After a positive start of Virginia’s 2023 state congressional session, one of the two projects seeking to legalize psychedelics in Virginia received a negative vote from a key House panel on Wednesday, January 18.
Introduced on Jan. 4 by Del. Dawn Adams (D) to the Virginia General Assembly, the bill calling for the lawful medical use of psilocybin for serious mental health conditions is unlikely to pass after the Republican-led House Courts of Justice subcommittee laid the bill on the table with a 5-2 vote.
What does this mean? Essentially it translates to a negative vote, though it provides the possibility of revising the bill later on.
Besides offering psilocybin therapy for people with PTSD, refractory depression and end-of-life anxiety, the measure would have lowered punishment for possessing the psychedelic to a misdemeanor with a maximum of 30 days in jail and a $500 fine for a first offense.
But for now, anyone in Virginia caught with psilocybin could still be punished with a $2,500 fine and up to 10 years.
Interestingly, military veteran Anthony Mijares spoke at the subcommittee meeting. He told lawmakers of his personal experience with psilocybin as a treatment for his depression and suicidal thoughts.
“Just one dose was enough for me to understand and realize the power of self-healing,” he said.
The bill’s detractors stated that more research is needed as well as additional results on psilocybin’s long-term effects. There was no opposition to the bill during the public comment period.
Hopes are set on the other state bill.
Introduced by Sen. Ghazala Hashmi (D), the measure would establish an advisory board for developing “a long-term strategic plan” for the provision of therapeutic psilocybin services, monitor and study federal laws, regulations and policies around psilocybin and would reclassify it to Schedule III.
Photo: Benzinga edit with photo by Good luck images and Cannabis_Pic on Shutterstock.