Hawaii: Two House Committees Overwhelming Vote to Pass Psilocybin Bill

Legislation to legalize the therapeutic use of psilocybin mushrooms was passed through two House committees yesterday.

Psilocybin mushroom.

House Bill 2630 was filed last month by State Representative Della au Belatti along with 13 cosponsors. Yesterday the measure was approved by the Judiciary & Hawaiian Affairs Committee in a unanimous 10 to 0 vote. It was then approved through the Health & Homelessness Committee 7 to 1.

The proposed law would legalize the possession and use of psilocybin by those with a qualifying medical condition who receives a recommendation from a licensed physician.

Qualifying conditions include:

  • Post-traumatic stress disorder
  • Treatment-resistant depression or major depressive disorder
  • End-of-life anxiety, existential stress, and demoralization
  • Anorexia, bulimia, and other eating disorders
  • Addiction
  • Obsessive compulsive disorder; and
  • Any other mental health condition approved by the department of health pursuant to administrative rules adopted in response to a request from a potential qualifying patient or licensed mental health professional.

“The legislature finds that, in clinical trials, psilocybin has shown promising potential for treating mental health conditions”, states the bill’s text. “Research suggests that psilocybin may be effective in reducing symptoms and improving outcomes for conditions such as depression, anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder, and addiction.  Studies have demonstrated psilocybin’s ability to induce profound and transformative experiences, leading to increased neural plasticity and psychological flexibility, reduced depressive and anxious states, and enhanced emotional processing.”

The bill states that “There is sufficient medical and anecdotal evidence to support the proposition that these conditions may respond favorably to the regulated and therapeutic use of psilocybin.”

Accordingly, “the purpose of this Act is to ensure that people who struggle with trauma and treatment-resistant mental health ailments are not penalized by the State for the use of psilocybin for therapeutic purposes when the patient’s licensed mental health professional provides a professional recommendation that the benefits of therapeutic use of psilocybin would likely outweigh the health risks for the qualifying patient.”

The measure would allow “facilitators” to administer psilocybin to qualified patients. Up to five grams could be administered per session. The measure mandates that each facilitator:

  • Be twenty-one years of age or older;
  • Have received a high school diploma or equivalent degree;
  • Complete a psychedelic integration training program having a curriculum approved by office of wellness and resilience;
  • Be a resident of the State; and
  • Support each client during the three components of psilocybin services, including a preparation session, an administration session, and an integration session without directing the qualifying patient’s experience; provided that nothing herein shall be construed as requiring the facilitator to be physically present for the administration of psilocybin to the applicable qualifying patient.

For the full text of House Bill 2630, click here.

A companion bill with identical language has also been filed in the Senate. If the two bills each pass their respective chambers, and they can agree to coalesce around any changes, the legislation will be sent to Governor Josh Green for final consideration.

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