Maryland Psilocybin Task Force – Pending Legislation

Maryland Psilocybin Task Force - Pending Legislation

Maryland legislators are contemplating a fresh proposal to establish a task force aimed at examining and providing specific recommendations regarding the legalization and regulation of certain psychedelics.

Del. Pam Guzzone (D), along with five co-sponsors, has introduced a bill that would create a “Task Force on Responsible Use of Natural Psychedelic Substances” within the state Department of Health.

While similar legislation has been proposed in other states to explore the legalization of psychedelics, the Maryland bill distinguishes itself by outlining comprehensive study areas and policy recommendations. These include exploring mechanisms to facilitate statewide online sales of natural psychedelic substances with home delivery.

The task force would be comprised of four legislators appointed by leadership, representatives from five state agencies or their designees, a member of the Maryland Cannabis Administration (MCA), and 15 individuals appointed by the governor. These appointees would possess diverse backgrounds in public health, drug policy reform advocacy, law enforcement, and related fields.

Their responsibilities would include examining current legislation concerning psychedelics, identifying ways to optimize the public benefits of responsible access to and usage of natural psychedelic substances, evaluating associated risks and strategies for risk mitigation, and assessing barriers to access within the healthcare system, among other tasks.

By December 15, 2025, the panel would be required to deliver a report to both the governor and the legislature, presenting their findings and recommendations. These recommendations would encompass the establishment of a “Natural Psychedelic Permit” designed to regulate access to psilocybin, DMT, and mescaline that are not derived from natural peyote.

Additionally, the recommendations would address regulations concerning the cultivation of natural psychedelic substances in adherence to agricultural safety standards, as well as testing and packaging requirements for products containing such substances. Clear and accurate labeling of potency would also be a crucial aspect of these recommendations.

One notable aspect of the proposed law is the mandate for the task force to provide recommendations concerning the sale and taxation of natural psychedelic substances.

To fulfill this requirement, members would need to explore several key considerations, including restricting the sale of such substances to holders of the Natural Psychedelic Permit. Additionally, they would need to devise systems for the sale and reasonable taxation of these substances to fund the Maryland Natural Psychedelic Substance Access Program. The task force would also need to examine mechanisms to facilitate statewide online sales of natural psychedelic substances with home delivery and explore options for retail stores in communities that wish to participate in online sales and home delivery services.

Furthermore, the panel would be tasked with investigating criminal justice reforms related to psychedelics. This would involve considering measures such as decriminalizing non-violent activities involving entheogenic substances, expunging prior criminal records related to psychedelics, and potentially releasing individuals currently incarcerated for psychedelics-related offenses.

If enacted, the bill would come into effect on July 1, 2024, and expire on June 30, 2026.

Maryland legislators have demonstrated a proactive approach to psychedelics policy reform. In 2022, the legislature passed a bill to establish a state fund aimed at providing “cost-free” access to substances such as psilocybin, MDMA, and ketamine for military veterans grappling with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and traumatic brain injury. Despite the former Republican governor’s decision not to sign the legislation, it was still enacted into law.