Illinois Lawmaker Files Psilocybin Therapy Legalization Bill


An Illinois state senator recently introduced a bill to legalize the supervised therapeutic use of psilocybin, the primary psychedelic compound in magic mushrooms. The legislation, known as the Compassionate Use and Research of Entheogens (CURE) Act, was introduced by Democratic Senator Rachel Ventura earlier this month.

If passed, the legislation (Senate Bill 3695) would legalize the supervised therapeutic use of psilocybin for adults. The bill is an attempt to provide new alternative options for treatment-resistant conditions such as anxiety, depression, PTSD, substance abuse, eating disorders and other serious mental health conditions.

“As mental health concerns rise throughout our state and nation, it’s imperative to acknowledge that conventional treatments don’t always suffice,” Ventura said in a statement on February 14. “Psilocybin shows promise as a potential solution, particularly for those grappling with PTSD and other mental health disorders. The ongoing research and trials have yielded encouraging results.”

Although the legislation legalizes supervised psychedelic therapy, it does not allow for the sale, use, or personal possession of the drug. The bill would also establish the Illinois Psilocybin Advisory Board under the Department of Financial and Professional Regulation. The new state agency would create a training program, ethical standards and licensing requirements for psilocybin therapy practitioners.

“At the current pace, demand for therapeutic psychedelic experiences and retreats is far outpacing the supply of psychedelic guides, therapists and practitioners. We are asking that lawmakers in Illinois not let unnecessary barriers stand in the way of safe, compassionate access and quality assurance for psychedelic healing,” said Jean Lacy, founder of the Illinois Psychedelic Society. “Illinois has the opportunity to be a standard-setter for other states, creating training centers, developing standards of care, and providing a model for other states to follow. Illinois’ mental health crisis is growing and there are serious consequences to withholding these medicines from those who need it.”

FDA Designates Psilocybin As A Breakthrough Therapy

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration designated psilocybin treatment as a breakthrough therapy in 2018, indicating that the therapy has the potential to be a substantial improvement over existing options. Last year, the agency published its first draft guidance on clinical trials for psychedelics in a further indication of the progress being made exploring the potential of psilocybin and other psychedelic compounds to have a profound impact on the treatment of mental illness.

In 2021, Oregon became the first state to legalize the therapeutic use of psilocybin, followed by the passage of a similar measure by Colorado voters in 2022. Legislators in more conservative states are also taking action to reform psychedelics laws, including the approval of a psilocybin medical research bill by an Indiana Senate committee earlier this year.

Democratic Representative LaShawn Ford introduced similar legislation (House Bill 1) in the Illinois House of Representatives last year. Ford and Ventura are now working together “to develop robust legislation” to legalize psilocybin therapy in Illinois. The Senate bill is co-sponsored by fellow Democrats Senator Willie Preston and Senator Mike Porfirio. In the House, Representatives Jonathan Carroll, Harry Benton, and Kelly Cassidy, also all Democrats, have signed on as co-sponsors of the legislation.

The Law Enforcement Action Partnership (LEAP), a nonprofit organization made up of current and former law enforcement professionals advocating for the reform of drug prohibition laws, issued a statement in support of the CURE Act last week.

“Law Enforcement Action Partnership recognizes this bill as nothing short of life-saving. Providing a proven means for people to work through their traumas and live happier, healthier, and more productive lives,” said Dave Franco, a retired Chicago police officer. “The benefits for mental and behavioral health can also have sizable impacts on community health and public safety.”

Senate Bill 3695 was filed by Ventura on February 9. The measure has not yet been assigned to a legislative committee for consideration.



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