California could soon join Oregon as the second state to decriminalize psychedelics.
Possessing psychedelics without fear of incarceration in California may soon become a reality. On Monday, the California senate voted 21-16 to pass a landmark bill legalizing the possession of psychedelics. SB 519, had already made its rounds through three separate committees before landing on the Senate floor for a vote.
Chances are good that it will pass the House as well, and, if so, would land on the desk of California Gov. Gavin Newsom to sign into law. California would then become the second state behind Oregon to decriminalize psychedelics. Two California cities—Santa Cruz and Oakland—have already passed legislation decriminalizing the personal use of psychedelics.
SB 519 requires the California Department of Public Health to create a working group to explore the possible legalization and use of psychedelics in certain situations. It also decriminalizes the cultivation and transportation of psilocybin mushroom spores.
“The War on Drugs has failed us, and criminalizing these substances doesn’t make anyone safer,” said state Sen. Scott Weiner, a Democrat from San Francisco who is championing the cause. “It’s time to move away from failed drug criminalization policies and toward a science- and health-based approach”
Recent scientific studies have shown psychedelics effective at treating a range of mental health conditions much faster and effectively than prescription antidepressants. “Psychedelics show great promise in helping people deal with complex trauma, depression, anxiety, and addiction,” Weiner added.
SB 519 calls for decriminalizing the possession of a variety of psychedelics including LSD, psilocybin, DMT, and MDMA. The bill does not make it legal to sell psychedelics in the state. However, the advocacy group Decriminalize California announced it plans to place the legalization of the sale of psilocybin on the 2022 ballot.
According to a new Hill-HarrisX poll released earlier this week, Americans are beginning to warm up to the idea of legalizing psychedelics. The survey found that more than a third of U.S. voters (35%) believe that psychedelics have medicinal uses. More than half of those in the 18- to 29-year-old range (53%) saw the value of hallucinogens while voters older than 30 were less receptive to the idea.