Florida’s Fight To Legalise Psilocybin Therapy

Florida’s Fight To Legalise Psilocybin Therapy

We’ve kept you abreast of the wave of pro-psychedelics legislation that rocked 2020 and still continues its unstoppable progress today. From Ann Arbor, to Oregon, to Washtenaw, and more recently Somerville, U.S. lawmakers are clearly realising that the fearsome reputation of psychedelic drugs may have something in common with the ‘boogeyman’ — all made-up to scare kids. With this realisation, is coming decriminalisation (and perhaps in the future — legalisation!) Now, thanks to a scrappy young advocate from Miami Beach, the entire state of Florida may be next! 

Meet State Rep. Michael Grieco, our biggest champion yet for legalising psilocybin-assisted therapy in Florida.

On January 28, Rep. Grieco filed House Bill 549, aka “Use of Psilocybin for Mental Health Treatment”. It’s the first major proposal for legal access to psilocybin in Florida — or on the East Coast, really. 

Co-drafted by Florida attorney Dustin Robinson, the Florida bill follows the model of Oregon’s Measure 109, which was approved by voters on Election Day. 

(You may recall that Washington, D.C. also ordered the Metro Police on Election Day to stop arresting those caught with magic mushrooms.)

Rep. Michael Grieco has filed a bill to legalise psilocybin-assisted therapy in Florida state. (Photo courtesy: Wikimedia Commons)

In an interview with Forbes, Grieco said:

“I know at least two people personally who have gone through microdosing sessions, and they claim it’s completely cured their depression.

“All this would be doing is creating a controlled environment, where folks can potentially address an issue. We should not be afraid of trying new things, especially if it’s controlled and safe.”

In Grieco’s case, he’s asking for legal access to & consumption of psilocybin in a red state (aka “mainly Republican”). In the past this would have been inconceivable — have things changed? Only time will tell!

Either way, Grieco will be fiercely opposed by anti-drug leaders from Tallahassee. It could be a heavy setback, so H.B. 549 likely won’t pass in its first reading. 

But if there’s one silver lining from the ruckus, Grieco should at least get Florida buzzing about psilocybin & its benefits.

For Veterans with PTSD

In a press release, Grieco doubled down on the bill’s intentions:

“The science regarding psilocybin is real, cannot be ignored, and soon will be a universally-accepted form of treatment in the U.S. 

“Veterans and veterans organizations should be watching closely on behalf of folks suffering from addiction, PTSD, and depression.” 

Florida has one of the highest rates of mental illness among adults in the U.S. This is why the bill limits psilocybin to those with a legit mental health diagnosis. Take PTSD in military veterans, for example. There are at least 1.5 million vets in Florida (the 3rd-most in the U.S). And for most of these folks, plain talk therapy just isn’t enough. So they’ve taken to microdosing magic mushrooms & magic truffles on the sly.

“There’s a black market for this in Florida anyway,” Grieco says.

Legalising psilocybin-assisted therapy for war vets won’t just cut down costs on hit-and-miss pharmaceuticals. The legalisation push will karate-chop any stigma as it stands. H.B. 549’s message is loud and clear: It’s OK to ask for help! We got your back, and, a whole new world of possibility!

“Let’s Not Be Afraid”

Grieco expects H.B. 549 to spark a discussion. By encouraging Florida universities to study psilocybin’s medical uses, Grieco and his team will be able to gather enough (local) evidence to flip voters to his side:

“Florida is usually the last to do most things, whether it be medical marijuana or a slew of other issues. 

“Even if it’s a Hail Mary bill, if the bill turns into a conversation, and that turns into a study at one of the universities… Someone in government needs to say, ‘You know. This is a good idea. Let’s talk about it. Let’s not be afraid.’”

Academic giants such as Johns Hopkins and Imperial College London have praised psilocybin as an effective treatment for drug-resistant conditions — like addiction and PTSD. 

Even the federal Food and Drug Administration (FDA) backs the science in support of shrooms. They granted psilocybin “breakthrough therapy” status last November, which speeds up pharma research & development by a lot.

First Push in the East Coast

Co-author Dustin Robinson told Forbes that by legalising psilocybin in Florida state, the rest of the East Coast will be pressured to follow suit

“This bill symbolizes the seed that will soon blossom into the widespread acceptance of psychedelics, which will ultimately lead to the healing and compassion that our society desperately needs.”

Robinson is eager to help set up clinics for psilocybin treatment. But he also wants the health department to track natural psychedelics (such as ibogaine, DMT, mescaline, peyote, or psilocybin) from “seed to sale”

As for when voters could vote to legalise magic mushrooms? It’s likely gonna take a few years or so…

It’s worth recalling that cannabis faced similar resistance from conservatives before becoming semi-legal in Florida. Thankfully, as of 2021, magic mushrooms and truffles don’t seem to be stirring up as big a controversy.

On the flip side, the average U.S. citizen also doesn’t know much about psilocybin. Shrooms are rarely portrayed in Hollywood flicks, whereas the doobie toting ‘Stoner Movie’ is a genre in itself.

Because of this, Grieco is counting on psilocybin’s rising popularity to keep the conversation alive. Only then will H.B. 549 even get a shot at approval:

“This is really something that’s going to have to come strictly from research and the medical community, from veterans and suicide-prevention groups.

“But in five years, this is going to look like a no-brainer.”

Bipartisan Benefits

Grieco’s bill is also the first to push the legalisation of magic mushrooms in a Republican state. If he wins, then that proves psilocybin (and other natural psychedelics) are a uniting force indeed.  

“I recognize that I have authored a very ambitious 59-page bill, but the conversation needs to start somewhere,” Grieco said. 

“I am ready to work with both my Republican and Democrat colleagues to create a framework designed to help those patients who need it.”
As we always suspected — magic mushrooms and magic truffles are for everyone. You’d have to be tripping to claim otherwise…

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