civil penalty

Virginia Lawmakers Introduce Psychedelic Decriminalization Bills

Virginia Lawmakers Introduce Psychedelic Decriminalization Bills

Virginia legislators introduced two new bills this week that will decriminalize possession of psychedelics, Marijuana Moment reported. One of the proposals was presented to Virginia’s House of Delegates, and the other was submitted to the state Senate. 

The proposal for the House would make amendments to the state’s drug legislation by making the possession of psilocybin, psilocin, peyote, or ibogaine by adults 21 and older a civil penalty with a $100 fine instead of being charged as a Class 5 felony.

Also known as House Bill 898, the bill states that any funds collected from the fines will go toward the state’s Drug Offender Assessment and Treatment Fund. The fund provides support and assistance for drug courts and substance misuse treatment facilities.

Delegate Dawn Adams introduced the first bill, which the House of Delegates will review. 

“It is increasingly a recognized treatment for refractory depression and PTSD,” Adams, who is also a nurse practitioner, said in an interview with the Virginia Mercury. “It’s changed people’s lives.” 

Senator Ghazala Hashimi introduced the second bill focusing on the decriminalization of psychedelics. 

Senate Bill 262 is similar to the bill submitted to the house by Adams, and it “provides that any person 21 years of age or older who knowingly or intentionally possesses psilocybin or psilocin shall be punished by a civil penalty of no more than $100.”

This bill will only decriminalize psilocybin and psilocin, the two naturally occurring compounds found in magic mushrooms responsible for providing hallucinogenic effects people experience. 

Although almost similar, the Senate bill only decriminalized the psychedelic substances found in magic mushrooms, whereas the Delegate bill includes other psychedelic substances.

Both bills will have to go through different obstacles before becoming official law. There is also a possibility that the incoming Republican governor, Glen Youngkin, could veto or voice his concern over the proposed bills. 

The bills will not legalize psychedelics in the state of Virginia, but Adams says it could be the first significant step toward legalization in the state. 

Virginia is not the only state juggling the idea of psychedelic legalization. In Colorado, two proposals to legalize psychedelics were filed. In Canada, health officials announced changes to the country’s Special Access Program to allow physicians to request psychedelics for people with debilitating health conditions.

For people who are dealing with medical conditions, the prospect of obtaining prescription bags filled with psychedelic medicine is exciting.  

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