Cannabis 2? Hesitation Greets Measure to Legalize Psychedelic Mushrooms

July 8, 2022
New Jersey Law Journal

Types : In the News

With the paint barely dry on the first state-approved stores selling recreational cannabis in New Jersey, the architect of legislation legalizing that drug made another bold proposal: a bill to legalize psilocybin, better known as psychedelic mushrooms.

The lengthy process to establish an infrastructure to produce and regulate cannabis in New Jersey has provided abundant opportunities for New Jersey attorneys, but some observers are less than bullish about S-2934, Senate President Nicholas Scutari’s “Psilocybin Behavioral Health Access and Services Act.” 

The bill, which would allow use of psilocybin for those 21 and older, establishes a regulatory scheme similar to the one that governs the recreational marijuana industry in New Jersey. The bill is premised on the use of psilocybin to treat depression, anxiety and end-of-life psychological stress.

But the bill is unclear on what steps consumers would have to take to obtain psilocybin, said Scott Coffina, a former Burlington County prosecutor who is with Montgomery, McCracken, Walker & Rhoads in Cherry Hill.

Coffina said he’s concerned that New Jersey’s mushroom legislation appears to be modeled on the medical marijuana law, but the mechanism to qualify as a buyer and the role of the user’s doctor are unclear. Coffina said he fears that the New Jersey mushroom program could turn out like the early days after California legalized medical marijuana, when nearly anyone could qualify for a medical card required to buy the drug.

“As I understand it, this is based on the medical marijuana system, but it’s not as stringent as that. In New Jersey, we had a very tight medical marijuana system. [In the psilocybin bill] I’m not sure I see the same rigor in terms of demonstrating a need for it,” Coffina said.


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