The California State Assembly has passed a bill decriminalizing the personal use of several psychedelic drugs, including the popular “magic mushrooms.” This bill is now expected to be quickly approved by Gov. Gavin Newsom.
The bill successfully cleared the lower house of the California Legislature on Sept. 6 – with 55 members voting in favor, 14 opposing and 22 abstaining. It was initially introduced in the California State Senate by Democratic Sen. Scott Wiener of San Francisco. Before reaching the State Assembly, the bill underwent several amendments – including reducing the allowable amount of the substances and delaying the implementation until 2025.
If Newsom doesn’t veto the proposal, the bill would allow Californians 21 years and older to ingest, possess, cultivate or transport one gram each of psilocybin and psilocin, the active ingredients in psychedelic mushrooms. (Related: “Magic mushrooms” may “reboot” the brain, relieving depression, according to new study.)
The bill also decriminalizes the ingestion, possession, cultivation or transportation of up to four grams of mescaline – excluding peyote – and dimethyltryptamine (DMT) and one gram of DMT for personal use. The distribution and sharing of these substances remain prohibited.
Moreover, the bill directs the California Health and Human Services Agency to create a team of experts to study how these drugs can be used safely for therapy. The group will analyze whether these drugs can help with problems like PTSD, depression, and addiction. The team will also give policy recommendations on drug distribution, safety, production, access, and use for therapeutic purposes.
“We know these substances are not addictive, and they show tremendous promise in treating many of the most intractable conditions driving our nation’s mental health crisis,” Wiener said. “It’s time to stop criminalizing people who use psychedelics for healing or personal well-being.”
California debates over the healing potential versus safety of psychedelics
Supporters of the bill, including criminal justice reformers, veterans’ groups and mental health professionals, argue that psychedelic drugs are nonaddictive and hold potential benefits, especially for individuals dealing with trauma. They emphasize the therapeutic potential of these substances. Conversely, opponents argue that decriminalization could lead to increased drug abuse.