A Maine House committee is considering a bill to legalize psilocybin, allowing adults to access the psychedelic at licensed facilities while broadly ending the criminalization of personal use and possession of psilocybin.
During a hearing before the legislature’s Veterans and Legal Affairs Committee on Wednesday, members—two of whom disclosed personally using psilocybin in the past—discussed the psychedelics proposal, sponsored by Sen. Donna Bailey (D), who filed a similar version of the proposal in 2022 that passed the Senate but stalled out in the House.
The legislation would allow adults 21 and older to access psilocybin service centers where it could be administered under the guidance of a trained facilitator.
The state Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) would be responsible for overseeing the psilocybin program. Regulators would need to start approving psychedelic service centers by January 15, 2025.
Adults in general would be able to possess and cultivate up to four ounces of psilocybin for personal use under the legislation.
“I think it’s clear that psilocybin can help a lot of different people that are hurting,” Rep. David Boyer (R) said, adding that he’s personally benefitted from psilocybin treatment. “It’s helped me get more in touch with myself and my feelings, and I think it would really benefit a lot of people.”
Rep. Laura Supica (D) also said at Wednesday’s work session that she’s used psilocybin, saying there’s “strong merit” in recent research for its potential therapeutic application. “I would be interested in exploring this as creating a new system for therapeutic reasons,” she said.
The panel also received written testimony from a number of witnesses, some of whom appeared in person at a prior hearing last year.
ACLU Maine’s Michael Kebede, for example, said that in a state “where lack of treatment for substance use disorders killed more than 700 people last year, psilocybin therapy is particularly promising.”
“This bill will save lives. It would ensure that Maine takes a very careful approach to the legalization of psilocybin,” he said. “We urge you to vote ought to pass.”
BJ McCollister of the New Approach PAC said that the bill “will provide real mental health relief throughout the state, in a regulated, supervised, therapeutic format.”
The Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention also submitted testimony, expressing concern about “the lack of guidance around who can and should use psilocybin therapeutically, and what conditions it can be used to treat.”
The Maine Chiefs of Police Association testified against the reform, saying it would “create entirely new regulatory process that would be pushed on the towns without the option to opt in. Maine is still grappling with the unresolved issues in the adult and medical use for cannabis and adding a new substance would complicate things too much.”
Meanwhile, the Maine legislature’s Health and Human Services Committee held a public hearing last week to discuss a bill to decriminalize possession of currently illicit drugs and invest in expanded treatment resources, taking emotional testimony from supporters.
A Senate committee also rejected a bill earlier this month that would have fully removed marijuana from the state’s criminal code, including a repeal of mandatory minimum sentences for certain activities involving unlawful amounts of cannabis. It also would have required automatic expungements of prior marijuana convictions.
At the same time, Maine’s legal cannabis market has seen record-breaking sales in recent months, and the governor signed into law a bill last year to provide tax relief for the state marijuana industry.
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