A pre-filed bill would make a handful of natural psychedelics legal for adults 21 and older in New York.
This week, New York lawmakers will introduce a bill that would legalize the “possession, use, cultivation, production, creation, analysis, gifting, exchange, or sharing by or between natural persons of twenty-one years of age or older of a natural plant or fungus-based hallucinogen.”
New York’s bill would allow the use of psychedelics DMT, ibogaine, mescaline, psilocybin, and psilocin. These substances are considered “natural plant or fungus-based hallucinogens.” The legislation would also authorize “psychedelic services” which could be paid, unpaid, or used for spiritual and religious ceremonies.
If the bill passes, state and local law enforcement would not be allowed to assist the federal government in investigating or prosecuting anyone for the lawful cultivation, possession, distribution, or consumption of the approved hallucinogens. The bill was sponsored by Assemblymembers Jo Anne Simon (D) and Karines Reyes (D), and Linda Rosenthal (D), who previously introduced a number of psychedelic-friendly bills.
In recent years, California, Oregon, and Colorado have already moved to legalize magic mushrooms and other natural hallucinogens.
Here’s what New York’s psychedelics law would protect against
If passed, New Yorkers wouldn’t lose professional licenses, public assistance, or access to mental health and behavioral health services simply for using psychedelics.
A parent’s lawful use will no longer be the sole basis for a child welfare investigation.
It would also be prohibited for employers to take adverse actions against workers who lawfully use psychedelics while off duty.
New York localities will not be allowed to enact laws that criminalize psychedelics, but they could “adopt and implement legislation and policies which bear directly on or are related to natural plant or fungus-based hallucinogens in furtherance,” the bill states.
Magic mushrooms are already taking over New York
While lawmakers work to legalize magic mushrooms and other plant-based hallucinogens, New Yorkers are fighting to normalize them. In November, more than 50 people squeezed into an event space in Troy to discuss how they can make mushrooms mainstream, according to a report in Albany’s Times Union.
“What we are trying to do is disentangle the hype and hysteria that led to these substances becoming illegal in the first place,” said Avery Stempel, owners of a gourmet mushroom shop called Collar City Mushrooms. Her store only sells non-psychedelic varieties of edible fungi for now, but many of New York’s gray and sovereign operators are serving fully-infused fungi. “The more we talk about it and are open about how people have been using them — that’s what I think will help drive the change in the climate,” Stempel said.
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Police and firefighters using mushrooms to heal from 9/11
According to the Times Union, many of New York’s ex-military and law enforcement officers are searching the state for psilocybin. Many are using it to treat post-traumatic stress disorder, including some 9/11 first responders. A retired officer said microdosing psilocybin helped him overcome PTSD, improved his memory, and helped heal his smoke-damaged lungs.
“For me, one to two days per week is all I need. It’s almost like resetting your battery. It resets your brain,” he said. “I’m not edgy anymore. I’m not distancing myself. It’s made me more balanced and interactive with my family.”Retired New York police officer on microdosing magic mushrooms
New York City firefighter Joe McKay worked for months to help clear Ground Zero and said his PTSD and cluster headaches were healed when he incorporated psilocybin into his treatment routine. The federal government still lists psilocybin, the active ingredient in magic mushrooms, as a Schedule I drug. But in 2018, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration called psilocybin a “breakthrough therapy” for severe depression.