MDMA has been classified as a Schedule I drug under the US Controlled Substances Act since 1985, and is illegal in most countries. However, FDA clinical trials investigating its therapeutic benefits for PTSD may result in MDMA being rescheduled as a medicine in the US. In 2023, Australia became the first country to approve MDMA for limited medicinal use for qualifying patients.
Things to Know
- MDMA is classified as a Schedule I drug under the Controlled Substances Act
- The possession of all drugs (including MDMA) was decriminalized in Oregon in 2020
- MDMA may soon be legalized for medical use in the US
MDMA Legality in the U.S.
In the U.S., MDMA is classified as a Schedule I drug under the Controlled Substances Act, meaning that it has no currently accepted medical use. A very limited number of institutions have been able to obtain Schedule I licenses to research MDMA’s therapeutic potential, but results are consistently positive in terms of safety and promising in terms of efficacy.
Decriminalization and Legalization Efforts
- In Oregon, possession of all drugs (including MDMA) has been decriminalized since 2020
- There are a few expanded access sites1 in the U.S. where patients have received MDMA therapy during the FDA approval process
- The Breakthrough Therapies Act is a proposed federal bill that would move drugs (including MDMA) that have been given a “breakthrough therapies designation” from the FDA from Schedule I to Schedule II. This would make MDMA significantly more accessible for licensed research and use for qualifying patients who are not eligible to access MDMA in clinical trials.
- In California, State Senator Scott Wiener introduced Senate Bill 5192 in 2021, which would decriminalize personal possession and social sharing of psilocybin, psilocyn, MDMA, LSD, DMT, ibogaine, and non-peyote derived mescaline. Senate Bill 58,3 a modified version of SB 519, is now being considered by the California legislature.
- In Colorado, Governor Jared Polis approved a bill4 that would align the state’s law to legalize MDMA in prescription therapy if the DEA reschedules it subject to FDA approval for medical use .
- In Connecticut, the Governor signed House Bill 55065 in 2022 to adjust the state budget for the biennium (July 1, 2022 to June 30, 2023), earmarking funds for therapy programs to administer MDMA and psilocybin for veterans and other qualifying patients and providers, under FDA approved treatment sites.
- In Florida, a bill was introduced in the house to decriminalize the personal possession and use of drugs, while other bills were introduced to research the medical benefits of MDMA, psilocybin, and ketamine.
- Other legislation6 has been introduced in Iowa, Maryland, Minnesota, Missouri, Nevada, and Texas, seeking to lift restrictions around MDMA and other substances.