By Brad Dunn —
Canadian nonprofit TheraPsil is leading a new patient-based lawsuit against the federal government to expand access to psilocybin and related therapies — a case it believes will open the door to national legalization of psychedelics.
Last week, seven patients and one healthcare practitioner filed a charter challenge claiming the country’s stringent regulations around psilocybin access violate the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, which protects the right to life, liberty and security.
TheraPsil, a psychedelics advocacy organization based in British Columbia, says the case is similar to R v. Parker, which led to legalized medical cannabis in Canada.
“This is the landmark case that is going to legalize psychedelics in Canada,” said Spencer Hawkswell, TheraPsil’s CEO.
The nonprofit is raising funds to support the lawsuit and pay for plaintiffs’ legal costs, many of whom have terminal illnesses. They argue psilocybin therapy “represents a reasonable medical choice, and a more effective treatment for … end-of-life distress.”
Canada’s current laws allow for only three ways to access psilocybin: 1) by enrolling in a clinical trial, 2) by getting authorization through the Special Access Program, and 3) by getting a personal exemption from the Minister of Health. The plaintiffs argue these barriers are too restrictive to meet the therapeutic needs of most patients.
TheraPsil is currently raising $100,000 (CAD) to support the first stages of the lawsuit.