California Senate Votes to Legalize Possession of Psychedelics, Psilocybin Cultivation

Oregon led the way passing medicinal psilocybin and drug decriminalization measures last year and our neighbor to the South has added to the momentum for sensible drug policy reform by sending a bill to the California General Assembly that legalizes the personal possession of psychedelics while also allowing for the cultivation and transportation of psilocybin. Senate Bill 519, sponsored by Senator Scott Weiner, passed 21-16 and is currently awaiting assignment to an Assembly committee. Most media outlets have characterized SB 519 as a decriminalization bill although it effectively legalizes personal use by fully removing the penalties for possession from the criminal code except that peyote and mescaline derived from peyote are not included due to their endangered status and spiritual significance to Native American communities.

Courthouse News reported:

“The War on Drugs has failed us, and criminalizing these substances doesn’t make anyone safer,” said state Senator Scott Weiner, a Democrat from San Francisco. “It’s time to move away from failed drug criminalization policies and toward a science- and health-based approach.”

A raft of scientific studies have shown psychedelics may prove useful in treating a gamut of mental health issues, including treatment-resistant depression, post traumatic stress disorder and addiction issues. 

“Psychedelics show great promise in helping people deal with complex trauma, depression, anxiety, and addiction,” Weiner said Monday. 

While the bill doesn’t legalize the production of any psychedelics outside of psilocybin and doesn’t allow for any sales, it does mandate that the California Department of Public Health create a work group to explore the possible full legalization of psychedelics in certain contexts. Additionally, the group Decriminalize California has announced plans to place an initiative on the 2022 ballot that would legalize the selling psilocybin mushrooms. While the fate of SB 519 is uncertain in the General Assembly, its passage in the California Senate is a great step forward. Depending upon what happens in the Golden State, we may need to revisit Oregon’s drug laws sooner rather than later and catch up to our neighbors.

Friendly reminder that you should always stop by Kind Leaf before your next trip!

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