Mental Health Options, an advocacy group based in Massachusetts, has filed paperwork to list psychedelic decriminalization as a ballot question for voters.
In early July 2023, Mental Health Options, an advocacy group residing in Massachusetts, filed paperwork to add a question regarding psychedelic decriminalization on a future ballot according to CBS News Reports (1,2). The filing mentions that its’ goal is (1), “To expand mental health treatment options in Massachusetts by providing new pathways to access natural psychedelic medicine therapy” and the ballot question would seek to create “access to natural psychedelic medicine therapy” and remove “criminal penalties for personal possession of these medicines.”
When CBS News reached out to Ben Unger (1), from the group New Approach, which is best known for their work with getting psychedelic therapy ballot questions in Colorado and Oregon, mentioned that the proposal was “still very much in the exploratory phase”.
“The coalition is still forming, and the policy is still going through a process of being vetted, discussed, and finalized. As you can imagine, lots [of] details to iron out.” Unger also told CBS News (1).
The campaign to add psychedelics decriminalization to a Massachusetts ballot has until August 2, 2023, to file an initiative petition for the 2024 election (1). The group, New Approach, is not one of the organizations listed on the paperwork which was submitted early July 2023. On the petition, the point of contact listed is MLM Strategies.
Unger told Boston’s public radio station WBUR (3), “We’re in a mental health crisis, and research has shown that psychedelic medicines can be effective in providing relief.” Unger also mentioned how New Approach has focused on “regulated, licensed, supervised psychedelic therapy” in other states.
Currently the only two states to have legalized some form of psychedelics for therapeutic use and decriminalized possession of small amounts are Colorado and Oregon, including Washington D.C. All three of these locations, the legislation was approved by voters in ballot initiatives.
"Massachusetts has the opportunity to lead the way in the mental health revolution," Southwick Republican Rep. Nicholas Boldyga told his colleagues in a June 2023 Judiciary Committee meeting (2,4). "It's been said an idea whose time has arrived cannot be stopped ... I believe that time is now for these life-saving plant medicines as a new paradigm in how we view, and understand, and treat mental health is upon us."