The California Legislature is considering a bill that would decriminalize psychedelics.
Sen. Scott Wiener (D–San Francisco) authored Senate Bill 58, which already passed out of the Senate and now has the support of the Assembly Public Safety Committee.
The big picture: If SB 58 is enacted, anyone 21 or older would be legally allowed to use psychedelics, which include psilocybin, mescaline and other plant-based substances.
- Wiener’s reasoning behind the bill is that psychedelics can help treat post-traumatic stress disorder for combat veterans, as well as various other mental health conditions.
- Various law enforcement groups have come out in opposition to the bill, citing the lack of evidence for the benefits of psychedelics.
State of play: Tuesday, the Assembly Public Safety Committee passed SB 58 along party lines. The two lawmakers who opposed it were Asm. Juan Alanis (R–Modesto) and Asm. Tom Lackey (R–Palmdale).
- The bill now heads to the Assembly Health Committee, which will consider possible regulatory framework for SB 58.
What they’re saying: “Had the war on drugs not started in the 60s and 70s, we would probably be in a much, much dramatically advanced state around psychedelics,” Wiener said during Tuesday’s hearing. “But the war on drugs, which criminalizes possession and use among other things, shut everything down, and we lost 40 or 50 years as a result and we’re trying to reverse some of that damage.”
- In a statement of opposition, the California Coalition of School Safety Professionals spoke out against the danger that legalizing psychedelics could pose.
- “Decriminalizing the widespread cultivation, distribution and ingestion of these hallucinogens will result in additional impaired drivers and make our roads less safe,” the coalition wrote. “We recognize that alcohol remains the number one cause of impaired drivers, but we also believe that legalizing mushrooms will increase the overall number of intoxicated motor vehicle operators endangering others on our streets and highways.”