Hello friends and neighbors,

Today marks the 53rd day of the 2023 legislative session, which means we are officially halfway through session. With committee cutoffs in the rearview, attention now turns to more action on the Senate floor. We still have a lot of work to do for our community in the 32nd District and for Washingtonians across the state. Here is another update on important legislation and recent happenings in Olympia.

Important Legislation

This session, I am sponsoring SB 5263, which would legalize and regulate the supervised use of psilocybin and make it available for wellness purposes. This bill, which received significant bipartisan support, would allow people aged 21 and over to undergo a psychedelic experience at a registered facility with appropriate supervision.

Psilocybin has been shown in FDA-approved studies to provide users a safe and effective method to alleviate symptoms of depression, addiction, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and other mental health disorders. Psilocybin has been shown to be effective at easing fear and anxiety in people with terminal illness and also to increase emotional empathy, creative thinking, mindfulness, and insightfulness in many users. The bill seeks to allow its use in a safe and controlled setting with a facilitator who is trained, certified and licensed. It does not allow recreational sales.

Combat veterans with PTSD and people recovering from addiction or mental health issues like long-term depression have been very vocal about how psilocybin has dramatically improved their lives when all kinds of more common therapies didn’t. Veterans have become leading advocates in the push to allow legal access to psilocybin, sharing personal stories about how their own experiences with psychedelics have helped them cope with trauma and helped treat their anxiety and depression. With so many people in mental health crises, we can’t afford to deny them a safe and well-regulated path to wellness.

SB 5263 is modeled after Oregon’s Measure 109. After close observation of Oregon’s law, valuable lessons were learned as to what will work best for this bill.

This bill was heard in the Senate Labor and Commerce Committee. Some changes made to the bill in committee now constrain the proposal to simply studying the issue. The revised bill now aims to provide advice and recommendations on developing a comprehensive regulatory framework for psilocybin. The bill may change further as it goes through the legislative process. This issue is new to many legislators, so any bill that focuses on the question of using psilocybin to help ease our mental health crisis represents important progress. The bill was introduced with 22 senators signing on as co-sponsors. It has also picked up significant bi-partisan support as it has moved towards the Senate floor.

There has been widespread media coverage on this legislation. Check out the following articles and news stories that mention this bill:

Standing in solidarity with the people of Ukraine

February 24 marked one year since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. This event sparked the largest conflict in Europe since World War II, and the repercussions of this senseless attack continue to reverberate around the world. The invasion of Ukraine and war crimes against the Ukrainian people have not only caused economic hardship in many parts of the world by increasing food and fuel prices, but more importantly, they have caused tragedy and devastation to Ukrainian people and their families — including those in our state.

More than eight million refugees have fled Ukraine, and Washington state has proudly welcomed more than 12,000 of them since February of last year. Our state now has one of the largest populations of Ukrainian immigrants among the 50 U.S. states.

It was my honor to sponsor Senate Resolution 8620 to recognize and show our support for Ukrainian Americans. You can watch the adoption of the resolution here: https://tvw.org/video/senate-pro-forma-session-february-24-2023021448/?eventID=2023021448

Ukrainians and Ukrainian Americans in Washington have enriched our communities through their resilience, leadership, and culture. It is crucial now more than ever that we show our support to our Ukrainian American neighbors in this time of need and tribulation.

Stay involved!

Please remember that your voice is integral in the lawmaking process and helps guide us to shape better policy. It is crucial that you express the needs and concerns of your community.

Contact Us

Thank you to everyone who has reached out! I’d love to continue hearing from you and I look forward to learning more about your priorities for the upcoming year. Send me an email at Jesse.Salomon@leg.wa.gov or give me a call at 360-786-7662. You can also follow me on Facebook for regular updates throughout the coming months.

Sincerely Yours,

Jesse Salomon