California Psychedelics Decriminalization Bill Heads to the Senate

California started our nation’s state-by-state medical cannabis political revolution by first passing Proposition 215 back in 1996, with Oregon and Washington following suit with their own medicinal initiatives in ’98. With Oregon Measure 109 leading the way on therapeutic psilocybin and Measure 110 the first successful drug decriminalization in the U.S. in 2020, it appears that the Beaver State may be returning the favor for its southern neighbor as California has just moved one step closer to allowing the personal possession, use, and sharing of psychedelics. Senate Bill 519, sponsored by Senator Scott Wiener, has passed out of the Senate Appropriations Committee, paving the way for a vote before the Senate. If successful there, the psychedelics bill would go before the California Assembly ahead of a potential trip to the governor’s desk. Marijuana Moment reported:

If enacted into law, the bill would remove criminal penalties for possessing or sharing numerous psychedelics—including psilocybin mushrooms, DMT, ibogaine, LSD and MDMA—for adults 21 and older.

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Under the bill, state Department of Public Health would be required to establish a working group “to study and make recommendations regarding possible regulatory systems that California could adopt to promote safe and equitable access to certain substances in permitted legal contexts.” Those recommendations would be due by January 1, 2024.

For psilocybin specifically, the legislation would repeal provisions in California statute that prohibit the cultivation or transportation of “any spores or mycelium capable of producing mushrooms or other material” that contain the psychoactive ingredient.

Hopefully, California legislators will make informed votes based upon science and common sense and won’t be unduly swayed by Drug War propaganda. The War on Drugs simply hasn’t worked and there’s no reason to ruin lives over the personal possession of psychedelics. With the research coming out of institutions like Johns Hopkins and voters and policymakers understanding that it’s time to end the grip that the prison-industrial complex has had over drug policy, there’s never been a better time to implement much-needed reforms. It’s time to invest in people instead of more prisons. Whether SB 519 passes this year or not, it’s a great step in the right direction to see this much progress being made on the heels of Oregon Measures 109 and 110. It’s easy to see a future where states are passing drug decriminalization laws in a similar manner as we’ve seen with cannabis. A sincere thanks to everyone fighting the good political fight.

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