In an unprecedented move, the California State Assembly has given its approval for an innovative bill aimed at decriminalizing certain psychedelic substances.
Senate Bill 58 proposes decriminalization of small amounts of certain naturally occurring psychedelics such as psilocybin mushrooms, Dimethyltryptamine (DMT), and mescaline. Notably excluded is peyote due to concerns regarding its near-endangered status and significant cultural and religious importance in Native American communities.
State Sen. Scott Wiener has been an outspoken proponent of this legislation, noting its potential benefits to groups including veterans, first responders and those experiencing PTSD, depression or addiction. After engaging with stakeholders over an extended period, this bill has been modified accordingly with feedback incorporated and safeguards put in place.
Early this year, the California State Senate had approved of SB 1740 before sending it onward to the State Assembly for consideration and vote by 42-112 with some recent amendments that may need final approval before reaching Governor Gavin Newsom for final review.
These recent changes include the removal of Ibogaine from the list of legalized substances, decreased possession limits, removal of sharing provisions and delaying implementation to January 1, 2025 – this latter change intended to allow an expert workgroup ample time to develop recommendations regarding regulated access to psychedelics.
Other states and cities have already taken steps towards legalizing the possession and use of psychedelic plants and fungi. Colorado passed Proposition 122 in 2022 to decriminalize personal possession of such items; Oregon established both Measure 109 and 110 which decriminalized personal use of all drugs as well as creating a regulated Psilocybin Therapy system as well as decriminalization the possession and use thereof respectively. Furthermore, city councils like Oakland and Santa Cruz have decriminalized possession and use of such plants/fungi.
Should California Gov. Gavin Newsom sign SB 58 into law, its provisions will come into effect starting January 1st 2025. With drug decriminalization debates taking place all across the nation, this decision by California is being closely observed as it could set an important precedent.
“Bill Text – THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF CALIFORNIA DO ENACT AS FOLLOWS” https://legiscan.com/CA/text/SB58/2023
“Bill that decriminalizes psychedelic mushrooms passes state assembly” https://www.kron4.com/news/bill-that-decriminalizes-psychedelic-mushrooms-passes-state-assembly/
“California Assembly Approves Psychedelics Legalization Bill With Amendments, Sending It Back To The Senate For Final Passage” https://www.marijuanamoment.net/california-assembly-approves-psychedelics-legalization-bill-with-amendments-sending-it-back-to-the-senate-for-final-passage/