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PA Public Health Benefits of Psilocybin Act

By: Gina Vensel

Tuesday, October 5th

PMP is a proud member of the Plant Medicine Coalition, a national organization advocating for natural and synthetic psychedelic and plant medicines. Through this connection we were introduced to Brett Waters, the Founder of Reason for Hope, a nonprofit organization advocating for a fundamental change in our approach to mental health care through use of psychedelic-assisted therapy. 

Brett has been personal impacted by the mental health crisis, and having been originally from PA, he authored this bill to support the state's efforts to get psilocybin research underway. The bill was officially introduced on 10/6/21 with 10 Republican and 10 Democrat co-sponsors. We believe that plant medicine is a bipartisan issue! As a resident of Pennsylvania myself, I plan to work hard to help support this and any bill supporting plant medicine in my home state. Please review the press release below, visit this LINK to learn about the bill, and contact PMP with any questions. 

CONTACT: Gina Vensel
[email protected]
(412) 897-2988

PA Public Health Benefits of Psilocybin Act is Introduced with Bipartisan Support

October 7th, 2021 (Harrisburg, PA) - The Public Health Benefits of Psilocybin Act (House Bill 1959) was introduced in Pennsylvania yesterday by Rep. Tracy Pennycuick (R-PA), a U.S. Army Veteran leading the effort to study the public health benefits of psilocybin, along with lead co-sponsor Jennifer O’Mara (D-PA).  The bill has 20 sponsors at the time of introduction: 10 Republicans and 10 Democrats.

Sponsors include: Pennycuick (Prime Sponsor, R-PA), Hennessey (R-PA), Lewis DelRosso (R-PA), Polinchok, Dowling (R-PA), Hamm (R-PA), O'Neal (R-PA), Boback (R-PA), Bernstine E. Nelson (R-PA), O'Mara (Co-Prime Sponsor, D-PA), Isaacson (D-PA), T. Davis (D-PA), Schlossberg (D-PA), Guenst (D-PA), Sanchez (D-PA), Sappey (D-PA), Sims (D-PA), Shusterman (D-PA), N. Nelson (D-PA).

The Pennsylvania Public Health Benefits of Psilocybin Act authorizes cultivation of natural psilocybin mushrooms for use in clinical studies of the efficacy and cost/benefit optimization of psilocybin-assisted therapy in the treatment of PTSD, traumatic brain injury, and various mental health conditions, with prioritization of funding and treatment for Veterans, first responders, and their families. The Act establishes a special IRB to approve and oversee studies, which encourage use of group therapy and outdoor space.

This bill comes shortly after Texas passed a law funding clinical trials of psilocybin to treat PTSD in Veterans. The Texas bill (HB 1802) passed near unanimously, with 159 votes in favor and only 14 opposed.
Brett Waters, a native of Lower Merion, PA and founder of Reason for Hope - Hope for Reason (“Reason for Hope”), a non-profit leading the initiative in Pennsylvania, lost both his grandfather (a Veteran) and his mom to suicide. Waters says “research shows psilocybin-assisted therapy is safer and more effective than the cocktail of drugs too often currently prescribed, and it may be our nation’s best hope to treat depression, PTSD,  and other mental health conditions contributing to the current epidemic of suicide and deaths of despair.  Our hope is to see this bill pass quickly so that we can give this research the urgency needed to determine best practices to help our community heal.”

ABOUT REASON FOR HOPE: Reason for Hope is a non-profit social welfare organization focused on the need for fundamental change in our approach to mental health care through use of psychedelic-assisted therapy to combat the suicide, deaths of despair, and general mental health crises. We help formulate policy and advocate for the significant legal reform required to facilitate widespread adoption of psychedelic-assisted therapy, affordable to all, regardless of health insurance or financial status. Learn more by visiting