A second California Senate committee has approved a bill to legalize possession of a wide range of psychedelics and create a working group to study broader reform.
If enacted into law, the bill would remove criminal penalties for possessing or sharing numerous psychedelics—including psilocybin mushrooms, DMT, ibogaine, LSD and MDMA—for adults 21 and older.
“The war on drugs has been an abject failure because it is based on the false belief, the false notion, that criminalizing people, arresting them, incarcerating them for possessing, for using drugs, will somehow deter use and improve public safety,” Wiener told colleagues before the vote. “It has done neither.”
“Instead we have spent trillions in the last half century on the war on drugs, more people are using drugs now, there’s more addiction, there are more overdoses—I’m talking about drugs generally, not psychedelics. And we have busted taxpayer dollars, and we need to move towards a more health-based approach,” he said.
The measure would also provide for the expungements of prior convictions for offenses that it makes lawful.
The state Department of Public Health would be required to establish a working group “to study and make recommendations regarding possible regulatory systems that California could adopt to promote safe and equitable access to certain substances in permitted legal contexts,” according to the bill text. Those recommendations would be due by January 1, 2024.
Among changes approved in the prior panel are an expansion of the definition of drug paraphernalia used in connection with psychedelics that would no longer carry criminal penalties if possessed by adults.
Published: April 15, 2021