Vermont’s Psychedelic Policy Reform: A Deliberate Approach to Psilocybin Legislation

In a recent turn of events, the Vermont legislative panel has taken a cautious step forward in the realm of psychedelic reform, specifically focusing on the potential legalization of psilocybin, a naturally occurring psychedelic compound found in certain species of mushrooms. During a session held last Thursday, the Senate Health and Welfare Committee did not take any formal action on S. 114, a bill that proposes to legalize psilocybin for therapeutic use and establish a work group to explore further regulation of psychedelics. This hesitation underscores a broader discussion on the therapeutic value of psilocybin, amidst concerns about decriminalization possibly hindering its medicinal use.

Senator Ginny Lyons, chair of the committee, articulated a preference for focusing on the therapeutic benefits of psilocybin, indicating a nuanced approach to its legalization. The discussion also hinted at possible modifications to the bill, including the revision of the work group’s composition to possibly include a representative from the University of Vermont Medical School, reflecting the committee’s intent to gather diverse perspectives on the subject.

The proposed legislation initially aimed to remove psilocybin from Vermont’s list of prohibited substances, thereby legalizing the psychedelic fungi. Additionally, it sought to establish a Psychedelic Therapy Advisory Working Group to investigate the use of psychedelics in improving mental and physical health, drawing inspiration from similar programs in Oregon and Colorado. However, the committee’s current stance suggests a shift towards a more studied, deliberate exploration of psilocybin’s potential, rather than immediate legalization.

The committee’s deliberations were enriched by testimonies from experts in the field, including Charles MacLean, the associate dean of primary care at the University of Vermont. MacLean presented findings from a survey of Vermont’s primary care physicians, revealing a general consensus on the medical promise of psychedelics, albeit with concerns about youth access and driving safety. A significant majority of surveyed doctors expressed interest in learning more about psychedelics and supported prioritizing research on their risks and benefits.

Amid these discussions, personal testimonies highlighted the profound impact psilocybin can have on individuals. Katherine MacLean, a former Johns Hopkins School of Medicine researcher, shared her personal journey with psilocybin, emphasizing the need to alleviate the fear and stigma associated with its use for therapeutic purposes. Her insights into the potential harms caused by criminalizing psilocybin underscored the complex dynamics between legal frameworks and mental health treatment.

The Vermont Senate’s cautious approach reflects a broader trend in the United States, where states are grappling with how to integrate psychedelics into healthcare systems responsibly. This legislative process in Vermont, detailed by Marijuana Moment, is part of a national conversation on the potential benefits and challenges of psychedelics reform. Other states, including Arizona, Missouri, and California, are exploring similar initiatives, ranging from legalizing psilocybin service centers to funding clinical research trials. These efforts highlight a growing recognition of psychedelics’ therapeutic potential, balanced with a commitment to ensuring public safety and well-being.

As Vermont lawmakers continue to navigate the complexities of psilocybin legalization, their deliberations underscore the importance of informed, careful policymaking in the realm of psychedelic therapy. The state’s exploration of psilocybin’s potential benefits, informed by expert testimony and public concern, serves as a valuable model for other jurisdictions considering similar reforms. This careful approach, prioritizing therapeutic value and safety, may pave the way for a more comprehensive understanding and integration of psychedelics into mainstream healthcare, offering new hope for individuals struggling with various mental health conditions.


  • For a detailed overview of the legislative panel’s consideration, visit Marijuana Moment.
  • Learn more about the proposed legislation and the composition of the Psychedelic Therapy Advisory Working Group at the Vermont Legislature official website.
  • For insights into the national conversation on psychedelics reform, including efforts in other states, explore additional reporting by Marijuana Moment.