House Criminal Justice Panel Hears Bill To Legalize Hallucinogenic Drug DMT

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Frank Staples is pictured speaking to the House Criminal Justice and Public Safety Committee Friday in the Legislative Office Building. (Screenshot)


CONCORD – DMT, a hallucinogenic drug and a schedule I substance, could be legal if a bill is passed in New Hampshire.

The House Criminal Justice and Public Safety Committee heard from several people who said they were ministers of a non traditional church, who claim the drug allows people to find God and should be legal for spiritual reasons.

House Bill 216 would exempt dimethyltryptamine or DMT from the controlled drug act. It was presented for consideration by state Rep. Matthew Santonastaso, R-Jaffrey.

An explanation of the drug can be found here

Ian Freeman told the committee he did not feel people should go to prison for taking the drug.

Freeman, 42, of Keene, was convicted in federal court last month of money laundering, conspiracy to launder money, operation of an unlicensed money transmitting business, and tax evasion.

Freeman a libertarian activist and host of the FreeTalkLive radio show, is scheduled to be sentenced on April 14, 2023. 

Freeman cited a New Hampshire Supreme Court ruling and said the bill would allow the state to catch up where it already is in courts.

Josh Holmes said the purpose of the drug is to have a religious experience and he said there are plenty of stories and texts related to religious experiences.
Others said there is a great deal of utility to this drug in dreams and that it can be helpful for those suffering from post-traumatic stress syndrome and addictions to other drugs.

Members of the committee asked how prepared was the religious community to respond to someone having an overdose or an adverse reaction and they were told to give the person water or lemon juice as examples.

State Rep. Jason Gerhard, R-Northfield, said people are taking this drug once to overcome addictions and it is not done every weekend, like a recreational drug.

“If we really want to deal with addiction issues we need to look into the past,” Gerhard said. “At the very least…open up some kind of ability to have trials. Locking people up is just not working.”

Frank Staples, who said he is trained as a psychedelic peer support specialist and noted he spent five years in solitary confinement came to testify in support of the bill.
He suggested people visit to look at studies on substances used for religion.

Staples said the problem is “big Pharma” doesn’t want people to be treated by a single treatment.
“It’s all about billing,” he said. “It’s disgusting.”

“Are we going to solve the problem or are we going to line everybody’s pockets? That’s the question,” Staples said.

People die in sweat lodges and hold rattlesnakes, he said, but that is not illegal.
“We have that right,” he said.

Bonnie Freeman, who said she is a minister, and a former atheist said she has taken DMT in the vaporized form – but not as a six-hour trip – and it helped change her perspective.

She said you don’t feel nervous on DMT, as you can with marijuana.

“You can see beautiful patterns if you close your eyes,” she said, noting she saw her dog and she just knew he loved her.

Capt. Bill Bright of the New Hampshire State Police testified in opposition to the bill.

“Our concern is with the public safety of the citizens of New Hampshire,” with particular concern for children and drivers of vehicles on the drug.

He said to his knowledge the drug is not seen often here, and he did not know of current cases.

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