As Arizona lawmakers push for increased psilocybin research, some are looking to take things a step further by joining the ranks of other states that have ushered in legal psilocybin therapy.
A group of nine bipartisan lawmakers in the state are sponsoring the newly introduced bill which would legalize psilocybin service centers, allowing those in Arizona to undergo therapy with the psychedelic substance under medical supervision, according to a Marijuana Moment report.
The bill would allow the Department of Human Services (DHS) to license these centers and would also establish the Arizona Psilocybin Advisory Board. The board would include members appointed by the governor and legislative leaders, like representatives of the attorney general’s office and DHS, military veterans, first responders, scientists with psilocybin experience and physicians, among other potential groups.
Following in the footsteps of other states that have legalized psilocybin therapy, the board would need to establish training criteria for those working in psilocybin service centers and would also make recommendations on how the law is implemented while studying the science and policy developments related to psilocybin and other psychedelics.
Board members would also be required to submit an annual report by July 31, 2025 and each year after regarding the status of “medical, psychological and scientific” studies surrounding the safety and efficacy of psilocybin. Members would also be required to report on a “long-term strategic plan” to ensure psychedelic-assisted therapy remains “safe, accessible and affordable” to those over 21.
Medical directors of the therapy centers would be required to complete at least 132 hours of training under the approved program, including lessons on the historical and traditional use of psychedelics, safety and ethics, facilitation and preparation, administration and integration.
If passed, it would likely still be some time before Arizonans could expect to utilize the psilocybin services, however — the bill notes that the DHS would need to start accepting applications for the centers by Jan. 1, 2026. While the DHS would need to create rules for the program, the department would not be allowed to require specific eligible conditions for the services.
The bill would also provide a significant boost to the state’s existing law focused on psilocybin research.
Last year, the research was approved as part of an appropriations package specifically mandating further study into the medical potential of psilocybin pertaining to conditions like post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), depression, anxiety, long COVID symptoms and substance misuse disorder.
The legislation puts $5 million in funding toward the research, and unlike many other previous studies, Arizona’s prospective research would not utilize lab-produced psilocybin. Rather, it would look at the use of whole mushrooms.
More recently, an Arizona House committee approved another bill meant to protect the funding from being redistributed while the state deals with a budget deficit. Passing in an 11-3 vote, the legislation keeps the psychedelic research funds from going elsewhere until at least July 2026 so long as it gains final approval.
Without the new legislation, research appropriations were set to expire this summer, which advocates argued was not enough time to properly conduct the research.
Without the deadline extension, Dr. Dani Cabral, the principal investigator at IMA Clinical Research, said, “We are in a position here where we have $5 million, and few researchers will be awarded these funds, and they will have four months to complete a random control trial.”
Sponsor Rep. Kevin Payne (R) similarly chimed in, pointing out that the research under the current timeline is essentially not possible.
“What’s going to happen is they’re going to be halfway through the study and the money is going to run out and they’re not going to get paid at all,” he said. “So there won’t be anybody doing any studies unless we get this bill done.”
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