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IL Therapeutic Psilocybin Bills Filed, Boise Police Raid Harm Reduction Offices, More... (2/16/24)

Submitted by Phillip Smith on (Issue #1205)

Medical Marijuana

psilocbyin mushrooms (Pixabay)
South Dakota: Lawmakers Roll Back Employment Protections for State-Registered Medical Marijuana Patients. House and Senate lawmakers have passed legislation, Senate Bill12, rolling back certain employment protections for state-authorized medica marijuana patients. The voter-approved 2020 initiative legalizing medical marijuana included those protections, but this bill would allow employers to either fire or refuse to hire patients for "safety-sensitive jobs" if they test positive for THC metabolites on a drug screen. The legislation also prohibits patients from suing an employer for wrongful termination if they fail an employer-mandated drug test.

Republic Gov. Kristi Noem is expected to sign the bill, affecting more than 8,500 South Dakotans who are registered with the state medical marijuana program.

Virginia Bill to Protect Medical Marijuana-Using State Employees Passes House. A bill that would allow public sector employees to use medical marijuana without losing their jobs, House Bill 149, extends to state public employees' rights that already exist in the private sector. The bill passed with bipartisan support on a 78-20 vote.

Bill sponsor Del. Dan Helmer (D-Fairfax County) sponsored legislation three years ago to protect medical patients, but that bill "unintentionally did not protect public-sector employees," Helmer said. "The key was we left our brave first responders out of this," Helmer said. "That was never our intent and so this bill is meant to fix that."

Similar legislation in the Senate, Senate Bill 391, introduced by Sen. Stella Pekarsky (D-Fairfax County), also offers protection to public sector employees, except for law enforcement officers. The bill passed the Senate with a 30-10 vote.

Now, those two bills will have to be reconciled.


Illinois Therapeutic Psilocybin Bill Filed. State Sen. Senator Rachel Ventura (D-Joliet) filed legislation that would legalize psilocybin for adult-supervised use in a licensed service center. The legislation, Senate Bill 3695, known as the CURE ACT (Compassionate Use and Research of Entheogens Act), aims to tackle treatment-resistant conditions such as anxiety, depression, PTSD, substance abuse, eating disorders, and other mental health conditions. Additionally, it facilitates research into the safety and efficacy of psilocybin through medical, psychological, and scientific studies.

"As mental health concerns rise throughout our state and nation, it's imperative to acknowledge that conventional treatments don't always suffice," stated. 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."

The FDA has labeled psilocybin twice as a "breakthrough therapy" for treatment-resistant depression, indicating federal acknowledgment of its therapeutic promise. In June, the agency released its inaugural guidelines for researchers keen on investigating its potential for medical applications.

Representative LaShawn Ford (D-Chicago) introduced comparable legislation in the House under House Bill 1. Ventura and Ford are collaborating closely to develop robust legislation.

"Prohibition has always been bad public policy and dangerous for public health," stated Ford. "I’m proud to work with Senator Ventura to pass a law to help veterans struggling with PTSD and others seeking therapy to help with life challenges."

Drug Policy

Arizona House Committee Approves Legislation Designating Mexican Cartels as Terrorist Organizations. The House Government Committee on Thursday approved legislation declaring cartels terrorist groups and demanding that the Department of Homeland Security "do everything in its authority to address threats posed by drug cartels," House Concurrent Resolution 2038.

"We can no longer ignore some of the serious threats we have to our safety, to our security," bill sponsor Rep. Steve Montenegro (R). "The federal government is clearly refusing to do its job to secure our borders -- to secure the safety of our citizens."

Every committee member voted in favor of the resolution. If it passes both the House and the Senate, it will bypass the governor’s office and go to Arizona voters on the next general election ballot.

Harm Reduction

Idaho Fentanyl Test Strip Bill Wins House Committee Vote. The House Health and Welfare Committee voted Thursday to approve a bill removing fentanyl test strips from the state's drug paraphernalia statute, House Bill 441, filed by Rep. Marco Erickson (R-Idaho Falls) and House Minority Leader Ilana Rubel (D-Boise).

"This will be just very helpful for people to be able to cheaply and easily make sure they aren’t being inadvertently poisoned by fentanyl," Rubel said.

Erickson, who has worked in drug treatment and prevention, said Idaho is one of six states where the testing strips are criminalized. And yet, fentanyl strips can be ordered online through websites like Amazon, he said.

Boise Police Raid Idaho Harm Reduction Offices. Boise Police raided the Idaho Harm Reduction Project’s Caldwell and Boise offices on Tuesday as part of an ongoing investigation into the distribution of drug paraphernalia, according to a department spokesperson. Police had a search warrant for items related to the use of methamphetamine, opioids, and crack cocaine.

"Items seized were limited to packaged drug paraphernalia and electronic devices related to the ongoing investigation," said Boise Police spokesperson Haley Kramer.

The Idaho Harm Reduction Project provides services like naloxone, needle exchange and disposal, and home HIV and Hep C testing kits. It has a contract with the state to distribute Narcan kits across the state.

The Idaho Harm Reduction Project has not commented.

Permission to Reprint: This content is licensed under a modified Creative Commons Attribution license. Content of a purely educational nature in Drug War Chronicle appear courtesy of DRCNet Foundation, unless otherwise noted.

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