New York AG signs a bill decriminalizing psychedelics should the federal laws change.
Last month, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo signed a bill that would legalize Schedule I drugs like psilocybin and MDMA in the state if federal laws were to change. This legislation, known as the “Drug Regulation and Education Act,” represents a significant shift in the state’s approach to drug policy and marks a major step forward in the growing movement to decriminalize and legalize psychedelics for healthcare purposes. The bill was passed by the state legislature with overwhelming support, with a vote of 92-47 in the Assembly and 42-22 in the Senate. It is now set to become state law, pending any potential vetoes.
Schedules I drugs, such as psilocybin and MDMA, are currently considered to have a high potential for abuse. However, recent research has shown that these substances have therapeutic potential in treating a variety of mental health conditions, including depression, PTSD, and anxiety. The bill would create a regulatory framework for the production, distribution, and sale of these substances, with the goal of ensuring that they are used for therapeutic and scientific purposes rather than for recreational use. It would also establish a task force to study the effects of the drugs and develop guidelines for their safe and effective use.
The legislation would also establish a drug education program to inform the public about the potential risks and benefits of these substances and provide resources for individuals seeking treatment for substance abuse. This move by New York State is a significant step forward in the growing movement to decriminalize and legalize psychedelics. Several other states, including Oregon, Colorado, and California, have also taken steps to decriminalize the use of psychedelics, and several cities, including Denver, Oakland, and Santa Cruz, have also decriminalized possession of psychedelics.
This is a clear sign that the conversation around drug policy is shifting, with many people recognizing the need for a more compassionate and evidence-based approach. It also represents a shift towards more holistic measures and away from traditional pharmaceuticals.
The law supports recent research and clinical trials that have shown the potential of these substances in treating mental health. With the opioid crisis still ongoing, and the COVID-19 pandemic exacerbating mental health issues, it is more important than ever to have a comprehensive and effective approach to addressing substance abuse and addiction.
Psychiatric disorders such and chronic pain may be treated with psychedelic drugs, according to research presented earlier this year at the San Diego Society for Neuroscience meeting. Biomedical engineer Alex Kwan presented findings indicating that psilocybin, a compound found in magic mushrooms, may help the brain create new connections between neurons, a process called brain plasticity. This plasticity may be why a single psychedelic drug dose can have long-term therapeutic uses.
Migraine and post-concussive headaches are also being studied as potential indications for psilocybin treatment. A small, randomized, placebo-controlled study at Yale found that a single low-dose psilocybin reduced the frequency of migraines by 50% over two weeks. A follow-up study is being conducted to examine the effects of repeated doses of psilocybin on migraines. A study on the use of psilocybin for post-concussive headaches is currently enrolling at Yale. In addition, a clinical trial is underway to evaluate the use of low-dose psilocybin to treat SUNHA, a rare and debilitating type of headache.