PEORIA, Ill. (WMBD) — Magic mushrooms could be on their way to gaining legal medical status in Illinois.
State Rep. La Shawn Ford (D-Chicago) has introduced legislation to create a state-regulated psychedelic therapy program.
The Compassionate Use and Research of Entheogens Act (CURE) Act would legalize psilocybin, the psychedelic compound found in magic mushrooms, in licensed medical settings.
If passed, the Illinois Department of Health would regulate and license the manufacture, delivery, sale, and administration of psilocybin. It would also create an advisory board and expunge past criminal records.
Ford said many people, for whom nothing else has worked, have been helped by psilocybin.
“I’ve heard from veterans and people that suffer from anxiety and depression that actually have been able to receive therapy from those items and they have experienced life-changing therapy that traditional pharmaceutical drugs could not provide them with,” he said.
It could also help people battling severe addictions.
“The studies show this treatment as non-addictive. And it actually could help people that are suffering from drug addiction like heroin. So people understand that this is something that if you have a substance use disorder, that this is a therapy that can actually help you,” said Ford.
Ford said the reaction to the legislation so far has been positive.
“The overwhelming response is how long will we have to wait to set up the safe legal therapy settings for people to receive their therapy from a license… There has been zero to my attention, of people saying that this is something that we should not do,” he said.
Ford said all stakeholders need to be at the table for bill negotiations, including medical professionals, universities studying psilocybin, state agencies, and individuals helped by psychedelic therapy.
“And so the next step is building the tent out so that we can make sure that our state agencies and the medical community, including physical and mental, understand the benefits of this and the benefits of implementing a safe and legal use,” he said.