Coalition pushing for ballot question to legalize psychedelics for therapy in Mass.

Advocates are pushing to include a question on the 2024 ballot that would legalize the use of plant-based psychedelic substances for therapeutic use in Massachusetts.

The group, called Massachusetts for Mental Health Options, officially filed with the attorney general's office Wednesday morning.

The proposed law would create a commission to regulate the use of plant-based psychedelic substances like psilocybin mushrooms. People 21 and older would be able to legally consume psychedelics at a licensed therapy center.

The measure would also decriminalize the possession of psychedelics like psilocybin, ibogaine and mescaline. Such substances remain illegal federally.

"We’re facing a severe mental health crisis in Massachusetts and across the country," Winthrop police lieutenant Sarko Gergerian, one of the petition signers, said in a statement. "Natural psychedelic medicines have the potential to heal us in ways that no other therapy can."

The language is modeled on ballot questions that recently passed in Colorado and Oregon. The campaign is supported by the New Approach PAC, a federal group funded by major donors like David Bronner, of Dr. Bronner's Magic Soaps.

Massachusetts for Mental Health Options filed two slightly different versions of the ballot question with the attorney general's office. Coalition spokesperson Jared Moffat said they would likely only move forward with gathering signatures for one.

Several Massachusetts communities — including Cambridge, Somerville, Salem and Northampton — have passed ordinances decriminalizing possession of psychedelics.

The local advocacy group that pushed for those measures, Bay Staters for Natural Medicine, on Wednesday endorsed the version of the ballot question that allows for the home cultivation of psychedelic plants.

The coalition needs to gather about 75,000 certified signatures by December to make next year's ballot.

Correction: this article was updated to clarify that the group Bay Staters for Natural Medicine has only endorsed one version of the ballot question.


Walter Wuthmann General Assignment Reporter
Walter Wuthmann is a general assignment reporter for WBUR.



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