Canada grants first legal exemptions for psilocybin use in 50 years

After waiting more than 100 days for a response, four terminally ill cancer patients have now been approved to use psilocybin to treat end-of-life distress. These patients will be the first to legally use the psychedelic in Canada for almost half a century following the country’s health minister granting them a unique special exemption.

Initially Tobin applied for a unique status exemption to allow him to possess and administer psilocybin to palliative care patients. The exemption hinged on a highly specific clause in Canada’s Controlled Drug and Substances Act. Section 56 (1) states, the country’s health minister can allow the use of a controlled substance if that use is “necessary for a medical or scientific purpose or is otherwise in the public interest.”

After three years of dialogue with government authorities Tobin’s initial application was rejected. At the beginning of 2020 the government’s rejection to the Tobin’s application stated, “there is insufficient evidence to demonstrate the medical need for psilocybin.”

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