California Lawmakers Pass Bill Decriminalizing Select Psychedelics and Mandating Therapeutic Research

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If passed, the possession, use, and cultivation of certain natural psychedelic substances would be decriminalized starting in 2025.

On September 7th, 2023, lawmakers in California approved Senate Bill 58, which aims to decriminalize the limited possession and personal use and cultivation of certain psychedelic substances: psilocybin, psilocin, mescaline, and dimethyltryptamine (DMT) (1). The bill passed with a vote of 21-14 (2). Also included in the bill is the requirement for the California Health and Human Services Agency to study and report on the therapeutic potential of psychedelic substances (1). A workgroup would be created to facilitate the research and make the regulatory framework to access the substances (2).

After amendments to the original version of the bill, this bill does not include 3,4-Methyl​enedioxy​methamphetamine (MDMA), lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD), and ibogaine on the list of decriminalized substances (1).


“California’s veterans, first responders, and others struggling with PTSD, depression, and addiction deserve access to these promising plant medicines,” Senator Scott Wiener had stated after the bill passed the Assembly on September 6th (2). “It’s time to stop criminalizing people who use psychedelics for healing or personal well-being….SB 58 has prudent safeguards in place after we incorporated feedback from three years of deep engagement with a broad array of stakeholders.”

The bill applies only to adults over 21 years of age, and personal transfer and sales is dispensaries are not permitted (1).

“This is just very basic, people should not be criminalized if they are using personal possession of these substances,” said Jesse Gould, a veteran and sponsor of SB 58 (1). “If people are choosing to do that in their own privacy, they should absolutely be able to have that ability.”

The bill will be approved or denied by October 14 by Governor Gavin Newson, and if approved, will go into effect on the first day of 2025 (2). Newsom has reportedly not declared an opinion in favor or against the legislation (3). As noted in SB 58, the cities of Oakland and Santa Cruz, have already passed measures decriminalizing certain psychedelic substances (1).


  1. Wiley, H. California moves to decriminalize use of magic mushrooms and other natural psychedelics (accessed Sep 15, 2023).
  2. Jaeger, K. California psychedelics legalization bill is officially heading to governor’s desk after final Senate passage (accessed Sep 15, 2023).
  3. Jaeger, K. California assembly approves psychedelics legalization bill with amendments, sending it back to the Senate for Final passage (accessed Sep 15, 2023).