Arizona Psilocybin Legalization Update

Arizona Psilocybin Legalization

Arizona Psilocybin legalization may be on its way. The Health & Human Services Committee of the Arizona House has moved forward a bill initially passed by the Senate, which would permit the establishment of psilocybin service centers for the administration of the psychedelic under medical supervision. The legislation, proposed by Sen. T. J. Shope (R), secured an 8-2 vote in favor on Monday, shortly after receiving full Senate approval. Should this bill become law, it would empower the Department of Human Services (DHS) to grant licenses to therapy centers across the state, enabling qualified facilitators to provide psilocybin-assisted therapy.

The proposed legislation aims to build upon Arizona’s current law, which is centered around research into psychedelics and allocates $5 million yearly to fund studies on psilocybin therapy, by significantly broadening its scope.

The proposal introduces the formation of the Arizona Psilocybin Advisory Board, which would include appointees by the governor and legislative leaders. This board would consist of members from the attorney general’s office and the Department of Human Services (DHS), along with military veterans, first responders, scientists with psilocybin experience, physicians, and, following a floor amendment, an enrolled member of a Native American tribe experienced in the ceremonial use of psilocybin.

The board’s duties would involve setting training standards for staff at psilocybin service centers, offering guidance on the law’s application, and examining both the scientific advancements and policy shifts regarding psychedelics.

By July 31, 2025, and annually thereafter, the board is tasked with delivering a report detailing the current state of medical, psychological, and scientific research on psilocybin’s safety and effectiveness. Additionally, they are to propose a long-term strategic plan aimed at maintaining psychedelic-assisted therapy as a safe, accessible, and affordable option for individuals aged 21 and over.

Under the proposed bill, medical directors at centers offering psychedelic-assisted therapy would be mandated to undergo a minimum of 132 hours of training through an accredited program. This training would cover various aspects including the historical and traditional uses of psychedelics, principles of safety and ethics, as well as the development of skills for facilitation, and the preparation, administration, and integration of these substances.

Endorsed by Senate President Warren Petersen (R), the legislation specifies that the Department of Human Services (DHS) must begin to accept applications for psychedelic therapy centers by January 1, 2026. DHS is also tasked with establishing regulations for the program, but it will be restricted from setting specific qualifying conditions for individuals seeking psilocybin services.

Regulators would also have the authority to issue licenses to psilocybin centers that are engaged in clinical trials aimed at researching the psychedelic, potentially paving the way for the development of a drug approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

Arizona is among multiple states where legislators have been actively encouraging research into psychedelics, responding to increasing public interest in broadening therapeutic access to these substances and moving towards decriminalization.