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The $5M Arizona set aside might not pay for psychedelic mushroom research

The state’s advisory council on psychedelic-mushroom research met for the first time Tuesday to start deciding how to use $5 million for multiphase clinical research.

But it’s unlikely the funds will ever pay for the research as intended.

Researchers must pay for those psilocybin clinical trials out of pocket before applying for reimbursement.

But if the money isn’t used for reimbursement by June 30, the state, which now faces an estimated $400 million budget shortfall, takes it back.

Be transparent was the most common message people gave to the state’s new advisory council on psilocybin-mushroom research.

Trauma and psychedelic therapy expert Kate Hawke said she nearly missed the council’s first meeting held by the Arizona Department of Health Services.

“Most people don’t know about it. Hopefully there will be more education and more public involvement in the future,” Hawke said.

The advisory council is not yet operating at full capacity. The meeting ended without the body having publicly chosen an Arizona doctor with a psilocybin research certificate from the DEA to serve as one of its members.

The council is not scheduled to meet again until early February.

Matthew Casey has won Edward R. Murrow awards for hard news and sports reporting since he joined KJZZ as a senior field correspondent in 2015.