Possession of psychedelics such as psilocybin mushrooms, LSD and DMT would be legalized in California under a new Senate bill that was introduced on Wednesday.
The legislation, filed by Sen. Scott Wiener (D) and three Assembly cosponsors, would additionally provide expungements for people with prior criminal records for possession or use. It would also establish a working group tasked with studying potential future regulatory systems for psychedelics and making recommendations on the issue to lawmakers by January 1, 2024.
MDMA, ketamine, mescaline and ibogaine are among the other substances that would be covered under the proposal, which would also allow for social sharing.
“Policy should be based on science and common sense, not fear and stigma,” Wiener said in a press release. “The War on Drugs and mass incarceration are destructive and failed policies, and we must end them. Moreover, given the severity of our mental health crisis, we shouldn’t be criminalizing people for using drugs that have shown significant promise in treating mental health conditions.”
The senator’s office said the bill “does not imagine a ‘cannabis model’ or lay a foundation for retail trade in psychedelics” but instead “proposes to end the failed War on Drugs approach to addressing psychedelics while building on the science and research in the psychedelic field to create the potential for a therapeutic framework that could help people struggling from the effects of depression, anxiety, PTSD and other health conditions.”
While the bill is being described by lawmakers and advocates as simple “decriminalization,” the official legislative analysis of the proposal states that it would “make lawful” the personal possession and social sharing of these substances.
Meanwhile, a group of California activists recently announced plans to put an initiative to legalize the use and retail sale of psilocybin on the state’s 2022 ballot. That group,