SACRAMENTO – Democrat State Senator Scott Wiener, of San Francisco, introduced a bill for California lawmakers on Thursday that would decriminalize substances such as psilocybin, MDMA, LSD, ketamine, DMT and mescaline in that state.
California would be a huge boost to the ‘’decriminalization nature’’ efforts that are underway in states and local municipalities around the country to advance the use of plant-based psychoactive medicines for therapeutic uses.
The bill doesn’t include peyote to ensure its availability for traditional Native American spiritual practices, according to the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies, or MAPS, a global psychedelic research and education organization.
“The war on drugs has been a complete failure,” Wiener said. “It hasn’t stopped people from using drugs and it hasn’t stopped addiction.”
A similar disconnect in cannabis legalization also exists in the legalization of these other plant-based medicines: while cannabis is illegal federally, it is legal, at least medically, in most states. Psilocybin, LSD, MDMA and peyote remain illegal Schedule 1 drugs, according to the Drug Enforcement Administration.
Last year, voters in Oregon and Washington, D.C., approved measures to allow use of psychedelic mushroom medicines, which studies show could help patients cope with pain and end-of-life anxiety.
The cities of Denver and Oakland, California, each adopted resolutions in 2019 decriminalizing mushrooms. New Jersey has downgraded possession of small amounts of the mushrooms from a third-degree crime to a disorderly persons offense. Decriminalization of psychedelics have also been passed in some shape or form Santa Cruz, California; Ann Arbor, Michigan, and Cambridge and Somerville in Massachusetts.
“Psychedelic use can come with some risks, but criminalization only increases those risks by creating an unregulated market in which difficult-to-verify dosages and the presence of adulterants like fentanyl threaten public health,” said Ismail Lourido Ali, policy and advocacy counsel at MAPS.
California’s bill would also expunge criminal records for people with prior non-violent psychedelics law violation. And it would create a commission to recommend a regulatory body tasked with overseeing psychedelic-assisted therapy for the treatment of mental health disorders.