Psyched: 9 US Reform Bills, Ayahuasca 'A Release' For Prince Harry, At-Home Therapy & More

Psychedelics Bills Around The Country: 9 New Proposals, Several Passes, Several Fails And A Successful Local Decriminalization

Throughout the 2023 session, numerous discussions have been held and various measures have been considered around the legalization of psychedelics.

Let’s go over the latest proposed regulations.

  • Maryland: Newly filed HB0927 would decriminalize the possession of specified levels of certain controlled substances including cocaine, heroin, MDMA, LSD and methadone, proposing to take it from a misdemeanor to a civil fine of $100 and, in cases of people under 21, referral to a state-approved drug education program, first reported Marijuana Moment.

  • New Mexico: A newly introduced bill would establish a psilocybin advisory group to study and make recommendations towards the establishment of a psilocybin therapy program for the treatment of certain mental health conditions, with interim reports due to legislative committees by the end of 2023 and 2024, and a final report by Dec. 1, 2025.

  • Vermont: H371 would decriminalize psilocybin possession, dispensing and sales plus establish a psychedelic therapy advisory working group to study the therapeutic potential of several substances which would report to the legislature by the end of 2024.

  • Minnesota: The new HF1884, together with Senate companion bill SF1954, aims to establish a task force to study and advise on the potential legalization of psychedelics as medicine, the list including psilocybin, MDMA, LSD, mescaline, DMT, ibogaine and ketamine. The advisory council would have to submit two reports to the legislative committees, one by Feb. 1, 2024, and the other by Jan. 1, 2025.

Learn about Connecticut, Illinois, Missouri, New York, Washington, Utah, Virginia and Hawaii’s bills’ proposals and current status HERE

Meanwhile, at a local level, a Michigan city has passed a decriminalization measure. 

The Ferndale City Council has unanimously approved a resolution decriminalizing psychedelic plants and fungi, joining three other Michigan cities Detroit, Ann Arbor and Hazel Park’s similar reform policies.

Sponsored by the city’s Mayor Kat Bruner James, the measure states that investigations and arrests on possessing, growing, buying, transporting, distributing and generally being engaged in practices with entheogenic plants and fungi will now be a low law enforcement priority.

Learn more on Ferndale’s passed reform HERE.

Prince Harry Says Cannabis Helped Him Cope With Mental Health Struggles & Ayahuasca Was A 'Release'

“Marijuana is different, that actually really did help me,” Prince Harry told physician and author Dr. Gabor Maté on Saturday in a widely viewed live-stream interview about the importance of personal healing.

The Duke of Sussex opened up about his drug use in the Zoom ZM conversation, nearly two months after the release of his highly-anticipated memoir, Spare, which details how he dealt with the death of his mother Princess Diana. Harry was 12 when his mother died in a car crash in August 1997 in Paris.

Harry told Dr. Maté, an expert in trauma and childhood development, that by the time he was 17, he started using cannabis and other drugs.

"I was a seventeen-year-old willing to try almost anything that would alter the pre-established order. At least, that’s what I was trying to convince myself of.”

The Duke also said that psychedelics such as ayahuasca served as a release from the outside world. 

“I started doing it recreationally and then started to realize how good it was for me. I would say it is one of the fundamental parts of my life that changed me and helped me deal with the traumas and pains of the past,” he said.

More on Prince Harry’s latest confessions HERE.

At-Home Ketamine Therapy Ending Soon And New Survey Finds Overdosing All Too Common

Ketamine is the only psychedelic that can be lawfully prescribed (off-label) to treat mental health indications. It has also presented positive outcomes for a variety of conditions by individuals who were able to access ketamine-assisted therapy online via distance treatment modalities, especially during the pandemic.

The publication of the Ryan Haight Act (RHA) during the period of Public Health Emergency (PHE) left room for ketamine telehealth clinics to exponentially grow, as no first in-person consultation was required for physicians to begin prescribing ketamine to patients.

Following the Biden administration’s recent announcement of to stop many of the measures taken during the pandemic, effective as of May 11, 2023, the DEA proposed new rules for telehealth. After the 30-day consultation period, the agency will consider public comments and may reevaluate or change rules. 

In another take, a new report by healthcare company All Points North (APN) on at-home use of ketamine therapy showed that among some 2,000 US at-home users over 16, nearly 6 in 10 either accidentally or purposely used more than the recommended dose, and 55% of all Americans said the same, per the online survey.

As for self-medicating

  • 21% of all surveyed participants acknowledged having used ketamine or another psychedelic for treating mental health conditions like anxiety and depression. 

  • 2 in 5 Gen Zers reported self-medicating with psychedelics, and 1 in 3 millennials said they've used the substances for recreation or experimentation purposes.

Learn more about DEA’s proposed new rules for ketamine telehealth and at-home therapy survey results HERE.

The Milestone Round

Each week, Benzinga learns about new clinical trials, the creation of psychedelic-based compounds and novel potential treatments for those suffering from mental and physical health conditions.

Business update:

  • COMPASS Pathways CMPS, GH Research GHRS, Field Trip FTHWF and Braxia Scientific BRAXF have reported on their latest financial outcomes, with several updates and a couple of surprises, while Algernon AGNPF has opted for a 4-1 forward share split towards increasing liquidity.

  • New deals include Optimi Health OPTHF’s long-term distribution agreement with Mind Medicine Australia over proprietary MDMA and psilocybin capsules and Awakn Life Sciences AWKNF’ licensing agreement with California-based Ken Starr clinic. 

  • Awakn has also inked an exclusive MDMA supply deal with PharmAla, while HYTN Innovations aims to amend its Controlled Drugs and Substances dealer’s license to include manufacturing of several psychedelics, something other companies in the space are searching for too -see Adastra Labs XTXXFlatest clarification on the new permit after several adverse reactions.

  • Meanwhile, Lucy Scientific DOSEF has secured an international delivery of psilocybin, following DMT and 5-MeO-DMT, to Israel research partners at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem.

  • Incannex Healthcare Ltd. IXHL has engaged Catalent CTLT to develop and manufacture a cGMP-grade psilocybin drug product for use in Incannex’s assisted therapy drug development program and potential wider commercial use.

  • Cybin CYBN has nabbed positive clinical trial results on its psilocybin analog for Major Depressive Disorder (MDD) and shared updates on its DMT analog program targeting Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD.)

As for outstanding management news, major psychedelics company FSD Pharma HUGE announced that it will now have input from Shark Tank's Kevin Harrington. 

Finally, the Sea Dog Summer Showdown is a great charity event benefiting veterans NGO Warriors Choice Foundation, to take place in Jupiter, Florida the first weekend of April. Learn more HERE.

Check out the new online version of Viridian’s exclusive, years-old tool for investors and entrepreneurs in the space.

See also: Last Week's Edition Of 'Psyched'

Psychedelics ETFs Weekly Performance

This is how the sector’s major ETFs performed in the week spanning Feb. 27-March 3.

  • AdvisorShares Psychedelics PSIL opened Monday, Feb. 27 at $2.14, rising from previous market closing at $2.07 and stabilizing the now three-weeks opening price trend. Wed.1 saw a fall to $2.04, and Friday, March 3 finally closed at $2.01.
    For this ETF, the yearly price range was once set between $6.26 and $1.82, and after gradual changes in the past month when the range was set between $5 and $1.79, later redefined to highest $4.56 and lowest $1.79, and now again has been changed to be $4.35-$1.79

  • The Elemental Advisors PSYK ETF PSYK saw growth during the past week, starting at $17.15 on Monday, Feb. 27 only to rise as much as $17.76 on Friday, March 3, a recovering closing price considering Friday 24’s outstandingly low closing at $17.05 but not yet back to Friday, Feb. 17’s closing at $18.10.
    For this ETF, the yearly price range was set between $23.32 and $16.70, and now the lowest price has been adjusted to $16.28.

The second edition of our Benzinga Psychedelics Capital Conference is coming to you! 

Set at the Fontainebleau Miami Beach Hotel in Florida on April 13, 2023, the event’s THE place to get DEALS DONE, raise money, jumpstart M&A and meet investors and key partners.

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