A Texas lawmaker introduced a bill this week that would require the state to study the therapeutic potential of psilocybin, MDMA and ketamine in the treatment of certain mental health conditions.
The legislation from Rep. Alex Dominguez (D) would mandate that the Department of State Health Services conduct the study in collaboration with the Texas Medical Board and report on its findings by December 1, 2022.
Researchers should “evaluate and determine whether alternative therapies are effective in treating the mental health and other medical conditions” such as depression, anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder, bipolar disorder, chronic pain and migraines, the text of the bill, HB 1802, states.
The study should also “compare the efficacy of the alternative therapies with the efficacy of treatments currently used for mental health and other medical conditions,” it continues.
The bill comes as the debate about drug policy reform is increasingly extending beyond marijuana and is the latest example of state lawmakers taking psychedelics and other alternative therapies more seriously amid a national movement to decriminalize entheogenic substances that has played out in cities across the country in recent years.
But getting psychedelics bill passed in Texas may prove challenging given the state legislature’s resistance to marijuana legalization over the years. That said, there are some signals that lawmakers are feeling more open to the debate this session.
More than a dozen pieces of marijuana legislation were prefiled for 2021, including proposals that would legalize cannabis for adult use, legalize high-THC cannabis for medical use and decriminalize small-scale possession of marijuana.
House Speaker Dade Phelan (R) said last month that the chamber “will look at [reform measures] again and review those again, and some will get traction, some will not.”
Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick (R), who presides over the state Senate, suggested that he may be inclined to entertain debate over further medical cannabis reform, but he’s made clear that he’s opposed to broader legalization.
“We’re always listening on the health issues, but we’re not going to turn this into California,” he said, “where anybody can get a slip from the doctor and go down to some retail store and say, ‘You know, I got a headache today so I need marijuana,’ because that’s just a veil for legalizing it for recreational use.”
This piece is a part of a content sharing arrangement between The News Station and Marijuana Moment.