Psychedelics Reform Is on the Agenda in St. Louis This October

A key topic at the Psychedelic Missouri Freedom Conference will be addressing mental health among veterans and first responders

Sep 15, 2023 at 10:02 am
Studies have found that psilocybin, the substance found in "magic mushrooms," can relieve depression in adults.
Studies have found that psilocybin, the substance found in "magic mushrooms," can relieve depression in adults.

Most psychedelics are far from legal in Missouri. But a small but growing cohort of Missourians are fighting for legalization.

A conference this October in Brentwood and Kansas City will focus on just that. The Psychedelic Missouri Freedom Conference will take place on October 21 in St. Louis and October 28 in Kansas City and cover the decriminalization of psychedelics. This is the conference’s third year and first time in St. Louis.

Missouri's last legislative session was a banner year for psychedelic medicine reform in Missouri, according to lobbyist Eapen Thampy at American Shaman. 

A bill that would authorize psilocybin therapy was endorsed by two committees in the House of Representatives and was approved in an initial perfection vote in the House. Another bill sought to clear the way for studies on the efficacy of psilocybin, ketamine and MDMA as alternative therapies. And a bill filed by Representative Tony Lovasco attempted to give eligible patients the right to try psilocybin as treatment for PTSD, depression or terminal illnesses. 

Studies from Johns-Hopkins University have shown that consuming psychedelics such as psilocybin, the psychoactive compound in “magic mushrooms,” have relieved depression in adults. Washington University in St. Louis has an entire program dedicated to researching psychedelics as treatments for psychiatric illness. 

click to enlarge Lobbyist Eapen Thampy
Courtesy Eapen Thampy
Lobbyist Eapen Thampy is on the frontlines of psychedelics reform in Missouri.

In Missouri, the movement to legalize psychedelics for medicinal use has been largely fueled by veteran advocates, Thampy says. (Which is, in part, why all the measures mentioned above have been sponsored by members of the GOP). 

“Our veterans in Missouri aren’t waiting for the government,” Thampy says. “They’re traveling to South America and Mexico to access these therapies right now, which is really a shame.”

Addressing mental health crises among military veterans and first responders will be one of the key topics addressed at the Psychedelic Missouri Freedom Conference. Speakers include Dr. Joshua Siegel, who researches psychedelic treatments for mood disorders at Wash U; former Representatives Ron Hicks (R-St. Charles), Aaron McMullen (R-Independence); as well as veterans who are “leading the movement for psychedelic access,” according to the conference’s website.

The Psychedelic Missouri Freedom Conference is an event from Psychedelic Missouri, which has partnered with veteran advocacy groups such as Humble Warrior Wellness and the Grunt Style Foundation to bring the conference to fruition. Humble Warrior Founder Elaine Brewer and Grunt Style Executive Director William Wisner will also speak. 

Tickets are available online and will be available the day of if they’re not sold out, Thampy says.

This story has been updated.

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