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Missouri Republican seeks to legalize hallucinogenic drug for medicinal use

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Douglas holds a handful of recently harvested psilocybin mushrooms, which sell for about $200 an ounce.
Esther Honig
Harvest Public Media
Douglas holds a handful of recently harvested psilocybin mushrooms, which sell for about $200 an ounce.

Psilocybin, the psychedelic drug commonly referred to as "magic mushrooms," is outlawed in most states, including Missouri, but a Republican legislator is trying to change that. He shares how the drug could be used to treat some ailments.

Missouri Rep. Tony Lovasco, R-St. Charles, has filed a bill that would allow psilocybin, a drug with hallucinogenic properties, to be used for medicinal purposes.

Lovasco, who says he's never used the psychedelic, initially became interested because he believes a medical treatment decision should be between a patient and doctor.

"[T]here was some folks that were looking for alternative ways to treat conditions they had; the government was telling them no and I thought that wasn't right," says Lovasco.

Lovasco's legislation would allow the drug to be used medicinally for some treatment-resistant conditions or terminal illnesses. The treatment, which insurance would not be required to cover, must be performed in a medical or care facility under the supervision of a professional.

The hallucinogen is a "low-risk treatment option" without the danger of overdose, according to Lovasco.

"I think one of the biggest selling points for this product is that it doesn't require long-term use. It's not a traditional pharmaceutical that you might expect to be on for months or years," says Lovasco.

The bill is scheduled for a committee vote on Tuesday, March 7, which Lovasco expects to be in favor of the bill.

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