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Maine Lawmakers Discuss The Potential Legalization of ‘Magic’ Mushrooms

Maine Lawmakers Discuss The Potential Legalization of ‘Magic’ Mushrooms

Maine lawmakers are considering a proposal to legalize psychedelic mushrooms for therapeutic use, which has sparked opposition from law enforcement groups.

A proposal currently under consideration by the Legislature’s Committee On Veterans and Legal Affairs aims to legalize the use of “magic mushrooms” for adults aged 21 and above. Additionally, the proposal seeks to establish a framework for sales and taxation of these substances.

State Senator Donna Bailey, a primary sponsor of the bill, emphasizes that the measure does not allow for retail over-the-counter sales of the drug. Instead, it would mandate the state Department of Health and Human Services and an advisory board to establish “strict safety criteria” aimed at minimizing risk and maximizing benefit.

“In written testimony, she expressed the importance of establishing a secure and well-regulated program to provide psilocybin treatment services to veterans, first responders, and other individuals who require it,” she stated. “The treatment would be administered by licensed and trained facilitators.”

However, the proposal, which was carried over from the previous legislative session after failing to pass, faces opposition from police officials. They argue that Maine is still dealing with the challenges of legalizing medical and recreational cannabis and allowing personal use of another controlled substance would pose law enforcement concerns.

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“We do not have a stance on the clinical and therapeutic benefits of psilocybin, but we believe that the public should not consume it without the guidance of a medical professional due to insufficient information,” stated Charles Rumsey, president of the Maine Chiefs of Police Association, in recent testimony opposing the measure.

Advocates present the proposal as a means of addressing mental illness, highlighting recent studies that demonstrate the potential of psilocybin as a therapeutic medication. There is a growing body of evidence suggesting that psilocybin may have positive effects in the treatment of psychological disorders, including post-traumatic stress disorder and end-of-life anxiety.

Psilocybin is currently prohibited by federal law and classified as a Schedule 1 drug under the U.S. Controlled Substances Act, alongside LSD, heroin, and other substances. It is considered to have no recognized medical applications.

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However, despite the opposition, two states have recently voted to decriminalize small amounts of psilocybin and allow its use for therapeutic purposes.

In January, Oregon made history by becoming the first state to legalize psilocybin for regulated use in treating mental health issues. In 2020, voters gave their approval to the legalization of the drug through a ballot question that also resulted in the decriminalization of personal possession of small amounts of harder drugs such as heroin, cocaine, and methamphetamine.

In contrast to the sale of recreational cannabis, Oregon’s legislation does not permit the retail sale of psilocybin. Consumption of psilocybin is restricted to licensed “service” centers.

In November, Colorado voters passed a law that allows for the legalization of a certain drug in therapeutic settings. This law also grants regulators the authority to establish regulations for a new industry related to “psychedelics”.

Additionally, the legislation removes penalties for the “personal use” of these substances, granting individuals aged 21 and above the freedom to possess and cultivate psychedelic mushrooms within their own residences.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has granted “breakthrough therapy” status to a psychedelic drug, allowing private research companies to conduct clinical trials.

Recent studies have revealed promising results in the treatment of major depression, cancer, and other ailments, based on decades of extensive research into the use of this drug.

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