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Psilocybin treatment could be offered in state-licensed centers in Arizona under new bill

State lawmakers took the first steps Tuesday to legalize the use psychedelic mushrooms in Arizona.

The unanimous vote by Senate Committee on Health and Human Services comes 14 years after Arizona voters approved the use of marijuana for medical purposes, and four years after that drug was legalized for recreational purposes.

Sen. T.J. Shope said his SB 1570 legislation is a way of providing treatment in a clinical setting for those who are struggling with things like post-traumatic stress disorder and other mental health issues.

"If you recall, when medical marijuana was passed ... you could go ahead and present at a facility, at a shop, and go off site someplace,'' Shope said. "So this is going to be very tightly controlled, and in a controlled setting.''

"It's not total legalization,'' said Joshua Mozell, an attorney and president of the Psychedelic Association of Arizona which drafted the measure. "It's not decriminalization. We're not allowing micro-dosing all over town. Kids are not going to have access.''

The measure would allow patients to get psilocybin only at a state-licensed assisted therapy center which would have to be operated by a licensed medical provider. And that, said Mozell, would be a medical doctor, a nurse practitioner, a physician's assistant and a naturopath.

The vote followed testimony by several individuals who spoke of their own experience with psilocybin and how it helped them.

One was Bob Parsons, the founder of GoDaddys and PXG golf clubs. He told lawmakers about his time in Vietnam.

While psilocybin is still a controlled substance under federal law, Dr. Sue Sisley said she has a federal license to grow organic mushrooms in Arizona for clinical trials. She said what licensed providers need can come from her.

This isn't the state's first foray down that path. Lawmakers last year approved $5 million for clinical research on psychedelic mushrooms. But those dollars have not yet been spent. And now Gov. Katie Hobbs is proposing to take back those dollars from the Department of Health Services.

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