Vicente Sederberg LLP Entheogens Update: December 2021

Dec 13, 2021

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Federal Updates


DEA and NIDA Voice Support for Streamlining Research of Schedule I Drugs

The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and National Institute On Drug Abuse (NIDA) recently voiced their support of the Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) research plan, which would streamline the process of researching Schedule I drugs like marijuana and certain psychedelics.

According to the DEA’s written testimony, “expanding access to Schedule I research is a critical part of DEA’s mission to protect public safety and health.”


DEA Will Ramp Up Psilocybin, MDMA and DMT Research Efforts in 2022

Inspired by increased interest and demand within the scientific community, the DEA will ramp up psilocybin, MDMA and DMT research efforts in 2022. The agency significantly increased its quota for the legal production of illegal controlled substances—with a staggering increase of 26,567 percent for psilocybin alone.


What is the Process for Federal Psilocybin Registration?

We’re fielding an increasing number of questions these days from companies and organizations about registering with the DEA to handle psilocybin and psilocin in various ways. In light of the interest, Shane Pennington wrote an introduction to the different registrations available for Schedule I substances. Read more in the VS Insights article, “What is the Process for Federal Psilocybin Registration?



General Updates


Studies of Psychedelics Show Tremendous Potential for Therapeutic Applications

Studies of MDMA, ketamine, psilocybin mushrooms and other psychedelics have shown tremendous potential for therapeutic applications. Learn more in “Psychedelics can change humanity for the better. It’s time to unlock their power,” an insightful editorial by Rick Doblin, founder and executive director of the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies.


Financing Adaptogenic Mushroom Companies: Seven Basic Regulatory Points to Understand

As we wait for federal legalization and/or state-regulated psilocybin markets to emerge, what can a motivated entrepreneur interested in mycelium pursue? Charles Alovisetti, Josh Kappel and Andrea Golan explore this topic in the VS Insights article, “Financing Adaptogenic Mushroom Companies: Seven Basic Regulatory Points to Understand.”



State Updates



The Psilocybin Mushroom Policy Review Panel presented a series of policy recommendations to further decriminalize psilocybin to Denver City Council. The panel's recommendations specifically included the practice of gifting psychedelic mushrooms to other people and decriminalizing communal use of psilocybin. Read more about this group’s goals for psychedelics in the Mile High City.


Psychedelics and Mental Health Therapy in Colorado: DORA and Potential Regulatory Response

It’s logical to anticipate that the Colorado State Legislature will eventually construct statutes that directly relate to the use of psychedelics in mental health practices.  It’s also reasonable to predict that the policies and behaviors of the most conscientious mental health practices will serve as the guidebook to constructing new statutes. Although there’s no way to guard against every misunderstanding of this new frontier in mental health, developing clear plans and definitions of mental health practice staff roles and responsibilities is critical in order to avoid violating current Colorado law. Read more in this VS Insights article from James Nechleba.



In California, Senate Bill 519 would give veterans access to psychedelic therapies, but it also decriminalizes several drugs like LSD, ecstasy, mescaline, psilocybin and more. The bill, which would allow for further research of psychedelics, aims to help veterans. Read more about efforts to help veterans treat PTSD with MDMA-assisted therapy.



Florida representative Dotie Joseph (D) submitted a legislative proposal “Collateral Consequences of Convictions and Decriminalization of Cannabis and All Drugs Act” in an effort to end the criminalization of those that need help in favor of solutions that "focus on public health and equity.” 





Save the Date! Colorado Psychedelics Policy Webinar

Join us on January 27, 2022 for a live session to discuss the latest in Colorado psychedelics policy. Special guests from advocacy groups and Colorado’s legislature will join leaders of VS’s Entheogens & Emerging Therapies team and Jordan Wellington of VS Strategies to review highlights from 2021, and what psychedelics policy the Centennial State can expect in 2022.



Meet Members of VS's Entheogens & Emerging Therapies Team


Josh Kappel is a founding partner of Vicente Sederberg with a passion for helping entrepreneurs and visionaries build human-centric and regenerative companies in the cannabis and psychedelic industries. With a passion for policy, Josh also loves helping advocates draft legislation and build sustaining vehicles that will forever influence these emerging industries.


Barine Majewska's long-standing respect for psychedelics and plant medicine work led her to consider going back to school for a PhD in clinical psychology to work in a clinical setting. She was offered a fantastic opportunity to intern in psilocybin studies at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, where her firsthand experience working as both a research assistant and guide in psilocybin sessions gave her clear insights into the potency, benefits, and pitfalls of psychedelic work.


Shane Pennington advises clients on federal psychedelics law, including DEA regulations governing registration to handle Schedule I psychedelic substances under the Controlled Substances Act and efforts to reschedule or deschedule. He regularly litigates issues with important implications for the federal regulation of psychedelics before federal appellate courts across the country. He recently represented plaintiffs in a psilocybin Right To Try case vs. the DEA.


Contact our entheogens team with any questions.


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