Supporters of a campaign to legalize psychedelics in Massachusetts believe they have gathered enough signatures to compel legislators to consider their initiative. If this is not successful, the group plans to put the psychedelics legalization measure on next year’s ballot.
This move comes less than two months after the group, called Massachusetts for Mental Health Options, started its petition. The campaign, which is backed by New Approach, has revealed that it has verified more than 75,000 signatures from registered voters in the state. This milestone comes weeks after activists decided to pursue one of the pair of psychedelic initiatives the office of the state’s attorney general cleared in September.
The campaign chose the measure that would provide adults with an option to cultivate psychedelics at home. The measure in question, titled the Natural Psychedelic Substances Act, would also establish a regulatory framework for supervised and lawful access to psychedelics at approved facilities.
While the measure’s passage would also legalize the gifting and possession of psychedelics such as ayahuasca and psilocybin, it would not allow for commercial retail sales of the substances.
Under the resolution, individuals aged 21 years and older would be allowed to legally share psychedelics of certain amounts, including a gram of psilocybin, 18 grams of nonpeyote mescaline, a gram of DMT, a gram of psilocin and 30 grams of ibogaine.
Additionally, a psychedelic substances advisory board would be created to conduct research on and make recommendations to the Cannabis Control Commission about issues such as facilitator training, public health, regulations, traditional use of psychedelics, affordable and equitable access, and future regulations, which could include potential additions to the list of legal substances. Furthermore, psychedelics bought at approved facilities would have a 15% excise tax imposed on them.
During an interview last week, New Approach spokesperson Jared Moffat revealed that the campaign had suspended signature collection for the time being to allow for easier verification of the petitions submitted. If it’s confirmed that enough signatures have been gathered, the next step will be to submit them to the office of the secretary of state before Dec. 6, 2023. Following formal verification by state officials, the initiative will be forwarded to legislators who will decide on whether to propose a substitute, enact the reform or decline to act.
If legislators choose not to legalize psychedelic substances by May 1, 2024, activists will have until July 3, 2024, to turn in about 12,500 additional signatures that will allow the measure to be included on the November 2024 ballot.
These advocacy efforts are no doubt leveraging the scientific data coming from numerous psychedelics startups such as Mind Medicine Inc. (NASDAQ: MNMD) (NEO: MMED) (DE: MMQ) regarding the therapeutic potential of various psychedelic substances.
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