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Illinois State Rep. La Shawn K. Ford Introduces Legislation to Establish a Regulated Psychedelic Therapy Program in Illinois

...when Illinois’ mental health crisis is at an all-time high, this program can provide relief in cases where pharmaceuticals and other treatments have failed, potentially helping millions of people”
— Rep. La Shawn Ford
SPRINGFIELD, IL, UNITED STATES, January 11, 2023 / -- As a new state legislative session begins in Springfield today, Illinois State Representative La Shawn K. Ford joined patients and advocates to announce his introduction of The Compassionate Use and Research of Entheogens (CURE) Act, designated as House Bill 1 (HB1) in the General Assembly, to provide for a safe, legal, carefully regulated science-based program allowing patients access to promising new entheogenic therapies.

The CURE Act creates a regulated psychedelic therapy program under the advice and guidance of an advisory committee. Under the program, adults (18+) will legally be able to seek supervised entheogenic therapy from a trained facilitator, using natural medicines produced and tested at licensed service centers. To protect affected patients and providers, HB1 also removes criminal penalties for the personal use of psilocybin. While these penalties have been rarely enforced in Illinois, formally removing them ensures that patients won’t be turned into criminals simply for seeking health, healing and wellness.

“I’ve been seeing more and more legitimate scientific evidence, including information coming from the FDA, showing that psychedelic therapy is not only safe, but also very effective, particularly for the toughest patients for whom other treatments have not worked,” said Rep. Ford. “At the same time, I am also hearing from patients and from their medical providers, that Illinoisans should have access to these exciting new treatment options.”

A growing body of biomedical research is showing that psychedelic therapy can be highly effective in the treatment of depression, anxiety, and other mental health challenges, as well as neurological conditions, including, but not limited to, cluster headaches, migraines, cancer, and phantom limbs. These medicines can also be transformative for those suffering from PTSD, anxiety related to a terminal illness, and other difficult-to-resolve mental health conditions.

“At the same time, I want to be clear that this is a health measure. My proposal does not allow retail sales of psilocybin outside of a regulated therapeutic setting and ensures that medicines purchased for therapeutic use at a service center must be used under medical supervision, and cannot be taken home,” said Rep. Ford. “Only licensed facilitators will be allowed to provide treatment at closely regulated and licensed healing centers, approved health care facilities, in hospice, or at a pre-approved patient residence.

Studies from America’s top medical universities like Johns Hopkins, UCLA, University of Alabama, and more have found that entheogenic therapies can be effective in treating PTSD, depression, anxiety, and more. The treatment is so promising that psilocybin, the psychoactive ingredient found in certain mushrooms, has been given “breakthrough treatment” status designation by the FDA.

Support for this legislation is broad, including medical and mental health professionals, researchers, patients, and grassroots leaders. These groups have formed Entheo IL to lead this effort. "The push for legal access to entheogenic medicines is broad at the state level, such as in Oregon and Colorado, as well as at the federal level. This legislation will ensure Illinois is a leader in developing the infrastructure needed for this work,” says Executive Director, Jean Lacy.

“At a time when Illinois’ mental health crisis is at an all-time high, this program can provide relief in cases where pharmaceuticals and other treatments have failed, potentially helping millions of people,” said Rep. Ford.

Representative La Shawn K. Ford
Illinois House of Representatives