Bipartisan Arizona lawmakers have introduced a bill that would legalize psilocybin service centers where people could receive the psychedelic in a medically supervised setting.
The legislation, sponsored by Senate Health Committee Chairman T. J. Shope (R) and eight other members, would allow the Department of Human Services (DHS) to license psilocybin-assisted therapy centers in the state, where trained facilitators could administer the psychedelic.
This would significantly expand on Arizona’s existing research-focused psychedelics law that provides $5 million in annual funding to support studies into the therapeutic potential of psilocybin for conditions such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and depression.
Under the new bill, an Arizona Psilocybin Advisory Board would be established, comprised of members appointed by the governor and legislative leaders. Representatives of the attorney general’s office and DHS, as well as military veterans, first responders, scientists with experience with psilocybin and physicians would be among the members.
The board would be responsible for establishing training criteria for psilocybin service center staff, making recommendations on the implementation of the law, and studying the science and policy developments related to psychedelics.
By July 31, 2025 and each year after that, members would need to submit an annual report on the status of “medical, psychological and scientific” studies into the safety and efficacy of psilocybin, as well as a “long-term strategic plan” on ensuring that psychedelic-assisted therapy remains “safe, accessible and affordable” to people 21 and older.
Medical directors of psychedelic-assisted therapy centers would need to complete at least 132 hours of training under an approved program, which would need to involve lessons on the historical and traditional use of psychedelics, safety and ethics, facilitation skills and preparation, administration and integration.
The bill, which is cosponsored by Senate President Warren Petersen (R), states that DHS would need to start accepting applications for psychedelics centers by January 1, 2026. The department would need to promulgate rules for the program, but it would be barred from requiring specific eligible conditions for participation in psilocybin services.
Regulators could also license psilocybin centers that are carrying out clinical trials into the psychedelic that could lead to a Food and Drug Administration-approved drug.
Meanwhile, last week an Arizona House committee approved a separate bill to protect the $5 million in funding that’s already been designated for psilocybin research from being redistributed amid a state budget deficit.
The fund was enacted last year under an appropriations package signed by the governor that mandated research into the medical potential of psilocybin mushrooms for a variety of conditions.
A Psilocybin Research Advisory Council that was established under DHS met for the first time last November prior an open application period for potential grant recipients.
The grant money must be distributed to applicants with proposals focused on clinical trials that are meant to identify therapeutic applications that could receive FDA approval for treatment of 13 listed conditions.
Arizona one of several states where lawmakers have worked to promote research into psychedelics amid growing public interest in expanding therapeutic access and ending criminalization.
Marijuana Moment is tracking more than 1,000 cannabis, psychedelics and drug policy bills in state legislatures and Congress this year. Patreon supporters pledging at least $25/month get access to our interactive maps, charts and hearing calendar so they don’t miss any developments.
Learn more about our marijuana bill tracker and become a supporter on Patreon to get access.
For example, a Nevada joint legislative committee held a hearing with expert and public testimony on the therapeutic potential of substances like psilocybin earlier this month. Law enforcement representatives also shared their concerns around legalization—but there was notable acknowledgement that some reforms should be enacted, including possible rescheduling.
An Indiana Senate committee unanimously approved a bill this month that would fund clinical research trials into psilocybin-assisted therapy for mental health.
The governor of Massachusetts recently promoted the testimony of activists who spoke in favor of her veterans-focused bill that would, in part, create a psychedelics work group to study the therapeutic potential of substances such as psilocybin.
A New York lawmaker recently introduced a bill that would create a pilot program to provide psilocybin therapy to 10,000 people, focusing on military veterans and first responders, while the legislature also considers broader psychedelics reform.
A Missouri House committee considered a proposal on Tuesday that would legalize the medical use of psilocybin in the state and mandate clinical trials exploring the therapeutic potential of the psychedelic. A separate Senate committee hearing on similar legislation that was scheduled to take place was canceled, however.
Image courtesy of Kristie Gianopulos.