Hawaii Psilocybin Treatment Bill Proposed

Hawaii Psilocybin Treatment Bill Proposed

A recent legislative proposal introduced in Hawaii aims to create a framework for the therapeutic use of psilocybin. While not legalizing psilocybin outright, the bill seeks to protect patients using psilocybin for medical reasons. Senate Bill 3019, put forward by Sen. Chris Lee on January 24, along with its companion, House Bill 2630, introduced by 14 representatives on January 23, focuses on ensuring individuals dealing with trauma and treatment-resistant mental health issues are not penalized for using psilocybin under the guidance of a licensed mental health professional.

The bill outlines that law enforcement must return any seized psilocybin products or paraphernalia if a defendant can demonstrate legal consumption under the program. However, falsely claiming therapeutic use to avoid arrest would result in a $500 charge.

Eligibility for the program is limited to Hawaii residents over the age of 21 with at least a high school diploma or equivalent. Participants must also complete an approved “psychedelic integration training program” overseen by the Office of Wellness and Resilience (OWR).

Qualifying conditions for psilocybin treatment under this bill include PTSD, treatment-resistant depression, major depressive disorder, end-of-life anxiety, existential stress, demoralization, eating disorders such as anorexia and bulimia, addiction, and obsessive-compulsive disorder. The Department of Health may approve additional mental health conditions based on a licensed mental health professional’s recommendation.

The proposed therapy process includes three phases: a preparation session to introduce the patient to a facilitator, an administration session for consuming psilocybin under supervision, and an integration session to provide post-experience care and information on peer support and other resources.

In August 2023, the Office of Wellness and Resilience (OWR) announced that the Breakthrough Therapies Task Force, including member Sen. Chris Lee and 10 other individuals, convened for the first time on August 29. This task force is charged with laying the groundwork for implementing therapeutic programs utilizing MDMA and psilocybin.

Hawaii’s legislative approach to psilocybin therapy diverges significantly from the frameworks established in states like Oregon and Colorado. In Oregon, the licensing of the first psilocybin treatment center, EPIC Healing Eugene, in June 2023 led to a substantial waitlist of thousands within just three months. By the end of 2023, over 700 individuals had undergone psilocybin therapy in the state. Colorado, following a 2022 voter-approved psychedelics bill, decriminalized the possession and consumption of psilocybin, ibogaine, mescaline, and DMT, allowing for their sharing (with the exception of ibogaine) and the home cultivation of mushrooms in specified spaces. The bill was signed into law by Governor Jared Polis in May 2023.

Moreover, Hawaii Attorney General Anne Lopez announced a comprehensive 294-page plan in November 2023 to legalize adult-use cannabis, proposing a dual taxation system and introducing a social equity program to integrate illegal cultivators into the legal market. This initiative underscores a strategy to transition those previously involved in the illicit cannabis market into a regulated framework. Medical cannabis dispensaries, already familiar with the regulatory landscape, are positioned to be among the first to enter the recreational market.

Legislative support for Lopez’s cannabis legalization proposal has been vocal, with key lawmakers such as House Judiciary Chair David Tarnas and Senator Jarrett Keohokalole recognizing the thoroughness and ambition of the plan, highlighting efforts to address historical issues within the drug policy realm.

Source: https://hightimes.com/psychedelics/psilocybin-treatment-bill-proposed-in-hawaii/