Introduced by Rep. Alex Dominguez (D), a bill was filed in the Texas Legislature on February 10, pushing for a drug policy reform in the state via the study of potential therapeutic benefits of psychedelics in treating mental health issues.
The legislation, HB 1802, would direct the Department of State Services to carry out a collaborative study with the Texas Medical Board in evaluating “the therapeutic efficacy of alternative therapies, including the use of 3, 4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine (MDMA), psilocybin, and ketamine in the treatment of mental health and other medical conditions.”
The study will also “evaluate and determine” whether alternative psychedelic-assisted therapies are effective in treating issues like depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, and other related mental health concerns. The board is required to submit its findings by December 1, 2022.
A similar proposal to study the benefits of psilocybin was filed in Connecticut in late January, suggesting the establishment of “a task force to study the health benefits of psilocybin.” That bill is currently listed as being “In Committee” for review.
At least eight U.S. states — including California, Florida, Hawaii, Connecticut, Washington State, New York, and Iowa — have in some way acted in the ongoing drug policy reform movement since the November elections. Oregon set a groundbreaking precedent when its voters made the historic decision to legalize psychedelic-assisted therapy and decriminalize possession of all drugs in the state.
On a municipal level, leading advocacy organizations like Decriminalize Nature are working alongside local grassroots groups, vying for further changes and bringing the conversation to more and more city councils throughout the U.S.
Ritika is a Toronto-based reporter. She writes about drug policies and developments in psychedelics.