Psychedelic Research Bills in US Legislation 2023

With multiple bills aimed at legalizing and funding psychedelic research are making their way through the US legislative circuit. Here are some of the current proposals in the push for legal psychedelics.


House Bill 2486

HB 2486 provides $30 million in grants over three years for research into the medical potential of psilocybin, the psychedelic compound found in “magic mushrooms.” The research will focus on studying the impact of psilocybin on 13 different conditions. Including PTSD, depression, anxiety, long COVID symptoms, and substance misuse disorder.

While the bill does not legalize psilocybin, it is hoped that the research will inform future reforms and pave the way for broader access to psychedelic-assisted therapy. The bill also establishes a “Psilocybin Research Advisory Council” to oversee grant applications and make recommendations on psychedelic-assisted therapy, based on current federal and state research policy.


Senate Bill 1454

SB 1454 proposes the establishment of a state working group to investigate the medical and therapeutic benefits of psilocybin. The bill has passed unanimously on the consent calendar.

Senate Bill 1531

SB 1531 establishes a state advisory council to examine state and federal regulations on certain psychedelics; psilocybin and MDMA. The council would also review scientific literature related to using these substances for mental health treatment. The bill has been unanimously approved on consent by members.



House Bill 2107

HB 2107 permits a research pilot program to explore the potential benefits of psilocybin for treating post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) in veterans. The bill enables universities, institutions of higher education, and research facilities in Oklahoma to conduct research on psilocybin for treating specific ailments.


House Bill 4288

HB 4288 proposes amending existing psychedelics law to expand the state’s study of psilocybin, MDMA, and ketamine therapy for military veterans. The bill would establish new research partnerships and expand the targeted population for the study.

House Bill 4423

HB 4423, seeks to establish a psilocybin research advisory council and a grants program for clinical trials investigating the use of whole mushroom psilocybin for several conditions.

House Bill 4561

HB 4561 aims to establish an “Alternative Mental Health Therapy Research” consortium for investigating psychedelic therapy for veterans, as well as a grants program to create ketamine clinics and enhance veterans’ access to them.


Senate Bill 5263

SB 5263 establishes a task force to promote psilocybin research and develop a framework for legal access to the psychedelic. The amended bill no longer includes actual provision of psilocybin therapy under supervision. The legislation will now proceed to the House for further consideration.

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SXSW’s Psychedelic Track: A Business Guide 2023

The SXSW’s Psychedelic Track is the intersection of art, science, and business. And this year promises to open minds with the world’s must innovative and influential figures in the psychedelic industry. With a global community coming together with fresh perspectives on both old and future medicines. Not to mention the most provocative and culturally rich conversations all for and about the future of equitable psychedelics. Consider coming yourself for a chance to network and connect with the top thinkers of the psychedelic industry’s mainstream consciousness.

From microdosing to macro insights, this is your guide to the business track of SXSW’s Psychedelic Track.

SXSW Psychedelic Track Itinerary

March 10th, 2023

Mentor session: Melissa Barker (The Phoenix Project)
11:30am – 12:45pm CT | Hilton Austin Downtown | Room 400-402 | RSVP
Level: Beginner

Dr. Melissa Barker is a long-time mentor, mental health professional, founder, survivor, and CEO of The Phoenix Project. A robust mental health startup based in the San Francisco Bay Area. With high aims of providing greater access to high-quality healing and care for survivors of trauma. Dr. Barker believes that technology can play a critical role in improving mental health care. Such as making it more accessible to underserved communities. By creating a space where all survivors can access the care they need, regardless of their location or financial situation, Dr. Barker hopes to empower individuals to heal and thrive in their recovery journey.

Currently, Dr. Barker is working on a new venture called Phoenix 2. The project focuses on exploring the use of psychedelics as tools for deep healing and personal transformation. Dr. Barker recognizes that these substances have the potential to facilitate and accelerate the healing process. And wants to approach their use in a mindful and responsible way.

Mentor session: Agnieszka Sekula (Enosis Therapeutics)
2:30pm – 3:45pm CT | Hilton Austin Downtown | Room 400-4002 | RVSP
Level: Beginner

Agnieszka Sekula is a researcher at Swinburne University, and co-founder of Enosis Therapeutics Pty Ltd. Her work centers on exploring how psychedelic treatment can be improved through experience design. Thereby translating those findings into practical applications by designing virtual reality scenarios. She recently led the world’s first study that combined virtual reality and psychedelic treatment.

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Panel session: The Future of Psychedelics: Culture VS Capitalism
2:30pm – 3:30pm CT | Austin Convention Center | Room 8ABC
Level: Intermediate

Delve into the complex and evolving relationship between culture and capitalism in the world of psychedelics. As the use of these substances gains more mainstream acceptance, it will be important to carefully consider the impact of commercialization on the mainstream community. Will a profit-driven approach result in a watering down of the deeper, transformative aspects of psychedelic experiences that are rooted in culture and spirituality? Or can responsible and ethical business practices help expand access to these treatments and drive innovation?


Natalie Lyla Ginsberg is the Global Impact Officer of Multidisciplinary Association For Psychedelic Studies (MAPS). Natalie works towards ensuring the ethical integration of psychedelic substances into mainstream culture. With a focus on creating an environment that is conducive to responsible use. Prior to her role at MAPS, Natalie served as a Policy Fellow at the Drug Policy Alliance. Where she played a key role in the legalization of medical cannabis in her home state of New York.

Paula Kahn is the founder of CosmoVisiones Ancestrales, in addition to migrant justice community organizer, consent & anti-oppression educator, conflict-mediator, and a performance artist. In honor of her parents, Paula started Cosmovisiones Ancestrales. An initiative aimed at promoting popular access to preventative healthcare and holistic healing for PTSD and intergenerational trauma.

Brom Rector & Samantha Tabone are the founding partner and business partner of Empath Ventures respectively. Empath Ventures is a VC fund that invests in early-stage psychedelics startups. Brom grew up in a family with a military background and witnessed the mental health challenges that service members face. As well as the toll that these challenges take on their families. This personal experience has given him a strong understanding and appreciation for the potential of psychedelics to promote healing, particularly when it comes to treating PTSD and depression.

Samantha, meanwhile, holds an impressive background in the field of neuromedicine. She worked as the Vice President of Research and Development at PurMinds, a startup focused on developing innovative therapies for neurodegenerative diseases. In addition to her work at PurMinds, Samantha has also served as an independent consultant for several leading psychedelic companies, including Beckley Psytech.

March 11th, 2023

Mentor session: Graham Pechenik (Calyx Law)
4:00pm – 5:15 CT | Hilton Austin Downtown | Room 400-402, RVSP
Level: Beginner

Graham Pechenik is a registered patent attorney and the founder of Calyx Law. A boutique firm that specializes in intellectual property related to cannabis and psychedelics. He obtained a BS from UC San Diego in Cognitive Neuroscience and Biochemistry; after his first psychedelic experiences piqued his interest in the basis for changes in consciousness. Graham also holds a JD from NYU, where he focused on bioethics and cognitive liberty. With over a decade of experience working with Fortune 500 companies in various industries. Including agriculture, chemical, pharmaceutical, biotech, and technology. Graham has extensive experience in defending and challenging patents. Which includes landmark cases at trial and on appeal. Graham is also involved in various psychedelic organizations. serving as the editor-at-large of Psychedelics Alpha, steward of the IP Committee of the Psychedelic Bar Association, and a member of Chacruna’s Council for the Protection of Sacred Plants.

March 12th, 2023

Panel session: Psychedelic & Next Economy
10:00am – 11:00am CT | Austin Convention Center | Room 9AB
Level: Advanced

In the world of psychedelics, traditional business practices are being challenged as companies focus on values, purpose, and patient-centered approaches. Meet the psychedelic companies who are experimenting with new approaches to ownership, governance, alternative financing.


Rachel Alden is a seasoned entrepreneur, leadership coach, and social change facilitator. With two decades of experience working with clients in the U.S., Europe, and East Africa. And as CEO of Synthesis Retreats, Rachel specializes in conscious business and leadership. But also has a keen interest in turning trauma into action and leadership. Her practice includes modalities that incorporate body, breath, meditation, and creative arts-based practices.

Jeeshan Chowdhury is the founder and CEO of Journey Colab, an Apollo Projects Fund portfolio company led by Sam Altman. Journey Colab is on a mission to revolutionize mental healthcare by bringing a range of plant-inspired psychedelic compounds through the FDA for therapeutic use, starting with mescaline.

Llana Sanada Gillooy is a leader in the psychedelic space, currently leading Strategic Initiatives for MAPS. She also serves as the Board Chair & Founder of North Star, Board Member of Chacruna, and Advisor to the Indigenous Reciprocity Initiative. With over 14 years of experience, Liana is committed to ending the drug war and building a just movement around psychedelics and cannabis. She previously helped build The Arcview Group, a prominent cannabis investment firm. Through collaboration with various allies, Liana is focused on co-creating a “more beautiful world that includes regeneration, indigenous rights, human rights, humane technology, collective liberation, and purpose-driven economics.”

Mara Zepeda is the co-founder and managing director of Zebras Unite. A global community of founders and investors creating a more ethical, inclusive, collaborative, and sustainable approach to building businesses. Previously, she founded Switchboard, a venture-backed software company. Which led her to co-found Zebras Unite with their manifesto, ‘Zebras Fix What Unicorns Break’. The movement has gained broad recognition, with an online community of 10K+ strong, 100+ member-owners, and over 25 chapters globally.

Mentor session: Josh Hardman (Psychedelic Alpha)
11:30am – 12:45pm CT | Hilton Austin Downtown | Room 400-402 | RSVP
Level: Beginner

Josh Hardman is the Founder and Editor of Psychedelic Alpha. An online publication delving into the business side of psychedelics. He provides weekly updates on the industry and collaborates with experts. Such as creating free resources and datasets to help navigate this emerging field.

Panel session: The Business of Psychedelics 2.0
2:30pm – 3:30pm CT | Austin Convention Center | Room 8ABC
Level: Intermediate

Discovering the right opportunities in the emerging psychedelics market is tricky. While some investors are attracted to celebrity endorsements, others are doing their homework to find hidden gems. With a plethora of investment options, including public and private markets, drug development, and services businesses. Alongside various compounds to consider such as Psilocybin and Ketamine, it can be hard to know where to start. Hear from private sector founders and industry thought leaders as they discuss the future of the psychedelics business, what to keep an eye out for, and how to avoid potential pitfalls.


Myrlam Barthes is the COO and Co-founder of Journey Clinical, a telehealth platform enabling licensed mental health professionals to offer psychedelic therapies to their clients. With over 10 years of experience in strategy and performance improvement consulting at Ernst & Young. As well as leading an Impact team at an AI startup in New York, Barthes now uses her operational expertise to advance Journey Clinical’s mission of making psychedelic therapies more accessible and affordable.

Daniel Goldberg is a founder of Palo Santo and Bridge Investments, and has been supporting entrepreneurs for 20 years. He’s passionate about the potential of psychedelic medicines. Developing a deep network of relationships across the research and business communities. Daniel’s purpose-driven and science-informed approach has led him to support promising treatments and ensure widespread access to safe and effective solutions.

Imran Khan is the executive director of the recently launched UC Berkeley Center for the Science of Psychedelics, co-founded by Michael Pollan. He collaborates with faculty members to develop the center’s strategy and manages the BCSP team. Previously, Imran was the CEO of the British Science Association. As well as leading public engagement efforts at Wellcome, the world’s third-largest philanthropic foundation.

Luke Putejovsky is the co-founder and COO of Tactogen, a pharmatech startup that aims to develop empathogens. He strongly believes that mental health is a global priority. And that psychedelics, when combined with talk therapy, can provide transformative benefits. Together with co-founder Matt Baggott, Luke established Tactogen. A public benefit corporation focused on making psychedelic medicines safer, more effective, and accessible. Unlike other psychedelic medicines that require extensive clinical monitoring. Tactogen’s lead molecules are designed to be gentler and safer; making them more flexible and versatile in various settings.

Network session: Psychedelics Meet Up
4:00pm – 5:00pm CT | JW Marriot | Brazos Room
Level: Beginner

Join the conversation on the future of psychedelics at this SXSW meetup hosted by Psychedelic Society of Texas Director Caitlin Riley and investor Mary Olivar. The event is open to all enthusiasts, from healthcare professionals to artists and policymakers. Everyone passionate about the emerging psychedelic movement, and eager to connect with like-minded individuals, are welcomed.


Mary Oliver is a natural foods industry veteran with over 30 years of experience, including developing and directing the Healthy Eating Program for Whole Foods Market. In 2014, she shifted her focus to the emerging cannabis industry as an advisor, investor, and advocate. Mary is passionate about the potential of plants for healing and wisdom, and supports value-aligned businesses. She is also on the board for the Center for Shamanic Education and Exchange, working with indigenous communities to preserve their knowledge for future generations.

Caitlin Riley is a creative strategist, producer, and director of the Psychedelic Society of Texas (PsyT). A community organization focused on education, integration, conversation, connection, and harm reduction related to psychedelics. She has produced programs such as “Psychedelics: Chemicals, Consciousness & Connection” for the World Science Festival, featuring Brian Greene, Rick Doblin, Reggie Watts, and Gül Dölen. And created content for HBO, Whole Foods Market, and Personal Plants. Caitlin is a passionate traveler and storyteller who has sought out firsthand experience with psychedelic medicine.


Colorado Legalizes “Magic Mushrooms” a.k.a. Psilocybin and Psilocin

After Oregon, Colorado is the second state to legalize the medicinal use of psilocybin and psilocin – the psychedelic compounds found in magic mushrooms. Medicinal consumption of magic mushrooms is now legal in Colorado for adults aged 21 and above. Therapeutic use of psychedelic mushrooms will be provided in state-regulated centers under the guidance of licensed facilitators. Personal consumption of magic mushrooms is also legal under the new legislation, but it’s banned in schools, public spaces, and while driving. Retail sales are also banned as of now.

Therapeutic benefits of magic mushrooms

There has been considerable research on the medicinal benefits of magic mushrooms over the past few years. Dr. Michael Bogenschutz of the NYU Langone Center carried out the largest controlled trial of magic mushroom use to reduce alcohol use disorder. The experiment revealed that the combined effect of psychotherapy and psilocybin pills helped people suffering from alcoholism reduce drinking for up to 8 months. This was the largest controlled, randomized study of its kind, and supplemented the findings of previous research.

Magic mushrooms have become more popular in recent years, for both medicinal and recreational use. While it is generally regarded as a safe psychedelic, experts still warn against the unsupervised use of psilocybin and psilocin.

A large number of voters show up to cast their opinion

More than 2.2 million people voted in the ballot measure, where 52% voted in favor of legalizing magic mushrooms. Around 93% of the total expected voters turned out to vote, and magic mushrooms won by a narrow margin.

Veronica Lightning Horse Perez, a leading supporter of magic mushroom legalization, said “I’m in awe of what we were able to accomplish”. It is indeed surprising that such a large number of voters turned out for the event, and more than 50% voted in favor of making psilocybin legal. The legislation will come into effect in 2024, and other plant-based psychedelics will be considered for legalization by 2026.

Psilocybin is still illegal in most states and at the federal level. Washington DC has decriminalized the use of magic mushrooms, and Oregon is the only other state where it’s legal. Colorado is set to be the 2nd state where psilocybin is legal and 3rd state where it’s decriminalized.

Supporters and opposers of psilocybin

Proponents of magic mushrooms argue that naturally occurring psychedelics have been used for ages with positive benefits, both from a spiritual and mental health perspective. New research shows that it also has physiological benefits. Moreover, the risks associated with magic mushrooms are negligible and very rare.

However, not everyone is happy with the new legislation. According to critics, this move shows how the United States is moving away from science towards populism even with medicinal ingredients. They also argue that this will send a wrong message to youngsters who will regard psilocybin as a completely harmless drug with no potential side effects.

As the voting figures show us, there isn’t an overwhelming consensus on the legalization of magic mushrooms. Far from it, many people are still against the legalization, and some pushback is likely over the next year before the legislation is enforced in 2024.

Protect Colorado’s Kids is the largest organization lobbying against the legislation. According to its head Luke Niforatos, this move “circumvent(s) science and the FDA”. Protect Colorado’s Kids will also reach out to the Drug Enforcement Administration, FDA, and U.S. Attorney for Colorado to intervene in the legislation.

Supporters of magic mushroom, on the other hand, regard this vote as a big victory for their cause. Natural Medicine Colorado, the leading lobby in favor of magic mushroom legalization, said the vote was “a truly historic moment”. According to Natural Medicine Colorado, residents of the state have already experienced the medicinal benefits of psilocybin, and that has motivated them to take a stand in its favor.

Is a psychedelic drug revolution on its way?

The United States of America is undoubtedly going through a drug revolution. With recreational marijuana being legalized in Maryland and Missouri, marijuana is now legal in 21 states. Even conservative states are showing growing support for psychedelics, particularly naturally occurring psychedelics that have proven medicinal benefits.

The ballot initiative now makes growing, possessing, and consuming magic mushrooms legal. However, it’s still illegal to sell magic mushrooms. State-regulated healing centers cannot sell magic mushrooms, but only provide them to clients for medicinal use under their supervision.

There are mixed opinions on the legalization of psilocybin, but mental health proponents are by and large optimistic about the legislation. According to doctors, researchers, and even the FDA, regulated and supervised use of psilocybin has the potential to cure mental health issues like depression, addictive personality disorder, anxiety, and PTSD.