Massachusetts Republican Pushing Psychedelic Legalization Bills

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By Colin Young
State House News Service

A former police officer whose office described him as “widely regarded as the most conservative member of the Massachusetts legislature” on Tuesday touted bills he’s filed to legalize certain psychedelic compounds and plant medicines including psilocybin and ecstasy.

State Representative Nicholas Boldyga, a Republican from Southwick, said he was moved to file the legislation by “overwhelming research related to the mental health benefits these compounds offer” and conversations with veterans and first responders who have used psychedelic plant medicines to address post-traumatic stress syndrome and other mental health challenges. A handful of Bay State municipalities have decriminalized plant medicines, but no effort to legalize them has gained traction on Beacon Hill, though some advocates thought the 2016 legalization of cannabis might open the door.

“People are suffering from debilitating mental health issues such as PTSD, traumatic brain injury, anxiety, and depression. These psychedelic compounds and plant medicines are offering hope and healing to those that were once hopeless,” Boldyga said in a written statement. “Plant medicines have been used for thousands of years by various cultures around the world, they truly are revolutionizing how we approach mental health and wellbeing.”

Boldyga’s office highlighted three specific pieces of legislation:

H 3589 concerning the legalization of certain natural plants and fungi would legalize the possession, cultivation, and personal use of plants and fungi that contain psilocybin, N,N-dimethyltryptamine (DMT), psilocin, ibogaine, and mescaline for people 21 or older. It would explicitly prohibit the sale or transfer of the substances for financial gain and would limit possession to no more than two grams. H 3589 was referred to the Joint Committee on the Judiciary.

H 3605 concerning the legal use of the plant medicine known as psilocybin for therapeutic, spiritual, and medicinal purposes would establish a legal and regulatory framework for Massachusetts to issue licenses for people to facilitate the use of psilocybin for therapeutic, spiritual, and medicinal purposes. It would legalize the use of psilocybin for those purposes for people 18 or older under the supervision of a licensed facilitator. Boldyga’s office said the bill is based on a similar policy in Oregon. H 3605 was referred to the Joint Committee on Public Health.

H 3574 concerning the use of a prescription medicine that contains 3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine (MDMA) would automatically reschedule MDMA for the treatment of post-traumatic stress syndrome upon approval from the U.S. Federal Food and Drug Administration. Boldyga’s office said that the Multidisciplinary Association of Psychedelic Studies “expects that the drug will be approved as a prescription medication sometime in 2023 or 2024.” H 3574 was referred to the Joint Committee on Elder Affairs.

No other lawmakers have co-sponsored any of Boldyga’s three psychedelics bills, but his office’s promotion of the legislation made clear that it is a topic the Southwick Republican is interested in talking more about.

Boldyga’s office said he plans to hold “coalition meetings, educational sessions, and rallies at the State House in Boston to support plant medicine legalization” and asked interested people to contact Legislative Director Joel Dusoe at [email protected].


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