California Senate Legislation to Decriminalize Possession of Psychedelics Like LSD Becomes Two-Year Bill

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By Joseph Shepard

SACRAMENTO, CA – California Senate Bill 519, which would decriminalize the “possession and personal use of certain psychedelic drugs,” was officially designated as a two-year bill here in the State Capitol late this last week.

The bill has already been advanced farther than expected, according to supporters, who said they are hopeful that the added time will allow advocates to build greater support and educate more people on the issue.

The bill, which was introduced by State Senator Scott Wiener, would not decriminalize the sale of psychedelics or allow for them to be given to anyone under the age of 21. If enacted, the legislation would also create a task force to recommend a regulatory system for the state to adopt for the personal use of decriminalized substances.

Substances that the bill would decriminalize include psilocybin, psilocyn, MDMA, LSD, DMT, mescaline (excluding peyote), and ibogaine.

In a statement, Sen. Wiener explained the importance of the bill, saying “Decriminalizing psychedelics is an important step in ending the failed War on Drugs, and we are committed to this fight.”

In addition, the lawmaker emphasized the impact that psychedelics can have in mental health treatment.

“Our mental health crisis is worse than ever, and psychedelics have shown great promise in treating mental health issues from PTSD to anxiety and depression. I look forward to working hard to continue this fight,” he said.

Recent studies have shown that substances included in the bill may prove useful in treating mental health disorders. Both MDMA-assisted therapy and psilocybin have been classified as a “Breakthrough Therapy” by the FDA following successful trials.

This is especially relevant as California and the rest of the world suffers from the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. During the course of the pandemic, the number of adults in the U.S. suffering from mental health issues has grown, and suicide rates have increased as well.

Although the bill still needs to pass the State Assembly, Wiener expressed optimism for the bill’s future, noting, “While I’m disappointed we couldn’t pass SB 519 this year, I’m heartened that the bill moved as deep into the process as it did and that we have a realistic chance of passing it next year.”

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