The Past, Present, and Future of Bicycle Day

On April 19, 1943, a Swiss chemist Albert Hoffman decided to take a trip unlike any other. Bicycle Day Genesis Albert Hoffman, a chemist working in Switzerland, ingested 250 micrograms of LSD. He was so disoriented by the effects that in order to get home, he rode his bicycle and experienced one of the most […]

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Pennsylvania Poised to Become National Leader in Psychedelics Research

Pennsylvania is set to become a national, and possibly global, leader in psilocybin research, thanks to a new bill that was recently introduced in the House of Representatives. The bill passed a Health Committee vote in Harrisburg and is on its way for votes in the house and senate.  

Titled the Public Health Benefits of Psilocybin Act, the purpose of this legislation is to lay the foundation for researchers within the state of Pennsylvania to begin clinical trials on psilocybin, the predominant psychoactive compound in magic mushrooms, as well as other natural psychedelics in the future. As it currently stands, with psilocybin categorized as a Schedule 1 narcotic on the DEA’s list of controlled substances, anyone trying to do any worthwhile research on the psychedelics has been massively hindered by a seemingly endless list of cumbersome and overbearing regulations.   

Just like cannabis, psychedelics are beginning to take hold in the Western World. Not only are they being used recreationally at much higher rates, but the world is becoming familiar with their many benefits, especially in the field of mental health. For more articles like this one, make sure to subscribe to our Psychedelics Weekly Newsletteryour top source for everything related to this growing industry. 


What are psychedelics? 

Psychedelic drugs, are a subset of hallucinogens which contain compounds that can alter mood and perception. They are also referred to as entheogens, a Greek term that can be roughly translated to mean “building the God within”. The active compounds in psychedelic drugs can be found in nature, like psilocybin or mescaline, but they can also be man made, like LSD or Ketamine. 

The high experienced when taking these types of drugs is known as a ‘trip’, and can include visual, auditory, and sensory hallucinations. The intensity of a trip will vary dramatically based on the specific compound, dose consumed, and tolerance of the user. Sometimes, a person will experience no hallucinations at all, but rather a sense of general well-being, spiritual connectivity, and euphoria.    

If you’ve ever heard someone mention a ‘bad trip’, this means the person had some type of negative side effects, or maybe even frightening hallucinations. Physical symptoms of a bad trip can include but are not limited to irregular heartbeat, nausea, chills, sweating, and anxiety. Bad trips, due to their negative nature, can seem more intense than good trips but this is not always the case. 

Dosing and setting, among many other factors, can significantly impact a psychedelic trip, so you want to make sure that you’re doing everything possible to ensure that your high is uplifting and eye-opening, not scary and traumatizing.  

Surrounding yourself with familiar people that make you feel comfortable, go low and slow with dosing, and picking a location that you know you’re safe in – these are all steps you can take to foster a good trip. Many present-day, medical (not recreational) users of psychedelics consume the drugs in micro-doses to avoid the risk of bad trips and other negative side effects altogether.  

More about the bill 

The Public Health Benefits of Psilocybin Act is primarily sponsored by Tracy Pennycuick, an Army veteran and Republican member of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives serving her first term, along with 20 bipartisan cosponsors. The bill, which has does not come with any funding, would place the state’s Department of Health in charge of clinical trials and other research efforts, starting with studying how psilocybin could help treat PTSD in military veterans.  

“I have PTSD, so it interests me,” Pennycuick said. “Not every treatment works for every veteran. So, you have to be always leaning forward into treatment.” 

What’s unique about this bill compared to other psychedelic research initiatives is that this one authorizes at least two state-licensed growers to cultivate psychoactive mushrooms to use in the clinical trials. Most research, like that conducted at Johns Hopkins University, is done using a synthetic form of psilocybin.  

This distinction is important because we will have legitimate, clinical information about how the varying naturally occurring compounds work together in the human body and how different mushroom/truffle strains could be used to treat different conditions. The entourage effect of psychedelic fungi.  

Another adamant supporter of this bill is Brett Waters, a Pennsylvania-native currently practicing as an attorney in New York. “It’s very clear at this point that current treatment that we offer people is not effective,” says Waters. “It has limited efficacy for some people and no efficacy for many people. We need to do better.”  

Waters is also the founder of Reason for Hope, a nonprofit organization that advocates for psychedelic-assisted therapy. Waters, who grew up in Merion, lost both his mother and grandfather to suicide. His organization is also working with politicians in New York, North Carolina, and Florida to push for more progressive legislation regarding psychedelic research.  

Another supporter and industry expert, Mason Marks, a professor at the University of New Hampshire’s Franklin Pierce School of Law and head of the Project on Psychedelics Law and Regulation at Harvard’s Petrie-Flom Center, feels this bill should be a top priority in the minds of lawmakers.  

“For two decades we’ve seen rising rates of suicide, rising rates of drug overdose deaths, and so there is a certain amount of urgency on this issue, so I think increasing access is really important,” he stated.  

The race to legalize and study mushrooms 

If you’ve been following industry news lately, you’ve probably noticed that numerous cities/states are updating their psilocybin regulations. For the most part different regions are decriminalizing their possession. This has happened in several large cities across the US including Detroit, Seattle, Oakland, and Denver.  

However, a handful of states are approaching these new policies from the paradigm of research and medicine. On November 3rd, 2020, Oregon passed Measure 109, making it the first US state to legalize the use of psilocybin-assisted therapy, and lawmakers are currently working on developing the necessary regulatory framework.  

Early last year, Florida House Representative Michael Grieco introduced a bill that would legalize psilocybin medicinally for people with mental disorders, to be microdosed in licensed clinics. Late last summer, Texas passed House Bill 1802 calling for the state’s Health and Human Services Commission to do a human clinical trial on mental health disorders and psilocybin treatments, using a synthetic version of the compound.  

Where Pennsylvania differs, aside from the fact their programs aim to use natural psilocybin, is that this bill will be focused on university studies, clinical trials from medical research institutions, and hospital research and data.  

Even more research 

Last month, the National Institute of Health awarded nearly $4 million to Johns Hopkins researcher Matthew Johnson, who is looking into the benefits of pairing psilocybin-assisted therapy with traditional talk therapy. Given the introspective and sentient nature of psychedelics, microdosing with shrooms before a therapy session could definitely help one be more honest, open, and transparent. 

Recently, a publicly traded British firm known as Compass Pathways, released the results on their larger-scale psilocybin trial completed late last year. Researchers examined 233 patients who were given different doses of synthetic psilocybin, and they found that a one-time, 25-milligram dose was able to substantially reduce symptoms of anxiety and depression for up to three weeks.  

“The trial is encouraging being a larger sample of patients with a control group than earlier [treatment resistant depression] studies and having a significant effect for a clinical need,” said William R. Smith, a fourth-year psychiatry resident at Penn Medicine. “Treatment-resistant depression is a major challenge for contemporary psychiatry, we need more options.” 

Further research has found the psilocybin can even help regenerate brain cells. Yale researchers released this study: Psilocybin induces rapid and persistent growth of dendritic spines in frontal cortex in vivo. The research was conducted using synthetic psilocybin on mice, and it was was published in the journal Neuron in July, 2021.  

At this point, even the US Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) published a statement saying they need more cannabis and psilocybin produced for research purposed, and they want it as soon as the middle of this year. 

Final thoughts 

The Pennsylvania bill is expected to pass, but even if it does not, it shows how far public opinion on this subject has progressed. It’s a sign that curiosity about psychedelics is flourishing in the US and around the rest of the world. Despite what federal regulations might say, when you talk to people, you see that there is a general acceptance of these compounds, especially naturally occurring ones like psilocybin, mescaline, or DMT. Keep a close eye on Pennsylvania in these coming weeks, and check back here for updates on this important bill.  

Hello readers! Thanks for joining us at CBDtesters.co, the #1 internet location for the most recent and interesting cannabis and psychedelics-related news from around the globe. Visit the site everyday to stay abreast of the quickly-moving landscape of legal drugs and industrial hemp, and sign up for The Psychedelics Weekly Newsletterto ensure you always know what’s going on.

Disclaimer: Hi, I’m a researcher and writer. I’m not a doctor, lawyer, or businessperson. All information in my articles is sourced and referenced, and all opinions stated are mine. I am not giving anyone advice, and though I am more than happy to discuss topics, should someone have a further question or concern, they should seek guidance from a relevant professional.

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The Relationship between Art and Drugs: An Enduring Chemical Romance

The relationship between art and drugs is a matter of intrigue for many people. It is true that art and drugs often find enthusiastic allies in one another. And, there is a prevailing stereotype that artists of all sorts often use drugs to help them create art. This is not a baseless assumption. It’s not […]

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The 2021 Election and the Decriminalization of Psychedelics in Canada

The decriminalization of psychedelics in Canada is arguably the next logical step after the legalization of cannabis. However, drug reform was not a major highlight of the most recent Canadian elections. To be fair, it almost never is. Nevertheless, it continues to disappoint to see major political parties yet again ignore the popularity and potential […]

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Isreali Nextage Explores Effective Delivery of Psychedelic Compounds

Israel is one of the leading countries for medical cannabis research and has held this title for decades; since the 1960s to be exact. Now, they’re joining efforts to study the benefits of psychedelics in a clinical setting as well.

Of the main areas of focus is using psychoactive compounds to treat clinical depression and other psychiatric disorders. One Israeli company, Nextage Therapeutics, is looking specifically at utilizing ibogaine, along with their own patent delivery system, to better treat people with these conditions.

When it comes to treating psychological disorders and minimizing the risk of side effects, psychedelics are the way of the future. Check out our newsletter, The Delta 8 Weekly, to learn more about these incredible compounds as well as gain access to exclusive deals on flowers, vapes, edibles, and other products.


What are Psychedelics?

Psychedelic drugs are a subset of hallucinogens. They contain psychoactive compounds that are capable of altering a person’s mood, perception, and cognition; sometimes permanently. The active compounds are usually found in nature, like psilocybin or mescaline, but they can also be manmade, like LSD.

Psychedelics are known for causing ‘trips’, which is what the high is referred to. When a person is tripping, they may have altered perceptions of the world around them. Many people believe this is limited to visual and auditory hallucinations, but it can also include feeling, tasting, and smelling things that are not real, as well as a heightened sense of connection and understanding, and greater feelings of introspection.  

The trips that people most commonly associate with these types of the drugs are the ones in which a state of hallucinogenic delirium is reached, but that is not always the case. Many times, it is more of an experience than a trip, and something can be learned and achieved psychologically with every small dose.

The word itself, ‘psychedelics’, was first used in 1957 to recognize substances that were said to open the mind, however, the more accurate term for them is ‘entheogens’. This term was adopted, not necessarily for the sake of being scientific, but rather to allow the sector to operate without all the stigma attached to psychedelics from smear campaigns and restrictive policies throughout history. The term entheogen comes from Greek where it means ‘building the god within’.

Different psychedelics produce different trips. For example, with DMT you can expect a short high lasting less than 1 hour, whereas LSD, psilocybin, and mescaline trips can last up to ten hours. Some hallucinogens are more potent than others, like mushrooms vs acid. The active compounds are different in each drug so there is a lot of variation to the effects that can be felt.  

Some people experience bad trips in which negative, or even scary, hallucinations are experienced, and/or a rapid heartbeat, sweating, nausea, disorientation, and fatigue occur. There is indication that the majority of these symptoms can be controlled through proper dosing. This is why most modern-day, therapeutic users of psychedelics consume the drugs in micro-doses.

Nextage Pharmaceuticals and MindMend

According to Nextage Founder and CEO Abraham Dreazen, “there has been a shift in the last decade. The US Food and Drug Administration, for example, is starting to see quality of life as a factor in evaluating medicine, opening the door to these drugs.”

Earlier this year, Nextage signed a collaboration agreement with industry trailblazer Mindmend, to use their proprietary new technology known as Brain Targeting Liposome System (BTLS) – a delivery system Dreazen claims will “optimize the delivery of drug products based on noribogaine, and ultimately other ibogaine derivatives.”

Ibogaine is a naturally occurring psychoactive substance found in Apocynaceae plant family in Gabon, a small coastal country in central Africa. Although minimal research exists, a handful of clinical studies found that Ibogaine and its derivatives can be used to combat addiction, and it was looked at particularly for the treatment of opioid addiction, for which the results were promising.

Unfortunately, when used at high doses over a longer period, there are potential side effects. In a recent press release, reps from MindMend explained that, “orally administered ibogaine and noribogaine present unacceptable safety risks due to their torsadogenic effects at high systemic concentrations.”

Simply put, there’s a moderate risk of heart attacks when using noribogaine. However, Dreazen believes that if the drug is administered using certain methods that better permeate the blood-brain barrier, so more of the drug actually reaches the brain rather than going to other parts of the body, including the heart. He described it as “the winning lottery ticket.”

Permeating the Blood-Brain Barrier

When it comes to treating psychological and neurological disorders, or really any other disease or condition affecting the brain, the main challenge is permeating the blood-brain barrier. The purpose of the blood-brain barrier is to protect the brain from foreign substances, and as such, can prevent up to 95% of molecules from reaching the brain.

So far, the most common way to work around that is by giving prescribing these drugs at extremely high doses, and that, needless to say, can have numerous unwanted and severe side effects. Using a more effective model, The BTLS platform, licensed from the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology, has been making use of a “liposomal vehicle with a unique targeting complex” that allows for blood-brain barrier permeation at much lower doses of various pharmaceutical agents.

This is a relatively well-known concept, but according to Dreazen, Nextage took it a step further and attached a “small arrow of seven amino acid peptides – essentially a very small protein – which is part of a much larger protein that is native to the brain and has a way of actively transporting the liposomal capsule through the blood-brain barrier. Once the capsule is drawn into the brain with the arrow, it gets lodged there and starts dissolving, facilitating release of the active material – the drug.”

What the Future Holds for Nextage

Nextage has been working in the drug delivery sector for 14 years and their daughter company, IMIO, is focused solely on psychedelics. The company completed most of required preclinical worked needed to determine the potential efficacy and generality of their new patent technology. They have already worked with CBD and THC-based medications and Nextage/IMIO plans to explore the potential of lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD).

Dreazen says LSD “is a really promising drug.” Its challenge is that when taken, people can “trip” for 15 to 17 hours, making it very unfeasible as a chronic treatment. But just like with ibogaine, he believes that if the dose can be reduced and the least amount possible gets into the body as opposed to the brain, “you could potentially get the same therapeutic effect without the longevity of the trip.”

“In the US, the psychedelic movement has exploded in the last 12 months,” Dreazen added. “I think psychedelics in Israel are just emerging, and we are the first public company to really put our teeth into it. Israel has always been in the forefront of research and development and we are committed to spearheading this industry.”

Final Thoughts

As you can see, conversations surrounding the use of psychedelics to treat mental health and neurological disorders is reaching nearly every corner of the globe, and the countries that have been more accepting of cannabis are also spearheading the medical psychedelic revelation. Psychedelics are here to stay, and in the very near future, we can expect to see a lot of these compounds being safely used in clinical and therapeutic settings.

Thank you for stopping by CBD TESTERS, your hub for all things cannabis and psychedelics-related. Make sure to Subscribe to The Delta 8 Weekly Newsletter to learn more and for exclusive deals on Delta 8Delta 10 THCTHCOTHCVTHCP & HHC.

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Vancouver Study on MDMA Therapy Approved by Health Canada

Vancouver-based company Numinus received federal approval for a study on MDMA. Sponsored by the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS), the therapy study will involve twenty people with post-traumatic stress disorder. The goal is to learn more about MDMA-assisted therapy, specifically as a treatment for PTSD and eating disorders. In addition, researchers are hoping to […]

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World Psychedelics Day: Celebrating the Future of Psychedelic Medicine With Delic

Matt Stang has seen the future. When the former High Times owner was staring down the barrel of a possible life sentence for cannabis trafficking in 2010, he knew we’d already passed the event horizon — His sentence was somewhere in the epilogue of the war on drugs. Now, Stang is the CEO of Delic, […]

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World Bicycle Day: Albert Hofmann’s bicycle day and the discovery of LSD-25

June 3 is World Bicycle Day. The bicycle is not just a sustainable mode of transportation used the world over, it’s also a symbol of human advancement — in more ways than one On an otherwise ordinary April afternoon in 1943, a chemist ingested 250 micrograms of LSD and rode his bike home. He was […]

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Psychedelic Legalization to Follow in the Footsteps of Cannabis

Just like cannabis gradually became a regular part of the mainstream conversation during the last decade, over the next few years we can expect to hear much more about psychedelics – everything from medical benefits to legalization efforts, societal views to current studies, and beyond. Given the safe and natural element to using these types of compounds, it’s no surprise that psychedelics are following the same path as cannabis: decriminalization and eventual re-legalization on the basis of scientific research and cultural acceptance.

Psychedelic research and legalization is a hot topic right now, and of all the psychedelics, THC is still the most popular one. For THC users who have a problem with the anxiety or experience paranoia, delta-8 THC might be preferable. If you think you could benefit from this altered version of THC, take a look at our awesome delta-8 THC deals, and try it out for yourself.


What are Psychedelics?

Psychedelic drugs are a subset of hallucinogens. They contain psychoactive compounds that are capable of altering a person’s mood, perception, and cognition; sometimes permanently. The active compounds are usually found in nature, like psilocybin or mescaline, but they can also be manmade, like LSD.

Psychedelics are known for causing ‘trips’, which is what the high is referred to. When a person is tripping, they may have altered perceptions of the world around them. Many people believe this is limited to visual and auditory hallucinations, but it can also include feeling, tasting, and smelling things that are not real, as well as a heightened sense of connection and understanding, and greater feelings of introspection.  

The trips that people most commonly associate with these types of the drugs are the ones in which a state of hallucinogenic delirium is reached, but that is not always the case. Many times, it is more of an experience than a trip, and something can be learned and achieved psychologically with every small dose.

The word itself, ‘psychedelics’, was first used in 1957 to recognize substances that were said to open the mind, however, the more scientific term for them is ‘entheogens’. This term was adopted, not necessarily for the sake of being scientific, but rather to allow the field to operate without the stigma attached to psychedelics from the smear campaigns of the 1960’s. The term entheogen comes from Greek where it means ‘building the god within’.

Different psychedelics produce different trips. For example, with DMT you can expect a short high lasting less than 1 hour, whereas LSD, psilocybin, and mescaline trips can last up to ten hours. Some hallucinogens are more potent than others, like mushrooms vs acid. The active compounds are different in each drug so there is a lot of variation to the effects that can be felt.  

Some people experience bad trips in which negative, or even scary, hallucinations are experienced, and/or a rapid heartbeat, sweating, nausea, disorientation, and fatigue occur. There is indication that the majority of these symptoms can be controlled through proper dosing. This is why most modern-day, therapeutic users of psychedelics consume the drugs in micro-doses.

Medical Research on Psychedelics

Just like cannabis, legalization and normalization of psychedelic drugs would be impossible if there weren’t some type of medical benefits to show on paper. Luckily, the research does exist, especially in the field of mental health. A study published just last month in the journal Nature Medicine found that MDMA-assisted therapy could be “a potential breakthrough treatment” for post-traumatic stress disorder.

Other studies have looked at psilocybin, the active ingredient in magic mushrooms, as a possible treatment option for clinical depression, and the results were incredibly promising. Additional research is underway to determine the effectiveness of numerous other psychedelics as well, including LSD and ketamine.

Most psychedelics are serotonergic, meaning the affect the serotonin receptors in our bodies. Many antidepressant drugs involve some type of serotonin signaling, although there are numerous different ways that substances can interact with these receptors. Using pharmaceuticals often leaves the patient with many unwanted side effects, whereas natural compounds are typically considered safer, when used correctly.

Psychedelics had a brief stint in modern medicine in the 1950s and several psychologists at the time were utilizing them to treat patients with depression and addiction, LSD in particular. They found it to be especially helpful in curbing alcoholism, which can be proven by this study in which it was reported that even 1 full year after treatment, subjects were still off the booze.

Known as ‘psychedelic therapy’ in the U.S. and ‘psycholytic therapy in the U.K., it was really catching on. However, when these compounds were added to the Schedule 1 narcotics list in both countries, the ability to research psychedelics, let alone utilize them in treatment plans, came to a screeching halt.

In recent years, we’ve seen a massive shift in the way the public, as well as healthcare and government agencies, view this class of drugs. The FDA itself has deemed both psilocybin and MDMA (magic mushrooms and ecstasy) as “leading breakthrough therapies” for depression and PTSD. This means that we can anticipate a rush in research and development for products containing these active ingredients in the very near future.

Psychedelic Legalization Efforts

The heavy regulation of psychedelics began in 1966, just as these drugs started making their way in the realm of recreational use. At the time, ‘recreational’ use of psychoactive substances was rooted in their ability to expand one’s consciousness. Psychedelic activists of today could very well be driven by similar motives, but the focus of their public campaigns is ‘safe, natural, alternative healthcare’ – a topic that many people have been showing greater interest in over the last decade.

Looking at it from a purely legal perspective, it not only makes sense, but it seems like the only logical way to tackle a subject like this one. Pushing for full legalization of highly intoxicating substances is already a pretty tall order, but if using the argument that our collective consciousness is suffering and in need of expansion, you can imagine that the movement wouldn’t gain much traction (regardless of how true sentiment that actually is).                                           

Psychedelic legalization will undoubtedly face many of the same challenges we have seen time and time again in the fight for cannabis legalization. We know medical research fueled by cultural mainstreaming makes for a remarkably effective weapon against outdated regulations. But despite how far we have come on both of those fronts in the cannabis industry, it remains federally prohibited. And when looking at our current administration, we know that Joe Biden really has a bug up his you-know-what about cannabis, so it seems incredibly unlikely that we will see any kind of turnaround with psychedelic regulations on his watch.

Nevertheless, we know it’s in the cards and by the end of this decade it will be a booming industry. Numerous, cities, states and countries have relaxed their laws surrounding possession and use of psychedelics drugs.

Cultural Views on Psychedelic Legalization

Compared to cannabis, psychedelic have the unique advantage of being carrying less social stigma. Many advocates of psychedelic drugs are healers themselves, dedicated to conserving cultural traditions regarding the healing of pain and trauma through rituals that include psychedelic use – and this will be a huge contributing factor to eventual legalization.

From their initial emergence into the mainstream discussion, psychedelics have been positioned as a therapeutic drug, rather than recreational; as compounds that you use in micro doses to get only the psychological benefits without any of the psychoactive side effects; and as compounds that will soon be utilized in some of the most cutting-edge therapy sessions, by the most progressive practitioners.

Stigma still exists, as is the case with any intoxicating compound, but much of this stems from completely irrelevant fear; and luckily it’s nowhere as commonplace as it has been in years prior. Most people, even those who generally lean conservative, are adopting more liberal views when it comes to the use of certain substances, especially those that are found in nature. Plant-based healing is a much more popular concept now that in has been in our nation’s recent past.  

Looking West

In a big move for the psychedelic industry, a bill was recently passed by a second California Senate committee which would legalize the possession of numerous different forms of psychoactive drugs in the Golden State. The legislation, which was sponsored by Senator Scott Wiener (D), advanced through the Public Safety Committee earlier this month, followed by a pass from the Health Committee one week later. If this bill fully passes, an extensive list of psychedelics including psilocybin mushrooms, DMT, ibogaine, LSD, and MDMA would be legalized for adults aged 21 and older.

Additionally, the bill would call for the expungement of prior convictions for possession of psychedelic drugs, the same way the state is trying to expunge cannabis convictions; as well as redefining what paraphernalia will be lawful to possess and use with these newly legalized substances.

If this all sounds vaguely familiar it’s because California was also the first state to legalize medical cannabis use back in 1996, long before it was a frequent topic in any political discourse. The golden state is also the birthplace of most cultural cannabis trends over the last few decades. California has been at the forefront of cannabis legalization efforts since the early 1970s and is one of the first states to begin expunging prior cannabis-related convictions after Prop 64 passed in 2016.

“The war on drugs has been an abject failure because it is based on the false belief, the false notion, that criminalizing people, arresting them, incarcerating them for possessing, for using drugs, will somehow deter use and improve public safety,” commented democratic Senator Scott Wiener. “It has done neither.”

Oregon, Washington and Colorado are also very liberal states that have been working to change the national narrative on drug use, particularly cannabis and other psychedelics. Oregon became the first state in the United States to decriminalize the possession of all drugs. Possessing heroin, cocaine, methamphetamine and other intoxicating substances for personal use is no longer a criminal offense in Oregon. Those drugs are still against the law, as is selling them. But possession is now a civil – not criminal – violation that may result in a fine or court-ordered therapy, not jail.

Final Thoughts

The path to drug legalization can be bumpy, and taking psychedelics from illegal to medical-use-only to legal for adult-use will take some time. But based on current patterns, we can expect this will happen relatively soon. Just like cannabinoids, psychedelic compounds are the medicine of the future and when legalization does occur, there will be an industry boom like we’ve never seen before.

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Texas Ready to Pass Marijuana Decriminalization Bill

One by one, US states have been adopting marijuana legalization programs, with the latest two: New York and New Mexico, happening within 24 hours of each other, and bringing the total number of states with legalization policies to 17. The south has been a bit slower to adopt, with states like Maryland, Virginia, and now Texas, leading the way. Within the last month, the Texas senate approved several bills for marijuana decriminalization, as well as to expand the medical cannabis industry, lower the penalty on THC concentrates, and to force the study of psychedelics.

The recent Texas marijuana decriminalization bill shows just how accepted cannabis has become. Every state seems to be updating its policies these days, creating room for more and more products, in a bigger and bigger market. And this is excellent for you! New products are on the rise, like delta-8 THC. This alternate form of THC provides users with a clear-headed, slightly less psychoactive high, and none of the anxiety created by delta-9. Sound interesting? If it does, we’ve got a host of Delta-8 THC products to try out. So go ahead and pick your products, and we’ll get them to you ASAP.

The US and cannabis

On the nights of March 31st 2021 and April 1st, 2021, New York and New Mexico respectively, passed legislation to open the two states for recreational cannabis markets. These two added on to become the 16th and 17th states to adopt legalization policies, with 20 locations total in the US, including Washington, DC, and the territories Guam and the Mariana Islands. All locations together include: Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Guam, Illinois, Maine, Mariana Islands, Massachusetts, Michigan, Montana, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Nevada, Oregon, South Dakota, Vermont, Washington, and Washington DC.

As you’ll notice, though New Mexico, Arizona, and California are in the south, or have southern parts that touch the Mexican border, no state on the list is associated with ‘the South’, and certainly not of ‘the deep South’. However, two over from Arizona to the right, is Texas. And Texas is considered ‘the South’, along with Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, and West Virginia.

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Of the states listed as ‘southern’, there are no current legalizations for recreational cannabis, however, the following states do have some form of medical cannabis legalization: Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Maryland, Mississippi, Texas, Virginia, and West Virginia. Not bad for an area that was completely against such changes when the first medical legalizations happened a few decades ago.

The other measure to consider, are those with decriminalization policies. Here we have the following southern states: Maryland, Mississippi, North Carolina, Tennessee (partially), and Virginia. Of these southern decriminalized states, Maryland, Mississippi, and Virginia each have both a full medical legalization, and a decriminalization measure in place.

Texas and cannabis laws

Texas might be considering marijuana decriminalization now, but it took some time to get there. Texas has had an interesting and varying relationship with cannabis. After banning it in 1931, Texas actually was known for having the strictest laws on file for marijuana users. Up until 1973, possession of even the smallest amounts was considered a felony, with such offenses garnering two years to life in prison. In 1973, this changed with the passage of House Bill 447 which reduced punishments (without decriminalizing). The new law set the policy that having up to two ounces was lowered to a class B misdemeanor, with a punishment of $1,000 in fines, and up to 180 days in prison, and with suspended driving privileges. That fine has been increased to $2,000 according to current listings.

The current law states: 2-4 ounces is also a misdemeanor, but punishable by up to one year in prison, and $4,000 in fines. 4+ ounces constitutes a felony charge. Four ounces comes with a mandatory minimum sentence of 180 days in prison, and can go as high as 99 years for those caught with more than 2,000 pounds. The largest mandatory minimum sentence is for 2,000 pounds, which is punishable by at least five years.

In terms of being caught selling cannabis, its a misdemeanor with seven grams or less, punishable by 6-12 months in prison, and fines of $2,000 – $4,000. From 7 grams – 5 pounds is a felony charge, punishable by 6 months – 2 years in prison, with the six months acting as a mandatory minimum sentence. This amount can incur a fine of up to $10,000. For 50+ pounds, the charge remains a felony, prison time goes from 2-99 years, with two years as a mandatory minimum sentence for five pounds, and 10 years as a mandatory minimum sentence for over 2,000 pounds. Fines go from $10,000 – $100,000. Selling to a minor will earn a person 2- 10 years in prison with the two being a mandatory minimum requirement. Such a sale would also constitute a fine of up to $10,000.

Relatively recent updates

In 2007, House Bill 2391 was signed by then governor Rick Perry, which gave law enforcement the ability to ‘cite and release’ for misdemeanor crimes. A policy that was meant to limit arrests, by giving officers the ability to issue a citation without making an arrest. This was actually followed up in 2015 with an attempted recreational legalization measure through House Bill 2165. The bill passed the House Criminal Jurisprudence Committee, but did not have time in the legislative session to make it further.

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In 2015, cannabis for medical purposes was legalized, but on a very limited basis though Senate Bill 339 – Texas Compassionate Use Act. This was expanded on in 2019 through House Bill 3703 which increased the number of conditions that qualified for medical cannabis. Also in 2019, the house approved House Bill 63 which would have greatly reduced penalties, but upon passage, Dan Patrick – the Lieutenant Governor, blocked it from a senate vote.

2019 was a big year for Texas and cannabis legislation. That year also saw the passage of House Bill 1325 which legalized the cultivation of industrial hemp, and the manufacture of hemp-based products like CBD, without a doctor’s approval. This officially changed the definition of ‘cannabis’ in the state, effectively causing many jail sentences to be dismissed and criminal records to be expunged. Everything that was just mentioned is federal, with local states and municipalities creating their own decriminalization measures as seen fit.

What is going on now?

Quite a bit actually. 2021 is certainly looking to be an interesting year for Texas and drugs in general. Here are the four bills currently working their ways through the system.

Texas marijuana laws
Texas marijuana laws

Texas Marijuana Decriminalization Updates:

Update #1

What is clear from looking at the legislation – both that passed and did not, is that there is definitely a push in Texas for marijuana decriminalization/legalization. This was expanded on yet again with a few different legal advances. The first is the recent passage in the House, of House Bill 441, which decreases criminal punishments for small amounts of cannabis possession. In fact, the bill would supposedly make up to one ounce a class C misdemeanor with no jail time attached, or loss of driving privileges, effectively decriminalizing that amount. Officers in this case would only be able to issue a citation.

If Texas passes this marijuana decriminalization bill, it would also purportedly end the threat of arrest for small possession cases. Fines are still attached, but the bill would set the amount at no more than $500. The offender would have to pay the fine and plead no contest or guilty to the charge (so there is one), in order for the case to be deferred for a year.

Upon completion of a year without incident, no criminal record would be attached. If you’ll notice, this isn’t really a decriminalization at all, since offenders would have to plead guilty to a crime in court, in order to not go to jail. And the idea of it being ‘decriminalized’ only comes into play if the offender follows a specific procedure, indicating that if they do not, they might still face criminal charges. In that way, it might not eliminate the threat of jail time, instead, simply giving a possible way around it. This point has not been well addressed, as its stated both that the bill would abolish prison for such crimes, and that a procedure must be followed in order to bypass a criminal charge.

Update #2

Texas is also looking to further update its medical marijuana policies. House Bill 1535 would do this to include all cancer patients and PTSD patients. It did leave out chronic pain sufferers (a strange omission considering the growing opioid epidemic). There had been a provision to the bill which allowed the Department of State Health Services to expand qualifying conditions as needed, but this was eliminated. So was a larger 5% THC cap, which was reduced to 1%. The senate vote was scheduled for May 25th, however this is not a given.

Texas marijuana decriminalization

Update #3

Another big move in Texas right now, is with House Bill 2593. This bill would lower the penalties for being caught with THC concentrates and THC infused products, which are currently felonies. This bill would make it so that under two ounces of concentrate or infused products would only be a Class B misdemeanor, making it the same penalty as cannabis flowers. While the house passed the bill, the senate added another provision to create a definition of ‘total THC’, with all isomers included under it, like delta-8 THC.

Of course, this makes sense given that every delta THC will have the same chemical structure. If/when this bill passes, it would criminalize delta-8 THC in all the same ways as delta-9. This too makes sense, since we already know that delta-8 is federally illegal. Since the senate made edits to the bill, the house has the option of either simply accepting these new additions, or to set up a committee to iron out differences, after which it would go to the governor. It is currently unclear which way it will go.

Update #4

In a confirmation of the importance of the growing medical psychedelics field, the Texas House of Representatives recently passed House Bill 1802, which would actually require the state to further study psychedelics to treat veterans. The bill specifically cites MDMA, ketamine (a close relative of eskatamine which is currently available as Spravato), and psilocybin from magic mushrooms. Research would be conducted as a partnership between the state of Texas and Baylor College of Medicine.

This bill, like the others mentioned, still requires passage in the senate or house, and then to be signed into law by the governor.

Conclusion

A full recreational legalization would have been nice, but that doesn’t always happen as desired. In place of that, it looks like Texas will be passing a marijuana decriminalization bill, as well as lightening the punishments for concentrates, expanding the medical industry, and starting the study of psychedelics. Texas is certainly doing some moving and shaking to update its very outdated laws on cannabis…and psychedelics.

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Resources

Start Spreading the News: Recreational Cannabis is Legal in New York… and New Mexico
America Is Cannabis Friendly – It’s Official Cannabis and the South: How Things Change The Delta 8 Weekly Newsletter (All you need to know about Delta 8 thc), the Best Delta 8 THC Deals and the Best Delta-10 THC deals
The US Government Secretly Illegalized Delta-8 THC Pharmaceutical Psychedelics – What’s Already Legal and Available
U.S. Cannabis Price – Which Is The Most Expensive State?

DisclaimerHi, I’m a researcher and writer. I’m not a doctor, lawyer, or businessperson. All information in my articles is sourced and referenced, and all opinions stated are mine. I am not giving anyone advise, and though I am more than happy to discuss topics, should someone have a further question or concern, they should seek guidance from a relevant professional.

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