California Inches Closer To Decriminalization of Psychedelic Medicines

1.4 min readPublished On: June 4th, 2021By

SACRAMENTO–California has moved a step closer to decriminalizing psychedelic drugs after legislation this week was advanced by the state’s Senate. The bill, SB 519 was passed by a 21-16 vote.

Interestingly, the new legislation does not decriminalize sales of these drugs.

Championed by Senator Scott Wiener, Senate Bill 519 permits possession and sharing of certain hallucinogenic substances such as magic mushrooms, MDMA, LSD, ketamine and ibogaine for those 21 years and older.

The bill calls for the creation of a task force through the California Department of Public Health that would study and produce recommendations on regulations of the newly decriminalized drugs to the state Legislature.

While the legislation still needs to be OK’d by the California Assembly, one of the bill’s authors, state Sen. Scott Wiener, lauded its passage Tuesday by the legislative body.

“This is a big step for this legislation and for our movement to end the war on drugs and to take a more health and science-based approach and to move away from criminalization of drugs,” Wiener said in a video posted on Twitter.

Research has demonstrated that psychedelic compounds combined with therapy can be effectively used to treat an array of mental health conditions, including anxiety, depression and post-traumatic stress disorder, as well as substance use disorder, according to SB 519’s text.

Some cities in the U.S. including Oakland and Santa Cruz, have already effectively decriminalized possession of magic mushrooms. And Oregon voters last year went a step further, approving a ballot measure to decriminalize the personal use of hard drugs in what advocates hailed as “the biggest blow to the war on drugs to date.”

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