A recent bill introduced by New Jersey Sen. Nicholas Scutari at the end of June ‘22, would make it legal for New Jersey residents, ages 21 and up, to “possess, store, use, ingest, inhale, process, transport, deliver without consideration, or distribute without consideration, four grams or less of psilocybin.” Bill S2934 is a direct approach to addressing mental and behavioral health conditions in the state, citing the numerous studies conducted on these conditions and the FDA granting a breakthrough therapy designation for psilocybin and its use for treatment-resistant depression.
This isn’t the first legislation that has surfaced around psilocybin in New Jersey. In February of 2021, Governor Phil Murphy signed a law that reduced the penalty for psilocybin possession to a maximum $1000 fine or up to 6 months in prison.
The new, progressive bill, would even allow NJ residents to grow and cultivate magic mushrooms at home.
In order for the bill to move forward, the State Senate and Assembly would have to pass it, and would then need to be signed by Governor Murphy, all of which are led by the Democratic party.
The timeline for the voting looks like it will take place this fall.
The bill also calls upon the formation of an 18-person board for the Psilocybin Behavioral Health Access and Services Advisory Board which carries the weight of making important decisions to better address the health of NJ residents and the effects that behavioral conditions are having on the population.
Scutari also leans heavily on the cannabis bill within the state. The state just opened up dispensaries towards the end of April.
What’s really fascinating about this bill is the creation of jobs and what could be a new, booming industry in regards to treatment centers and those that are licensed to administer the drug in clinical practice. While the bill also allows for home growing by residents, it states that, “it is the intent of the Legislature to facilitate the establishment of safe, legal, and affordable psilocybin service centers to provide residents of New Jersey who are 21 years of age or older with opportunities for supported psilocybin experiences to alleviate distress, provide preventative behavioral health care, and foster wellness and personal growth.”
For us, this is well structured and researched. Psilocybin, in clinical trials, is most often accompanied by psilocybin therapy. This is done with a combination of treatment with psilocybin and therapy sessions to further discuss the experience that the patient has. During the experience, the patient is also accompanied by a professional to help prevent any side effects, often referred to as a “bad trip” or “paranoia”.
The basis of the psychedelic movement with magic mushrooms is the expert care that is given throughout the process to ensure that the patient is going to have the best experience possible. Unlike cannabis, which although there was the early need for medical marijuana cards, patients typically would just pick up the product and administer it on their own. That same holds true, to an extent, with psilocybin and this bill, allowing users to grow it at home (currently, it’s not legal to home grow cannabis in New Jersey), but it’s much more than that as Scutari understands the importance of psilocybin therapy, which can open up new jobs and opportunities for residents.
What does New Jersey’s Psilocybin Bill Mean for the Industry?
In the past few years, research into the use of psychedelics, namely psilocybin and “magic mushrooms” has grown dramatically. While it has mainly been studied for its use in mental health conditions, like depression, more demand has started for its research into drug addiction, anxiety, end of life psychological distress and more.
Currently, the pharmaceutical industry has minimal forms of treatment for such conditions and their corresponding side effects outweigh a lot of the potential benefits. The natural remedy of psilocybin, which has shown very minimal side effects, yet substantially significant results, is looking like it may sweep in and command a stronghold of the industry. But, this takes time.
Clinical trials continue to push forward, and leading companies in the industry are set to complete their findings in the coming years. Bills, like these, further establish the need for such treatments and even if it’s not passed and signed into law during this first wave, the proposal of the bill, alone, is a big, progressive move forward.
We will be sure to keep you updated about Bill S2934!
Will other states follow suit?
This remains to be seen. Oregon is making large strides in the psilocybin space. Read a complete list of rules for psilocybin businesses in Oregon here. Follow along with the latest news by subscribing to our newsletter.
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