Salomon bill providing framework for access to psilocybin passes Senate

Wednesday, March 8, 2023

Sen. Jesse Salomon D-32
OLYMPIA— Legislation sponsored by Sen. Jesse Salomon (D-32 Shoreline) will put Washington on the road to allow access to regulated psilocybin services for wellness purposes.

Senate Bill 5263, which passed on a 41-7 vote with broad bipartisan support, aims to provide advice and recommendations on developing a comprehensive regulatory framework for access to regulated psilocybin services for people over 21.

The bill, as originally filed by Salomon, would have legalized the supervised use of psilocybin and would have made it available for wellness purposes at a registered facility with appropriate supervision.

Changes made to the bill in the Senate Labor and Commerce Committee have turned this legislation into an analysis bill which looks to create a task force and a state board to research the creation of a regulated psilocybin program. Although the changes made in committee may seem like roadblocks, Salomon considers this legislation to be important progress made.

“This bill is a big step in the right direction,” said Salomon. “This topic is new to many legislators, but this bill will facilitate well-informed conversations to create a safe and regulated process for psilocybin access in a near future.”

Psilocybin has been shown in FDA-approved studies to provide users a safe and effective method to alleviate symptoms of depression, addiction, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and other mental health disorders. It has also shown to be effective at easing fear and anxiety in people with terminal illness and has also proven to increase emotional empathy, creative thinking, mindfulness, and insightfulness in patients.

Veterans have become leading advocates in the push to allow legal access to psilocybin, sharing personal stories during committee hearings about how their own experiences with psychedelics have helped them cope with trauma and helped treat their anxiety and depression. 

In a state where many residents live with mental illness and a large number have seen their mental health decline due to the COVID-19 pandemic, psychedelic usage — monitored by trained professionals — is a key to healing for some people.

This bill gained broad support across the political spectrum since the beginning of legislative session. Almost half of the Senate signed on as co-sponsors, including two Republicans, the Senate majority leader, and the chair of the Labor and Commerce Committee.

Before the vote on the Senate floor, Republican Senator Ann Rivers said,
“About a year ago, this was the craziest thing we’d ever heard and I couldn’t imagine ever voting for this but as we heard the testimony from notable scholars from Harvard, Stanford and other places in the world talking about the progress patients had been making in terms of PTSD and severe clinical depression, our arms began to unfold and we leaned in on the conversation. I am certainly supporting and I encourage others to support this legislation.”

This bill is now headed to the house for consideration.

Sen. Jesse Salomon, D-Shoreline, represents the 32nd Legislative District, which includes Lynnwood, Edmonds, Mountlake Terrace, Seattle, Shoreline, Woodway, and unincorporated Snohomish County.


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