Calif. bill decriminalizing psychedelics heads to State Assembly
UPDATED 6:03 PM PT – Wednesday, June 30, 2021
California could soon become the second state in the U.S. to decriminalize psychedelic drugs like magic mushrooms. Reports have detailed a Democrat-led bill headed to the State Assembly after clearing the State Senate, that argues prohibition of these drugs is outdated and they could have beneficial effects.
The bill would allow those 21 and over to possess psilocybin, the hallucinogenic component of magic mushrooms, for personal use and social sharing. The bill also covers several other substances like DMT, LSD or acid, and MDMA which is more commonly known as ecstasy.
However, an effort to add the anesthetic ketamine to the list didn’t even find support within the party amid arguments it can be used as a date rape drug.
The Assembly Public Safety Committee just passed our legislation to decriminalize possession of psychedelics in California (#SB519).
Another step toward ending the failed & racist War on Drugs & expanding access to mental health & addiction treatment.
Thank you, colleagues!
— Senator Scott Wiener (@Scott_Wiener) June 29, 2021
The Democrat behind the bill said people’s lives have been transformed by the use of psychedelics. Sen. Scott Wiener (D-Calif.) said, “the war on drugs needs to end. For 50 years, we’ve taken the approach to drug use of incarcerating as many people as possible and we have had no benefit.”
Medical experts have testified during the bill’s debates, claiming psychedelics have been tested as “an extremely promising approach to a variety of mental illnesses.”
The bill bans sharing the drugs with anyone under the age of 21 or possessing substances on school grounds. While the move would remove the criminal penalty for possessing the drugs in California, it would still be illegal under federal law.
Denver became the first city to decriminalize psilocybin in May 2019, while Oregon became the first state to decriminalize small amounts of all drugs in Nov. 2020, which took effect in Feb. this year.
State narcotics officials have warned the bill’s allowance of social sharing could bring an increase of overdoses and fatalities from contaminated drugs.