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California will have to wait at least another year before they can legally trip on mushrooms.
A Democratic lawmaker in the state who sponsored a bill to decriminalize certain hallucinogens said Thursday that he is tabling the legislation until 2022.
State Senator Scott Wiener, a Democratic legislator representing San Francisco, provided the update in a series of tweets, characterizing the development as “[g]ood news/bad news.”
The bill, Wiener said, is still “alive and well,” and he said that he and other supporters are “pausing its further consideration in the Assembly” until next year. The legislation is “now a two-year bill,” he said.
The bill, SB-519, would have permitted “possession, obtaining, giving away or transportation of specified quantities of psilocybin, psilocyn, dimethyltryptamine (DMT), ibogaine, mescaline, lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD) and… MDMA for personal use or facilitated or supported use, as defined, by and with persons 21 years of age or older.”
Psilocybin is the hallucinogenic component of psychedelic mushrooms.
“We’ll spend the next year continuing to build support in the Assembly,” Wiener said on Twitter on Thursday. “[The bill] advanced deep into the legislative process—honestly, way further than I anticipated, since it’s a new idea in the Legislature. It passed the full Senate and both Assembly policy committees. But we need more time to build support in the Assembly to achieve final passage.
“I’m deeply committed to #SB519’s passage, as is our coalition. Over the next year, our coalition of veterans, parents, healthcare professionals and others will continue to work hard to earn the support of Assemblymembers. This is a righteous bill,” he added. “The War on Drugs is a complete failure. We shouldn’t be arresting people for possessing or using drugs. And people should be able to access psychedelics and mental health and addiction challenges. #SB519 needs to pass, and California needs to lead on this issue.”
Wiener’s bill was first introduced in February, and underwent a number of tweaks in the months that followed. According to the Associated Press, “Wiener previously removed ketamine from his bill after opponents said it could be used as a date-rape drug,” while also stripping “out an allowance for ‘social sharing’ of the drugs on his list.”
Wiener has introduced a separate bill that would “authorize the City and County of San Francisco, the County of Los Angeles, the City of Los Angeles and the City of Oakland to approve entities to operate overdose prevention programs for persons that satisfy specified requirements, including, among other things, providing a hygienic space supervised by trained staff where people who use drugs can consume pre-obtained drugs, providing sterile consumption supplies, providing access or referrals to substance use disorder treatment and that program staff be authorized and trained to provide emergency administration of an opioid antagonist, as defined by existing law.”
His bill to decriminalize certain hallucinogenic substances attracted support from some of his legislative colleagues, but there was also plenty of opposition and concern. The Associated Press reported that “the California District Attorneys Association was among groups that remained opposed, arguing that ‘hallucinations can be dangerous to users and bystanders alike’ and that LSD has been linked to homicides.”
Of course, that a lawmaker in the country’s largest state introduced such a proposal at all is a sign of the changing attitudes surrounding drugs that have long been taboo (and illegal) in the United States.
Voters in Oregon last year passed a historic pair of ballot initiatives that would upend drug policy in the state. One of the measures legalized the therapeutic use of psilocybin, while the author decriminalized possession of a number of drugs, including psychedelics.
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