If the California governor signs the bill, four naturally occurring psychedelics will be decriminalized for personal use, possession and cultivation.
SB-58 has finally passed in the California State Assembly and Senate, and now, only awaits Governor Gavin Newsom's signature to officially pass into law the decriminalization of naturally occurring psychedelics psilocybin, psilocin, DMT, and mescaline.
The governor has until October 14 to approve or veto the bill. So far, Newsom has given no indication he will not sign the bill, and has previously spoken out against the longstanding “War on Drugs,” so it seems very likely that the bill—first introduced by Scott Wiener back in 2022—may succeed in making the Golden State the third in the union to decriminalize psychedelics, following in the footsteps of Oregon and Colorado.
“We respect the legislative process and don’t typically comment on pending legislation,” a spokesperson for Newsom said in a statement to Marijuana Moment last week. “The governor will evaluate the bill on its merits when it reaches his desk.”
The bill, passed by a 43-15 vote in the state Assembly last Wednesday and a 21-14 vote in the Senate last Thursday, won't immediately decriminalize personal possession, cultivation and usage of naturally occurring psychedelics. Californians will have to wait until January 1, 2025 to be protected from prosecution.
Until then, California Health and Human Services Agency will be conducting a study the therapeutic use of psychedelics and submitting a report to the Legislature with recommendations.
“This act further decriminalizes the use of specified controlled substances for the purpose of group community-based healing, including facilitated and supported use, risk reduction, and other related services,” the bill reads, “but delays implementation of this provision until a framework for the therapeutic use, which would include community-based healing, facilitated and supported use, risk reduction, and other related services, of the specified controlled substances is developed and adopted. This bill lays the groundwork for California to develop a therapeutic access program for psychedelic plants and fungi.”
The bill does not include ibogaine nor popular synthetic psychedelics LSD or MDMA, and penalizes possession of the psychedelics on school grounds, as well as possession by, or transferring to, people under 21 years of age.
Peyote is also excluded, “because of the nearly endangered status of the peyote plant and the special significance peyote holds in Native American spirituality,” the bill states.
After several revisions throughout the legislative process, the bill allows for possession of one gram of psilocybin or psilocin (or one ounce of the fungi containing the substance), one gram of DMT, and four grams of mescaline.
Psychedelic reform advocates can't celebrate a victory yet, however. Although Newsom has raised no objections to the bill, he previously vetoed Wiener's SB-57, which would have created safe, supervised drug-consumption sites in Los Angeles, Oakland and San Francisco as part of an effort to curb overdose deaths.
“The unlimited number of safe injection sites that this bill would authorize … could induce a world of unintended consequences,” he wrote in his 2022 decision. “It is possible that these sites would help improve the safety and health of our urban areas, but if done without a strong plan, they could work against this purpose… Worsening drug consumption challenges in these areas is not a risk we can take.”