New York Introduces Medical Psilocybin Legislation


On Monday, November 13th, 2021, New York MP Pat Burke passed a medical psilocybin bill. The “purpose or general idea of ​​the bill” gives a good summary: this legislation would “create psilocybin service centers to provide innovative treatments for diseases such as PTSD, depression, alcohol addiction, anxiety, etc.”

The bill reflects two different controlled substances laws: (1) Oregon’s legalization of psilocybin (a subject we’ve written about at length (here, here, and here to list a few); and (2) New York’s Marijuana Regulation and Taxation Act (MRTA), another topic that we have written extensively on (see here, here, and here to get started).

A few key points from the calculation:

Multiple license types

Like the MRTA, this medical psilocybin legislation encompasses several license types with a similar path of approval:

  • Registration as a Psilocybin Service Center which includes preparation, administration and integration sessions, all led and supervised by a Psilocybin Service Facilitator.
  • Registered organizations that are authorized to purchase, own, manufacture, sell, supply, transport, distribute or dispense psilocybin.
  • Psilocybin Research License which enables efficacy testing, clinical investigations, efficacy and safety research, and agricultural research.
  • Psilocybin Service Facilitator license that allows individuals to host psilocybin administration sessions. As noted in the bill, “in order to obtain a license, that person must have a high school diploma or equivalent, meet the educational requirements set by the department, meet the examination requirements, and demonstrate moderation and support skills.”

Extensive list of qualified medical conditions

The bill includes this definition of qualified medical conditions:

“Condition” means that one of the following conditions is present: cancer, positive status for the human immunodeficiency virus or acquired immunodeficiency syndrome, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, Parkinson’s disease, multiple sclerosis, damage to the nerve tissue of the spinal cord with objective neurological evidence of persistent spasticity, epilepsy, inflammatory Bowel disease, neuropathies, Huntington’s disease, post-traumatic stress disorder, pain affecting health and functioning when the use of medicinal cannabis is an alternative to opioid use, substance use disorder, Alzheimer’s disease, muscular dystrophy, dystonia, rheumatoid arthritis, autism, or other doctor-certified conditions.

Qualified doctors would have to take a two-hour health department training course to certify patients for psilocybin treatment.

Rules and restrictions

There are numerous rules and restrictions on licensees and practitioners, including a ban on owning a psilocybin manufacturing facility or hiring employees who have been convicted of certain criminal offenses in the past three years. However, as with the MRTA, there is an exception to criminal convictions for selling or possessing controlled substances, except in the case of minors.

Social justice

Similar to the MRTA, licensing factors will include whether applicants are a “minority and / or women-owned company, a veteran-owned company with disabilities, or from communities disproportionate to psilocybin enforcement.” are affected “.

The bill also provides for the creation of a psilocybin service grant program fund for veterans and first responders, administered jointly by the health commissioner and state auditor. The bill provides $ 2 million for the grant program.

Broad justification

We can’t put it better than this psilocybin medical legislation:

“Battles with diseases like PTSD, depression, anxiety, and alcoholism can have a significant impact on a person’s livelihood and that of their family. These mental health issues can worsen physical health, decrease performance on tasks, and increase suicide rates. Psilocybin therapy is a groundbreaking way to help people treat these ailments.

Certain professions, especially those that serve society by putting them at risk, have an increased prevalence of these health disorders. RAND Corporation data shows 8,000 New York veterans from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder. Firefighters, police officers, and rescue workers have a higher prevalence of depression, PTSD, and substance abuse than the general population.

The FDA recognizes psilocybin therapy as far better than current treatment options. Establishing a widespread avenue to provide this medical treatment to New Yorkers would be a monumental step in providing mental health care to improve lives. Oregon, Texas, and several cities have taken similar steps to improve access to psilocybin treatment.

These therapy centers would provide a safe physical environment that is monitored by trained monitors to eliminate the minimal risk associated with psilocybin. Researchers at Johns Hopkins Medicine report that psilocybin has a low potential for abuse and can be classified as “least harm to users and society”.

In addition to creating treatment centers, this bill would also create a $ 2 million fund for veterans, firefighters, police officers, and rescue workers who can apply for financial assistance for treatment. Our first responders expose themselves to potential trauma every day to keep us safe and healthy. Ensuring their access to this treatment demonstrates our reciprocity to ensure their safety and health.

As exciting as that is, it is important to remember that this is it suggested Legislation. Different versions of the MRTA were included in the years which led to its adoption earlier this year. We are now waiting to see how the legislation is received and whether it advances towards actual legalization of medicinal psilocybin. Stay tuned!