Maryland Senate recently filed a bill that, if passed, would create state funding for free access to psychedelics (psilocybin, MDMA, ketamine, etc) for military veterans who suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). The bill would also support the research of the therapeutic potential of psychedelics.
The purpose of the bill is to establish what’s known as the Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder Alternative Therapies Fund. The money would fund research in psychedelics as well as provide “cost-free access to alternative therapies” for military veterans.
Additionally, the bill, sponsored by Sen. Sarah Elfreth (D), would require regulators to periodically “consult with the Department of Veterans Affairs, the John Hopkins University, the University of Maryland, Sheppard Pratt, and Walter Reed National Military Medical Center” on the use of psychedelics for PTSD treatment.
If the bill goes through and is received positively, then it could set the groundwork for future legislation on providing residents with regulated access to psychedelics for therapeutic use.
The bill currently has nine senators as cosponsors and is scheduled to receive a hearing during the state’s Budget and Taxation Committee on March 2 of this year.
In order for the bill to pass, the Maryland Department of Health would need to submit a report of “initial findings and recommendations” to the governor and legislation by December 1, 2022. In two years’ time would come another deadline for findings and recommendations based on the studies that were conducted specifically through the PTSD fund.
Maryland’s proposal is just one of many as states move towards the decriminalization of psychedelics.
In a recent Ketamine News article, we covered how Washington State Sens. Jesse Salomon (D) and Liz Lovelette (D) are pushing to legalize psilocybin.
The movement to decriminalize psilocybin in the US originated in the late 2010s, with Denver, Colorado becoming the first city to accomplish its goal in May 2019. Oakland and Santa Cruz, California followed closely behind, both successfully decriminalizing psilocybin by January 2020.
In November of the same year, voters passed the Oregon Ballot Measure 109, effectively making Oregon the first state to decriminalize psilocybin while legalizing it for therapeutic use.
These efforts come in the aftermath of the rapid onset of cannabis legalization in the United States, occasionally referred to as the Green Rush.
According to an article written by Dustin Marlan for The Appeal, titled, “The Movement to Decriminalize Psilocybin, Explained,” he writes, “Psilocybin reform is an important development for at least two reasons. First, psilocybin is a promising compound that, if studied and used appropriately, can provide benefits to many. Second, psilocybin reform may spur a radical rethinking of the prohibition on other Schedule I substances, and can thus be a catalyst toward ending the racist and draconian War on Drugs.”
More and more states are pushing for the decriminalization of psilocybin as studies have shown that it is an effective treatment option for depression, anxiety, and substance abuse.
Kaeli Swaggerty holds a B.A. in English from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. Connect with her about bringing awareness to mental health issues on LinkedIn.
“Maryland SB709.” TrackBill, https://trackbill.com/bill/maryland-senate-bill-709-post-traumatic-stress-disorder-alternative-therapies-fund-establishment-david-perez-military-heroes-act-end-22-a-day/2218272/#:~:text=Establishing%20the%20Post%2DTraumatic%20Stress,any%20other%20money%20from%20any.
Jaeger, Kyle. “Maryland Senate Bill Would Provide ‘Cost-Free Access’ to Psychedelics for Military Veterans.” Marijuana Moment, 9 Feb. 2022, https://www.marijuanamoment.net/maryland-senate-bill-would-provide-cost-free-access-to-psychedelics-for-military-veterans/.
Overland, Martha Ann. “The Green Rush Begins: Investors Get in on Pot’s Ground Floor.” NPR, NPR, 16 Feb. 2014, https://www.npr.org/2014/02/16/277691480/the-green-rush-begins-investors-get-in-on-pots-ground-floor.
“The Movement to Decriminalize Psilocybin, Explained.” The Lab by the Appeal, https://theappeal.org/the-lab/explainers/the-movement-to-decriminalize-psilocybin-explained/.