By reMind Staff —
Legislative efforts to decriminalize psychedelics in California were stymied Friday after opponents gutted key provisions from the bill, reducing its scope to merely an official study of the proposal.
State Bill 519 would have decriminalized for people over 21 the possession and personal use of certain psychedelics — including LSD, mushrooms, MDMA and DMT — which advocates say offer promising treatments for a wide range of mental health conditions.
The legislation had passed the State Senate, but members of the Assembly Appropriations Committee removed the decriminalization component. Now, the bill only directs the state Department of Public Health to establish a working group to study and make recommendations regarding future psychedelics reform.
State Sen. Scott Wiener (D-San Francisco), who sponsored the SB 519, said he planned to withdraw the amended bill, but vowed to press ahead with effort again in 2023.
“While I am extremely disappointed by this result, I am looking to reintroducing this legislation next year and continuing to make the case that it’s time to end the War on Drugs,” Wiener said in a statement. “Psychedelic drugs, which are not addictive, have incredible promise when it comes to mental health and addiction treatment. We are not giving up.”
Supporters of the legislation say psychedelics can help people with severe mental health conditions, including PTSD, treatment-resistant depression, anxiety and addiction. Opponents range from law enforcement groups, who claim access to hallucinogens will boost the murder rate, to Decriminalize Nature, a psychedelic advocacy group that objected to the proposed possession limits.