seem to be meeting the needs of all of those who are suffering day in and day out, with trauma, PTSD, anxiety and depression.”

Many people believe psychedelics “never should have been designated as class one drugs to begin with, because their power to heal far outweighs their ability to harm, especially when taken therapeutically with a doctor or healthcare practitioner,” Gulick said.

Under the proposal in its current form, Vermont would establish an eight-member Psychedelic Therapy Advisory Working Group that would “examine the use of psychedelics to improve physical and mental health and to make findings and recommendations regarding the advisability of the establishment of a State program similar to other jurisdictions to permit health care providers to administer psychedelics in a therapeutic setting and the impact on public health of allowing individuals to legally access psychedelics under state law.”

As originally introduced, it would have also legalized use and possession of psilocybin, but lawmakers on the Senate Health and Welfare Committee nixed that section last week to focus instead on the working group.

“It could be that decriminalization is going to get in the way of therapeutic use,” Sen. Ginny Lyons (D), who chairs that committee, said at the time. “What we’re looking for is the value of therapeutic use.”

Last week, the Senate Appropriations committee also approved the bill on a 6–0 vote. That panel did not adopt any amendments, though members at one point floated the idea of reducing the working group’s number of planned meetings from eight down to five.

Under language of the bill now approved by the Senate, membership would consist of:

  • A representative of the University of Vermont’s Larner College of Medicine, who would be appointed by the school’s dean
  • A representative of the Brattleboro Retreat, a psychiatric and addiction hospital, who would be appointed by the president and CEO
  • A member of the Vermont Psychological Association, appointed by the president
  • A member of the Vermont Psychiatric Association, appointed by the president
  • The executive director of the Vermont Board of Medical Practice or a designee
  • The director of the Vermont Office of Professional Regulation or a designee
  • The Vermont Commissioner of Health or a designee
  • A co-founder of the Psychedelic Society of Vermont

The group would review research and scientific literature as well as laws and programs in other jurisdictions. They would also be directed to provide an opportunity “for individuals with lived experience to provide testimony” as well as provide “potential timelines for universal and equitable access to psychedelic assisted treatments.

In other drug-related actions this session, Vermont’s House also recently passed a bill to legalize and fund safe consumption sites, part of a pilot program aimed at quelling the ongoing epidemic of drug-related deaths. It’s another attempt by lawmakers to allow the facilities following Gov. Phil Scott’s (R) veto of a 2022 measure that would have established a task force to create a plan to open the sites.

A growing number of other states are also pursuing psychedelics reform legislation this legislative session, with a focus on research and therapeutic access.


Marijuana Moment is tracking more than 1,400 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.

For example, the Indiana governor recently signed a bill that includes provisions to fund clinical research trials into psilocybin.

Utah’s governor allowed a bill to authorize a pilot program for hospitals to administer psilocybin and MDMA as an alternative treatment option to become law without his signature.

Meanwhile, the Maryland Senate and House of Delegates both passed legislation to create a psychedelics task force responsible for studying possible regulatory frameworks for therapeutic access to substances such as psilocybin, mescaline and DMT. It would be charged specifically with ensuring “broad, equitable and affordable access to psychedelic substances” in the state. A companion measure is also advancing in the Senate.

An Arizona House panel also approved a Senate-passed bill to legalize psilocybin service centers where people could receive the psychedelic in a medically supervised setting.

Maine lawmakers are advancing legislation to establish a commission tasked with studying and making recommendations on regulating access to psychedelic services.

A Missouri House committee unanimously approved a bill to legalize the medical use of psilocybin by military veterans and fund studies exploring the therapeutic potential of the psychedelic.

Connecticut lawmakers held a recent hearing on a bill to decriminalize possession of psilocybin.

The governor of New Mexico recently endorsed a newly enacted resolution requesting that state officials research the therapeutic potential of psilocybin and explore the creation of a regulatory framework to provide access to the psychedelic.

An Illinois senator recently introduced a bill to legalize psilocybin and allow regulated access at service centers in the state where adults could use the psychedelic in a supervised setting—with plans to expand the program to include mescaline, ibogaine and DMT.

Lawmakers in Hawaii are also continuing to advance a bill that would provide some legal protections to patients engaging in psilocybin-assisted therapy with a medical professional’s approval.

New York lawmakers also said that a bill to legalize psilocybin-assisted therapy in that state has a “real chance” of passing this year.

Bipartisan California lawmakers also recently introduced a bill to legalize psychedelic service centers where adults 21 and older could access psilocybin, MDMA, mescaline and DMT in a supervised environment with trained facilitators.

A Nevada joint legislative committee held a hearing with expert and public testimony on the therapeutic potential of substances like psilocybin in January. Law enforcement representatives also shared their concerns around legalization—but there was notable acknowledgement that some reforms should be enacted, including possible rescheduling.

The governor of Massachusetts recently promoted the testimony of activists who spoke in favor of her veterans-focused bill that would, in part, create a psychedelics work group to study the therapeutic potential of substances such as psilocybin.

Study Finds Natural Psychedelic Mushrooms Produce ‘Enhanced Effects’ Compared To Synthesized Psilocybin, Suggesting Entourage Effect

Photo elements courtesy of carlosemmaskype and Apollo.

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