Rhode Island Explores Psilocybin Reform with a New Legislative Proposal

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NEW TORK- In a significant legislative move, Rhode Island Representative Brandon Potter (D) has introduced a bill aimed at reforming the state’s approach to psilocybin, the active compound in “magic mushrooms.” The bill, H 7047, proposes a temporary allowance for the cultivation, possession, and sharing of up to one ounce of psilocybin, with its provisions set to expire in July 2026.

This initiative comes as several U.S. states actively pursue reforms in their psilocybin policies, primarily focusing on decriminalizing possession and cultivation while exploring therapeutic applications. Rhode Island’s proposal stands out for its nuanced approach, not aiming to establish a retail system but rather providing a decriminalization model that prioritizes personal use and sharing within private residences.

The bill interestingly leaves room for adaptation to future changes in federal law regarding psilocybin, which is currently listed as a Schedule I controlled substance under the Drug Enforcement Agency’s (DEA) Controlled Substances Act (CSA). Mislabelling the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) as the “Federal Drug Administration” in its text, the bill mistakenly assigns the FDA the role of rescheduling psilocybin, a task typically undertaken by the DEA. However, the FDA does have the authority to approve specific pharmaceutical drugs.

Under the proposed legislation, if federal access to psilocybin is expanded to include treatment for serious or life-threatening mental or behavioral health disorders, Rhode Island could facilitate its availability in state-approved locations. The bill also mandates the submission of reports by the attorney general and the director of the Department of Health on various aspects of psilocybin use, including its scheduling and potential therapeutic applications.

Representative Potter, in a conversation with Marijuana Moment, emphasized the bill’s intention to provide flexible access to psilocybin, particularly for those who could benefit from its effects. He expressed concerns about creating a highly regulated legalization model that might restrict access, especially given the current shortage of behavioral healthcare providers in Rhode Island and the high cost of psilocybin services.

While Rhode Island’s approach mirrors other states in decriminalizing psilocybin possession and cultivation, it uniquely addresses the accessibility challenges in therapeutic use. For instance, Oregon’s first legal psilocybin center has a significant waitlist, and the costs for such services are generally not covered by insurance.

Potter’s bill aims to sidestep commercialization, focusing on decriminalization and potentially allowing doctors to recommend psilocybin to patients. This approach is reflective of a growing interest in the potential benefits of psychedelic medicine, as states grapple with the complexities of integrating these substances into therapeutic and legal frameworks.

This new proposal follows a similar bill, H 5923, which passed in the Rhode Island House of Representatives last year but stalled in the Senate. Representative Potter remains optimistic about the new measure, hoping it will receive a Senate hearing and recognition for its potential to benefit Rhode Islanders seeking alternative treatments.

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