|The bill would also require the California Health and Human Services Agency to convene a working group to study a regulatory framework for the therapeutic use of decriminalized psychedelics.
Two states, Oregon and Colorado, have already passed laws decriminalizing some psychedelics. Voters in Washington, D.C., also approved a ballot measure directing law enforcement to “deprioritize” enforcement of laws against psychedelics.
Oregon has also created a program whereby people can take these substances in the presence of a state-licensed “facilitator.” That program launched in January. As of May, there are five of these licensed trip centers open for business.
Reason recently released a documentary on a massive psychedelics conference in Colorado, where scientists, psychonauts, capitalists, and comedians all gathered to make the case for their use.
California’s road to decriminalizing psychedelics has been a long one. In 2019, Oakland became the first city in the state, and the second city in the country behind Denver, to pass an initiative decriminalizing these substances.
But activists failed in the following year to get enough signatures to place a statewide psychedelics decriminalization measure on the ballot.
Last year, a decriminalization bill proposed by Wiener also failed in the Legislature. The original bill would have legalized LSD (acid) and MDMA (ecstasy) as well as other “natural psychedelics,” but it ended up being “gutted” by amendments, and never passed the full Legislature.
This year’s bill produced strange coalitions of supporters and opponents. It received the support of a number of veterans groups interested in the therapeutic potential of psychedelics. Several Republican legislators in the state were also won over to the bill. Four of the Assembly’s 13 Republican members voted for S.B. 58, reports The Wall Street Journal.
On the flip side, the bill split Democrats. A number of liberal legislators either voted against the bill or abstained. Some 22 members of the Assembly abstained, as did five members of the Senate.
S.B. 58 now goes to Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom’s desk for a signature. The governor hasn’t said whether he’ll sign the bill or not. He’s vetoed other drug decriminalization measures in the past, including a bill that would have legalized “safe injection sites.”