RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — A Virginia Democrat is proposing to make psilocybin, the hallucinogenic substance found in “magic mushrooms,” available for medical purposes and reduce possession of the psychedelic drug from a felony to a misdemeanor.

Del. Dawn Adams (D-Richmond), a nurse practitioner, and state Sen. Ghazala Hashmi (D-Chesterfield) filed similar measures last year to end the felony possession penalties for psilocybin and other psychoactive substances.

Some Republican lawmakers signaled support for the legislation, but the bills didn’t move forward. Lawmakers decided to take the proposals up during the 2023 Virginia General Assembly session, which starts Wednesday.

A new bill introduced by Del. Adams would permit people in Virginia to possess psilocybin with a valid prescription or a medical practitioner’s order “for treatment of refractory depression or post-traumatic stress disorder or to ameliorate end-of-life anxiety.”

“With our mental health crisis being what it is, if we can prevent suicide and make end-of-life transition better for people, that is something that speaks to people’s hearts,” Adams told 8News.

Adams said her bill mirrors legislation that made way for the legalization of CBD possession and distribution for medical purposes in 2015.

Under the current law, possession of psilocybin in Virginia is punishable by up to 10 years in prison and a possible $2,500 fine. If the bill from Adams passes, people caught with psilocybin without a prescription could be found guilty of a Class 2 misdemeanor and face up to 30 days in jail and a $500 fine.

Subsequent offenses would be a Class 1 misdemeanor, which could come with up to a year in jail and a $2,500 fine.

Psilocybin is a Schedule 1 drug under the federal Controlled Substances Act, meaning the federal government considers it as having no medicinal value and highly addictive.

Del. Adams disputed those assertions in a Virginia House subcommittee last January, saying studies show there is evidence it helps those suffering from depression and mental health issues and is not addictive.

Adams’s legislation also has safeguards that protect medical practitioners and pharmacists from being prosecuted for “dispensing or distributing psilocybin for medical purposes.”

A bill introduced by Sen. Hashmi would establish a Virginia Psilocybin Advisory Board, a 12-member panel made up of citizens appointed by the governor, “to develop a long-term strategic plan for establishing therapeutic access to psilocybin services and monitor and study federal laws, regulations, and policies regarding psilocybin.”

Hashmi’s bill would also reclassify the drug from a Schedule I to a Schedule III substance.