The California State Senate has passed a bill that would decriminalize plant-based psychedelic drugs, such as psilocybin (magic mushrooms), dimethyltryptamine (psychedelic drug DMT), ibogaine (psychedelic substance), and mescaline (psychedelic hallucinogen), in a narrow 21-16 vote.
Why it Matters: The bill, Senate Bill 58, was introduced by Senator Scott Weiner (D-San Francisco) and would remove criminal penalties for possession of these substances while still making them illegal for minors. It would also remove bans on having psilocybin or psilocyn spores that can produce mushrooms and on having drug paraphernalia associated with all decriminalized drugs.
- The bill is a pared-down version of SB 519, which would have legalized not only the psychedelics in SB 58 but also synthetic hallucinogens such as LSD, ketamine, and MDMA. SB 519 was heavily amended in 2021 and 2022, removing ketamine, peyote derivatives of decriminalized mescaline, and other parts for legislators and opposition groups, including law enforcement agencies.
- Despite the amendments, the bill was gutted in August, leaving only a single study on the use of the remaining drugs. However, SB 58 has managed to pass the Senate and will now move on to the Assembly.
What they’re saying: Supporters of the bill argue that these substances are not addictive and show promise in treating mental health and addiction. Senator Wiener tweeted, “Let’s stop criminalizing them.”
- Marty Ribera, a former police officer and current drug counselor, stated, “The Senate vote is only a setback right now, and far from a sure thing. Just because marijuana is legal now doesn’t mean that these will be decriminalized.”
- Opponents of the bill remain optimistic that it will ultimately fail due to hurdles ahead, such as needing to pass the Assembly and facing potential lawsuits or challenges that could push the matter to a state vote.