Here’s the introduction to the piece
After a period of intense market interest in 2021, investment in psychedelics has cooled somewhat, although results from clinical trials remain positive. Lexpert spoke with Kimberly Burns, Rose M. Carter, Karen Gardiner, and Rocky Swanson of Dentons about where the psychedelic industry is now, and where it might go next.
- While psychedelics like psilocybin (magic mushrooms) remain illegal on a federal level, some cities like Vancouver and Toronto have decriminalized possession in certain circumstances. Is this foreshadowing a path to legalization? What experiences can be gained from Canada’s legalization of cannabis?
Psychedelics are positively portrayed as promising medications to treat depression, anxiety, and post-traumatic stress disorder (“PTSD”), among other conditions. The 2020 Netflix documentary, Have a Good Trip, explored the view that potential threats of psychedelics are largely exaggerated. This year, Australia became the first country in the world to legalize the medicinal use of psychedelics. From July 1, 2023, Australian physicians are allowed to prescribe MDMA (better known by the street names, ecstasy or molly) to treat PTSD, and psilocybin, the hallucinogenic substance found in “magic mushrooms,” to cope with treatment-resistant depression.
While some Canadian cities have decided to decriminalize the possession of small amounts of illicit drugs, including psilocybin, it is important to distinguish between decriminalization and legalization. Decriminalization can be viewed as a harm reduction mechanism to assist in reducing stigma and ensuring those using illicit drugs feel that they can access support when it is needed. Even where decriminalization of possession of illicit drugs is in place, without broader changes, possession of larger amounts as well as the production and sale of these drugs is still illegal.
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