The legislative process is often compared to sausage making, something extremely messy and not something pleasant to watch. As a veteran of several lobbying efforts, I tend to agree, but it’s a necessary endeavor that, when done right, can improve and save lives. California Senate Bill 519, championed by Senator Scott Wiener, is a proposal followed very closely by Drug War reform advocates, so even though things can get ugly, we can’t take our eye off of another potential big swing against prohibition. After passing the full Senate, SB 519 has now cleared a major hurdle in the state’s General Assembly by passing the Committee on Health, but a few amendments have complicated matters on both legislative and activist fronts. Despite the complications, we can still count this progress as a win in our fight against prohibition.
Marijuana Moment covered important details on the landmark bill that would remove criminal penalties for adults 21 and over for the possession of many psychedelics such as psilocybin, DMT, LSD and MDMA:
“Now, as a result of changes approved by the latest panel, the bill includes language laying out the limits for what is an allowable personal possession amount for each substance. That’s led Decriminalize Nature (DN), a group that’s worked to enact psychedelics reform across the country, to call for the tabling of the legislation.
“As passed in committee on Tuesday, these are the prescribed limits for personal possession that would be legalized:
-2 grams of DMT
-15 grams of ibogaine
-0.01 grams of LSD
-4 grams of mescaline
-2 grams of the controlled substance psilocybin or 4 ounces of a plant or fungi containing the controlled substance psilocybin.
-2 grams of the controlled substance psilocyn or 4 ounces of a plant or fungi containing the controlled substance of psilocyn
-4 grams of MDMA.”
David Bronner, CEO of Dr. Bronner’s Magic Hemp Soaps, who is a major funder of drug reform efforts, including of Oregon Measures 91, 109, and 110, is urging advocates to not let the perfect be the enemy of the good and continue supporting SB 519. While I tend to defer to activists on the ground in the state at hand, I do wholeheartedly agree with Bronner. Holding up important legislation on the hope that a bill without any possession limits can pass is a risky proposition that will lead to more harmful arrests and convictions in the meantime. Such bills are also easy to demonize by opponents. For example, Oregon Measure 80 would have legalized an unlimited amount of cannabis in 2012, but voters rejected that initiative, but passed M91, which included limits, just two years later.
A sincere thanks to Senator Wiener and all of the activists doing the heavy lifting in the Golden State for Senate Bill 519. No matter what happens this legislative session, the progress thus far is really impressive and inspirational. This work will resonate forward and reverberate across state lines.
Kind Leaf continues to be proud of hardworking advocates looking to save and improve lives by moving away from the Drug War and towards a health-based approach.