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California Senate Public Safety Committee approves of SB-58, legalizing the possession and use of specific psychedelics.
In March 2023, a new piece of legislation was approved in the California Senate (1). The bill, SB-58 (2), legalizes possession of certain psychedelics and use of the substances. Senator Scott Wiener (D) refiled the bill back in December 2022, not long after an extensive version was halted in the last session. In its approval hearing, the Senate Public Safety Committee ratified the bill with a 3-1 vote. It will now head on to the Appropriations Committee.
Some of the psychedelics SB-58 legalizes are psilocybin, psilocyn, dimenthyltryptamine (DMT), ibogaine, and mescaline for either facilitated or personal use. Synthetic psychedelics such as lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD) and 3,4-Methylenedioxymethamphetamine (MDMA) which is also known as ecstasy or molly, are not legalized in this bill but were originally included in the previous expansive bill. The new legislation also provides ““group counseling and community-based healing” involving the entheogenic substances (1).
“These are not addictive drugs. And these are drugs that have significant potential in helping people to navigate and to become healthy who are experiencing mental health challenges, substance use challenges,” Wiener mentioned at the approval hearing (1).
“We know that cities in California and elsewhere have passed resolutions to categorize enforcement of these particular criminal laws as the lowest law enforcement priority,” he said. “This is an important step for California. This is about making sure that people have access to substances that they need that are not addictive.”
A separate bill from Assembly member Marie Waldron (R) was introduced in February 2023 (1), with the goal to legalize psychedelics-assisted therapy for military veterans by allowing licensed clinical counselors to administer controlled substances (not limited to psilocybin, LSD, MDMA, ibogaine, and ketamine) to veterans for the treatment of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), traumatic brain injuries, or addiction.
In regards to Wiener’s SB-58 bill, advocates are highly optimistic due to more time to consider the proposal from when it was first introduced and also the growing momentum behind psychedelics.