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Illinois lawmakers propose legalizing magic mushrooms for therapies

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(The Center Square) – Medical cannabis has been legal for years in Illinois, and now there is a push to legalize psychedelic mushrooms for medical purposes.

State Sen. Rachel Ventura, D-Joliet, has introduced Senate Bill 3695, which would legalize psilocybin, sometimes call “magic mushrooms,” for medical therapies and treatment for people suffering from a variety of disorders, including PTSD, depression and anxiety.

The Compassionate Use and Research of Entheogens Act, or CURE Act, would keep psychedelic mushrooms illegal for recreational purposes.

“Fifteen percent of people with serious depression end up committing suicide and it’s increasing in most demographics in Illinois,” Ventura said. “Emerging research indicates that psychedelic medicine has the potential to break through in treating these and other conditions.”

In 2018, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration granted the drug “breakthrough therapy” status for research.

David Franco with the Law Enforcement Action Partnership said he is aware of opposition from law enforcement groups.

“What I gathered from that discussion was that it is illegal and we are going to enforce it,” Franco said.

The measure includes a stipulation on how to pay for the drug.

“The bill currently has that Medicaid would have to cover this,” said Ventura. “Some of the beginning estimates are looking at $10 a gram and a typical dose to be 2 to 4 grams, so we’re looking at $20 to $40 for that.”

Oregon voters passed a 2020 ballot measure making it the first state to both decriminalize mushrooms and legalize its supervised use.

Catrina Petersen contributed to this report.