Massachusetts voters will have a chance to decide on a measure to legalize psychedelics on the November ballot, state officials have announced.

Last week, the campaign behind the initiative turned in a final batch of signatures to qualify the proposal after lawmakers declined to enact the reform legislatively. On Wednesday, Secretary of the Commonwealth William F. Galvin certified that that activists collected more than enough valid petitions for the proposal to go before voters.

After previously turning in an initial round of signatures that forced legislators to consider the reform, and they declined to advance it, the campaign Massachusetts for Mental Health Options (MMHO) has submitted another 14,000 signatures to secure ballot placement.

Of those, 13,073 were valid, Galvin announced.

“The support from Massachusetts residents has been overwhelming, we are thrilled to be on the ballot this year,” Emily Oneschuk, a veteran and grassroots outreach director for MMHO, said in a press release last week. “Massachusetts veterans have been advocating for this type of care for years, it’s time to make it accessible and affordable for them and other struggling Massachusetts residents.”

This comes about a month after the legislature’s Special Joint Committee on Ballot Initiatives issued a majority report that formally recommended against passing the measure as drafted. The panel previously held a hearing to gain expert feedback on the proposal.

The report acknowledged that a growing body of scientific literature shows psychedelics such as psilocybin “may be highly effective in addressing a variety of adverse mental health conditions” when administered in a controlled environment.

But it said these “promising findings, however, have not provided evidence that the widescale recreational legalization of these substances would be beneficial, let alone safe.”

The joint committee also said it believes the measure’s primary goals of licensing psychedelics service centers while broadly decriminalizing the substances for adults “likely undercut each other by creating two separate systems for the use of psychedelic substances.”

Here are the key details of the Natural Psychedelic Substances Act:

Adults 21 and older could legally possess, grow and share certain amounts of psychedelics.
The covered psychedelics and possession limits are: DMT (one gram), non-peyote mescaline (18 grams), ibogaine (30 grams), psilocybin (one gram) and psilocin (one gram). Those weight limits do not include any material that the active substances are attached to or part of.
The penalty for possession of amounts of up to double the limit would be a $100 civil fine, with amounts above that remaining criminalized.
A Natural Psychedelic Substances Commission would be created to oversee the implementation of the law and licensing of service centers and facilitators.
The body, which is modeled on the state’s existing Cannabis Control Commission, would be required to enact rules for regulated access of at least one psychedelic by April 1, 2026. Regulations for the rest of the substances would need to be created by April 1, 2028. It would also need to start accepting applications by September 30, 2026.
A Natural Psychedelic Substances Advisory Board would “study and make recommendations” to the commission about issues such as public health, regulations, training for facilitators, affordable and equitable access, traditional use of psychedelics and future rules, including possible additions to the list of legal substances.
Psychedelics purchased at licensed facilities would be subject to a 15 percent excise tax, and localities would have the option of imposing an additional two percent tax if they permit the centers to operate in their area. Revenue would be used to fund regulation of the program.
There are no provisions on expunging prior convictions for activities that would be made legal.
Local governments could enact regulations on the time, location and manner of service centers, but they could not outright ban them from operating in their area.
Adults could propagate psychedelics in a maximum 12X12 ft. space.
There would be civil legal protections related to professional licensure, child custody and public benefits for people who participate in a legalized psychedelic activity.
The effective date of the law would be December 15, 2024. The commission and advisory board would need to be created by March 1, 2025.

Marijuana Moment is tracking more than 1,500 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.

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The campaign first filed two different psychedelics reform initiatives in August, and after the state attorney general determined that they both met the constitutional requirement for ballot placement the following months, activists decided to pursue the version that included a home cultivation option.

Eight cities across Massachusetts have enacted policies to locally deprioritize enforcement of laws against psychedelics, an effort that has been led by BSNM: SalemSomervilleCambridgeEasthamptonNorthamptonAmherst, Provincetown and Medford.

Separately, Gov. Maura Healy (D) in January drew attention to testimony around a veterans-focused bill that she’s introduced to create a psychedelics work group that would study the therapeutic potential of substances such as psilocybin.

The Honoring, Empowering and Recognizing Our Servicemembers and Veterans (HERO Act) is a wide-ranging proposal focused on veterans, but it cleared both chambers in different forms with the psychedelics policy reform provisions attached. They must now be reconciled before going to Healy for final approval.

Another bill introduced in the legislature would authorize the Department of Public Health to conduct a comprehensive study into the potential therapeutic effects of synthetic psychedelics like MDMA.

Meanwhile, a different Massachusetts legislative committee advanced a bill in February that would legalize psilocybin therapy in the Commonwealth and set up a framework to license facilitators who would supervise medical, therapeutic and spiritual applications of the drug.

Rep. Mike Connolly (D) also filed a bill in measure that received a Joint Judiciary Committee hearing on studying the implications of legalizing entheogenic substances like psilocybin and ayahuasca.

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The post Massachusetts Voters Will Decide On Psychedelics Legalization Initiative On November Ballot, State Announces appeared first on Marijuana Moment.

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