California Is One Vote Away From Legalizing Psychedelics

A bill that intends to decriminalize the possession and use of mushrooms, MDMA, LSD and ibogaine in California just got approved by the Senate. It's expected to go through the House before becoming state law.

Photo by Viktoriia Protsak / Adobe Stock Photo

Yesterday, with a 21-16 vote, California’s Senate passed a bill that gets them one step closer to decriminalizing the possession of psychedelics in all the Golden State. 

The Senate Bill 519, introduced in February by Senator Scott Wiener (D), had already cleared three policy committees and will now be voted in the state’s House of Representatives, where it is very likely to pass again. 

If the bill goes through the House and is signed into law by Governor Gavin Newson, possession and use of psychedelics like mushrooms, MDMA, LSD, and ibogaine would be decriminalized for anyone over the age of 21.

“This is a big step for this legislation and for our movement to end the war on drugs,” Senator Wiener said on Twitter.

The bill is backed by a notable amount of scientific evidence that suggests that psychedelics may significantly reduce mental health problems, especially in war veterans. These include PTSD, anxiety, depression, and addictions to hard drugs like heroin.

“Prohibition doesn’t work. It didn’t work with alcohol, didn’t work with cannabis, and it doesn’t work with psychedelics or other drugs. All it does is make it harder for people to be safe and get treatment,” said Wiener in an interview back in April.

“Let’s get them out of the shadows and take a science and health-based approach so we can start helping people live good lives,” he added.

The bill does not decriminalize the sale of psychedelics in the state. However, a group called Decriminalize California has announced plans to place the legalization of psilocybin mushrooms on the 2022 ballot.

Mescaline, a peyote-derived psychedelic used by Native Americans, was excluded from the bill as the peyote plant is endangered and holds a special significance in Native American spirituality. 

If the bill is approved, California will become the second state to legalize psychedelics on a state-wide level after Oregon. However, the cities of Santa Cruz and Oakland had already decriminalized the adult use of psychedelics. 

Denver was the first city in the US to take this step towards decriminalization, followed by cities in Massachusetts and Michigan. Washington DC, which legalized the personal use of plant and fungi-based psychedelics last year, was the most recent city to join the club.

June 03, 2021
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