The Hawaii Senate on Tuesday approved a bill to set up a state working group to study the therapeutic benefits of psilocybin mushrooms and develop a “long-term” plan to ensure that the psychedelic is accessible for medical use for adults 21 and older.
After previously clearing two Senate committees in recent weeks, the full chamber unanimously passed it in a 25-0 vote, with only one member expressing reservations. It now heads to the House for consideration.
This is one of several psilocybin measures—including one that’s broader in scope by decriminalizing the substance and requiring the establishment of therapeutic psilocybin treatment centers—that have been introduced and could be taken up in the legislature this session.
The text of the measure says that “because the State has a shortage of mental health professionals, the State should actively consider novel, innovative, and safe solutions to treat its residents.” It then outlines the proposed composition of the workgroup and what it would be tasked with investigating.
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Members would be required to study “the medicinal and therapeutic effects of psilocybin” and develop “a long-term strategic plan to ensure the availability of therapeutic psilocybin or psilocybin-based products that are safe, accessible, and affordable for adults twenty-one years of age or older.”
While the report as drafted would have required the workgroup to submit a report with its findings and recommendations within 20 days of the 2023 legislative session, a committee approved a change that pushed back the effective date of the bill to January 1, 2050.
Adding a “defective date” is a common legislative practice in the Hawaii legislature to leave open opportunities to further consider and revise a given bill as it moves through the process, which could include resolving differences legislation between chambers in conference.
The working group would also examine “federal, state, and local laws, regulations, administrative rules, and procedures regarding the therapeutic use of psilocybin,” scientific research into the psychedelic and “requirements, specifications, and guidelines for a medical professional to prescribe and provide psilocybin to patients in jurisdictions in which psilocybin is used to treat mental health conditions.”
In testimony for the first panel this bill moved through, the Department of Health expressed some reservations about the scope of the proposal.
The House companion version of the psychedelics legislation has yet to…