Home>Articles>Bill to Decriminalize LSD, MDMA, Hallucinogens, Psychedelic Drugs Headed for Full Senate Vote

Senator Scott D. Wiener (Kevin Sanders for California Globe)

Bill to Decriminalize LSD, MDMA, Hallucinogens, Psychedelic Drugs Headed for Full Senate Vote

Opponents remain optimistic despite Thursday’s vote

By Evan Symon, May 20, 2021 3:05 pm

A bill that would decriminalize possession of  several psychedelic drugs, such as LSD, ketamine, and psilocybin “magic” mushrooms was saved from being held in suspense this session by being approved by the Senate Appropriations Committee 5-2 on Thursday.

Senate Bill 519, authored by Senator Scott Wiener (D-San Francisco), would “decriminalize” dimethyltryptamine (DMT), ibogaine (psychedelic substance), ketamine, lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD), mescaline (psychedelic hallucinogen), psilocybin (magic mushrooms), and 3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine (MDMA, ecstasy, molly) possession for personal use and social sharing.

SB 519 would also set strict limits on possession of the listed psychedelics, penalizing those who are under the age of 21 for using drugs, as well as possessing the drugs on school property. Possession of drug paraphernalia associated with psychedelics will no longer carry criminal penalties as long as they are owned by adults. Those with prior criminal offenses for possession and use would have also have their records expunged under the bill, with the California Department of Public Health to come up with regulations and therapeutic uses of the legalized psychedelics by 2024.

Senator Wiener wrote the bill largely to help end war on drugs-era policies such as mass incarceration of individuals jailed for having non-seller quantities on them when arrested, as well as to increase scientific and medical testing to help those suffering from mental health conditions such as PTSD and depression.

“By decriminalizing we’re not inviting people to use” said Senator Wiener in early April. “We’re taking, instead of a criminal approach to drug use, a health-minded approach. SB 519 is a step toward dismantling the failed and racist War on Drugs, because locking people up for drug use doesn’t work.”

To bring that point home, his most recent amendment to SB 519 added a section detailing how Oregon, as well as cities across the United States including Oakland, Santa Cruz, Ann Arbor, MI, Somerville, MA, and Cambridge, MA have all passed some form of psychedelic decriminalization measures. Other cities that passed such measures, such as Northampton, MA and Denver, had not been added by Wiener as of the last amendment.

A long road to the suspense file vote

SB 519 has had a rocky road to the Senate floor, with numerous Senators in each committee either voting against the bill or electing to not vote. However, it has managed to squeak by each time, with the 5-2 vote on Thursday continuing the trend.

Thursday’s vote differed though, due to the bill being in a suspense file. With looming passage deadlines, SB 519 was one of hundreds placed in the file earlier this month because of the financial impact it may have. Bills in the suspense file are also not up for debate, only relying on a simple yea/nay vote. SB 519 was thus moved up by a simple 5-2 majority.

Supporters celebrated the vote result on Thursday, with Senator Wiener tweeting out “Our legislation to decriminalize psychedelics, SB 519, passed a key committee and will be voted on by the full Senate within the next two weeks.”

However, opponents remained optimistic despite the vote on Thursday.

“It is still being voted against by a significant percentage,” said former police officer and current drug counselor Marty Ribera to the Globe on Thursday. “No one is caving in. And once it hits the big votes in the Senate and Assembly, when citizens can really make their voices heard, they are going to be bombarded by a lot of citizens against this. They won a few battles, but the war really hasn’t started yet.”

SB 519 is due to be voted on in the Senate by June 4th. If passed, it will then move on to an Assembly Committee.

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77 thoughts on “Bill to Decriminalize LSD, MDMA, Hallucinogens, Psychedelic Drugs Headed for Full Senate Vote

    1. Here’s mine:
      SB519 will promote promiscuous use and provide a gateway to other hardcore drugs if enacted. Law enforcement and parent organizations oppose the legalization of these mind-altering drugs; as do a majority of ordinary citizens. The exception would be in the drug dens of San Francisco where Senator Weiner serves. I would recommend that YOU oppose this legislation.

      1. @Raymond: SB 519’s most vocal supporters are combat vets with PTSD. Most citizens want the vets to get better, rather than tossing them in jail or making them travel outside the USA to get treatment.

        The problem here is lack of education. If you would review actual research, you’d find that the materials in the bill do not have addictive potential, and have a pretty good track record of releasing people from addictions. Bill W (founder of AA) is the best known addict whose life was changed by LSD, back before it was put on Schedule I.

          1. P.S. An lets not forget that a “harmless” drug can be made “lethal” when laced with Fentanyl. Would these new legalized drugs be coming from China? I suppose THAT would be one way to find a solution to the homeless problem, eh? That would NOT be MY approach.

          2. @Raymond, there is zero evidence for dependency on MDMA, psilocybin, LSD, ibogaine. As I’ve pointed out, psychedelic experiences have been used successfully to cancel dependency on alcohol, tobacco, opiates and other truly addictive drugs.

            Of course there are companies forming who want to make money by developing psychedelic therapies. Are you against capitalism? Especially Thiel, who is the poster boy for venture capital investment. It should be noted, however, that SB-519 doesn’t change criminal penalties for selling or even possession for purpose of sale. It doesn’t exactly advance Thiel’s objectives.

          3. Concerned Citizen, your naivete borders on pathetic. Legalizing marijuana has created a booming business for the drug cartels who have moved their production facilities to LA county (recent Globe article). These same cartels will make a fortune on the drugs you want to make legal. If there’s money to be made you can be sure that the criminal element will be there, legalized or not. Legalizing the drugs simply removes the barrier of drug enforcement and makes it EASIER for them. GROW UP.

        1. This is nonsense, “Concerned Citizen.” To repeat, the state should not be promoting use of psychotropic substances in any event, and certainly not now, with so much psychosis already on the streets and elsewhere. Really, it’s absurd.
          As I’m sure you know, there was, and probably still is, a school of thought that people could open their creative minds, enlighten themselves, “see God,” lift neuroses, etc., through hallucinogenic drugs, but it seems to me the potential for lingering psychoses and other things that can and do go wrong have been conveniently left out of that discussion. They don’t even want to be truthful about the downside of marijuana, for crying out loud, which can trigger psychosis in young people and cause a whole host of other health and life problems.
          I say, whether it’s pot or heroin, LSD or mushrooms, the generation that used this stuff most widely in their youth and beyond is now running the state of California, and look at what a mess we’re in now because of THEIR wacky thinking.

          1. @showandtell, be careful what you call “nonsense!” The State already promotes alcohol, tobacco and prescription opiates. These materials are actively advertised in public media, and they are dramatically addictive (ever heard of the Sackler family?). Cannabis less so, but about 6 percent of the population with easy access to cannabis will develop a pattern of chronic use. This is definitely not true for psychedelics. Studies have demonstrated that these drugs have the lowest potential for habituation of any known psychoactive material. And not just a little bit lower, but unmeasurable.
            There’s more than just a “school of thought” on managing mental illness. There’s solid scientific evidence.
            Cannabis is not a psychedelic.
            I understand that, in your mind, psychedelics are “just like” pot and heroin. The problem is that this is simply false. Broad associations of drug use and politics you don’t like is impossible to refute, because it’s all in your head.

          2. “…psychedelic experiences have been used successfully to cancel dependency on alcohol, tobacco, opiates and other truly addictive drugs.”

            Sure dude, when you’re tripping out of your mind on psychedelics, who NEEDS “alcohol, tobacco, opiates or other addictive drugs”…

            Not without medical supervision, under physical control to prevent you stoners from driving high, or otherwise exposing normal citizens to your self-indulgent behaviors and desires….

  1. Just sent CA State Senator an email! Vote on No on SB519!
    We must let them know this can lead to unintended consequences.
    Enough with the drug culture whether it be legal or not!

  2. Weiner is determined to destroy this state. Just imagine how many “homeless”, drug addicted and mentally ill people will be wandering the streets should this pass.

    1. @CW: Just imagine how many addicts and mentally ill people, plus combat vets with PTSD will get relief from their condition and rejoin productive society rather than wandering the streets.

      I get that you find this difficult to believe because it runs against what we’ve all been indoctrinated with for decades. Do you trust science? Do you believe published and reviewed research has any meaning at all? Or do you have more faith in Richard Nixon (source of the Controlled Substances Act) than in facts?

      1. Right. It’s time to change the old ” Reefer Madness” indoctrination and believe SCIENCE !! AGREED !

      2. How about just doing your mushrooms or whatever, “Concerned Citizen,” readily available to you I’m sure, and leave the stamp-of-approval legislation out of it?
        You obviously have an interest in seeing widespread use of this stuff, and I’d love to know what your interest REALLY is. Concern about vets? PLEASE. We’re not buying it here. Come clean!

        1. @Showandtell, there’s no “stamp of approval” here. No new industry that will advertise and promote products. Just an end to incarceration of people and the threat of incarceration or losing a job when all we want is to live productive lives. I have friends who are vets and friends who are not vets. Some of my vet friends earned purple hearts. I’m thinking of one in particular who is still in the service as a physician. He can’t wait to get out so he can medicate and not worry about what happens the next time he’s randomly pee-tested. He can’t go to concerts and similar events because it triggers him. Guys like him, who served in Iraq, guys (and their wives) who slept with one eye open, listening for incoming ordnance month after month have it worse than anybody else I’ve seen. And why should I and my friends be threatened with jail time for self-help behavior that increases productivity, health and well-being? Just because you and your friends can’t believe research? Why is that so hard to accept?

          1. @Concerned Citizen, one solution to these “problems” for you and your friends (all five of them) would be to move to Alaska or better yet Canada. You can start an off-grid commune, build log cabins and live off the land. You folks could hunt and fish and breathe fresh air. There would be clean water to drink and access to natural resources. No silly rules to follow or drug-testing to worry about. If you folks can make a go of it, out in the wilderness with the wolverines and bears, in a few years who knows, someone might offer you folks a reality TV show on National Geographic or Discovery Channel.

  3. Weiner is a complete asswipe…

    Here’s your dog whistle term, so you know this legislation is complete bovine excrement :

    “failed and racist “

  4. Take a good look at Weiner, I believe his bill is self-serving and that he was under the influence when he penned the bill.

  5. With 60,000 homeless on the streets of LA county now, a significant number of whom are mental ill or drug addicted, what could possible go wrong? Thanks, Senator Wiener, you certainly are a problem solver.

    1. @James: “…what could possible go wrong?” To begin with, some fraction of the people who are mentally ill will stop having symptoms and join the rest of society. Per current research, people with depression do better after psychedelic experiences than people who are medicated with SSRIs. Ibogaine works on a larger fraction of addicts than any other treatment, and that after only one and sometimes two sessions.

      1. How come people like “Concerned Citizen” always show up to promote their drug legalization propaganda but never show up at any other time for any other issue that is destroying California? Hmm?

        1. @Showandtell, I assume you have no PTSD. The crazy thing is that, statistically, if you have any friends at all, you are likely to know somebody with PTSD. If you have a job that puts you in regular contact with people in the service, or if you have family members who wear the uniform, if you befriend even a fraction of those people to the point that they will be honest with you about what their lives are actually like, you are guaranteed to have friends with PTSD that cannot be treated by any means the VA has to offer. Maybe you think they are weak and not worthy to be your friends because they are alcoholics or opiate-addicts. But these are typical manifestations of PTSD.

          1. Concerned Citizen, stop grandstanding by waving the American flag at us. You have no idea how many people on this forum have sacrificed and served this country in the military. Furthermore, I would estimate that none of your critics HERE would object to “medical marijuana” or medicinal use of ANY drugs under SUPERVISED CARE. The issue is LEGALIZATION.

  6. There is no point in having LSD, mushrooms, peyote, mescaline, and DMT criminalized. These are harmless
    drugs used by harmless people who are going to use them whether criminalized or not.

    My attitude is different on the others. Isn’t ketamine used as a horse tranquilizer and a date rape drug? Why
    do you need that? Don’t some of these other drugs have bad physical side effects?

    1. @Jay: You have that shoe on the wrong foot! The whole purpose of the psychedelics is “to liberate us.”

      1. BLM is the cutting edge of Democrat policy. They explicitly reject rational thought, reason, science, math and everything else that reason and sanity demand. Flooding the streets with psychedelics will produce the type of society Democrats want: One ruled by psychotic violence.

        Remember the “medicinal” pot lie?

        1. YES, I remember the “medicinal” pot lie all too well, CW. These people NEVER stop lying when it serves them. NEVER. They are sociopaths and con artists.

        2. @CW. Maybe I missed it. What does BLM have to do with psychedelics?

          Again,… Cannabis isn’t a psychedelic. Just like spinach isn’t a fruit.

          1. Pot can induce severe mental illness (well documented fact). BLM is the true manifestation of the Democrat party. When they reject sanity and reason it means that the Democrats do too. I have known people who have used psychedelics. These drugs permanently damage their brains and personalities.

            Stoned and brain damaged crazy people are easily manipulated into violence hence the Democrat interest in legalizing dangerous drugs.

  7. The article states: Those with prior criminal offenses for possession and use would have also have their records expunged under the bill,…” Just before the suspense file hearing, Wiener amended the bill to remove expungement and resentancing. So this part of the article is no longer accurate.

  8. Democrat “science” is a joke. It is the opposite of actual science based on observation and facts. The object here is to harm people, put them on the street and make them violent, psychotic and an enormous drain on society. Pot legalization is expanding the “homeless” population by leaps and bounds.

  9. I would like to know where is the California Narcotics Association. Why aren’t they stopping this. Wiener is an idiot you and I need to stop him. Better yet somebody should have his mental state checked and check him for drug use.

    1. @Eric Hartman: If you actually meant the “California Narcotics *Officers* Association,” they are one of a few opponents of SB-519, and they’ve had someone call into every hearing to voice opposition. Their position is that officers need the flexibility to arrest people at will. Otherwise society will fall apart.
      In case it isn’t already obvious, I consider CNOA’s position to be anti-American and rampantly authoritarian.

      1. @Concerned Citizen, why don’t you just be HONEST and admit that helping people with PTSD is the least of your concerns. That what you REALLY want as a political activist is the ability to have UNFETTERED access and use of these dangerous drugs.

  10. If your plan can kill humans, then you must be a Democrat. The Brotherhood of Death. Think of all their plans that became legal: marijuana, releasing prisoners, organ transplants which Harvard devised a new definition of death (an organ donor is brain dead but your cardio-pulminary is still alive), abortion, so-called “contraceptives” (birth control hormones prevent the conceived embryo from implanting on the womb = ends up in toilet, doctor-assisted suicide.

    1. If there is a difference between the religion of Moloch and the Democrat party it must be so small as to escape notice.

  11. Hey look, everybody!!

    Scott Weiner himself is here supporting the article, and calling himself “Concerned Citizen”…

    Sorry Scott, the small percentage of “patients” who need psychotropic medical treatments can receive them from their physicians in a clinically supervised environment, WITHOUT general societal LEGALIZATION and the risk of screwing up the living conditions, safety and security of the general population by having the drug-addled stoners negatively affecting non-users’ lives and livelihoods….
    Nice try, though….

    1. @CD9,…. nice try. I’m not Scott. I’m not Jewish, I’m not gay. I am a civilian working in the defense industry. No, the most effective medications for PTSD and depression known cannot be prescribed by physicians and are not available in any pharmacy. And this is all for no other reason than persistent ignorance,…
      I expect that you really do care about CA, but on topics related to TBI and combat injury you really have no clue what you’re talking about.

      1. Concerned Citizen, just a question. Does your job in the defense industry require a security clearance?

          1. I understand, Concerned Citizen. No problem. So your employer is required to provide a drug-free working environment and you and friends are complying with the requirements to maintain your security clearances; including random testing. So, besides the altruistic goal to relieve the pain and suffering from PTSD, there is another benefit of legalizing these drugs in California for you and friends, no? That would be that CA legalization opens an avenue for an employee like yourself to sue the employer and federal government if you ARE terminated for drug use. I’m not a lawyer but my guess is that “unlawful termination” or “discrimination” would be an EEO claim. It would be a state law versus federal law case. That case would probably go to the 9th Circuit Court and with 29 liberal judges, who knows. I can see where it could work.

          2. @Raymond, that’s an interesting idea, to sue under EOO. I never thought of suing an employer for the right to use drugs. It seems like an expensive and very risky thing to do. Thing is, those still in the service can’t do that because they are under the Uniform Code of Military Justice. And, since CA is an “at-will” employment state, civilian employees don’t have easy recourse either, unless an employer actually discriminates on the basis of their membership in one of the enumerated protected groups.

            Despite the kookiness that denies people access to the most effective medicines, federal and CA law is not a dumb as you might think it is.

          3. Concerned Citizen, I see. So you or a friend have already actually looked into this. Well, UCMJ that’s a pickle, eh?

      2. Concerned Citizen, one of my family members had his life destroyed by psychedelic drugs. They offer no benefit and they sure as hell did not benefit him. So why don’t you go back to your hippie hut.

        1. @John, what specific drug destroyed your family member’s life? Thanks for offering the hippie bait, not taking it.

  12. Thank goodness for those who have stood up against the emotional blackmail by Concerned Citizen, who must have missed life in the 60’s where these drugs were being used with awful consequences. If the goal of Concerned Citizen is to help Vets then he needs to call his representatives in H.Q. and ask that they write a bill allowing medical doctors to prescribe the needed drugs for specific patients. It would be good to also look up ALL the bills Scott Weiner has written and pushed; they tell all about his mindset and goals. He is dangerous.

    1. @B.H.: That’s not how the legal system works. No physician can prescribe anything on Schedule I, no matter what CA legislates. As for contacting Feinstein, Padilla and local Congressmember (who could actually help implement what you’re suggesting): been there, done that.

      1. @Concerned Citizen. With respect to Schedule I drugs, that would include Marijuana, which is still considered Schedule I by DEA under federal law. But, LEGAL under California law. Actually, THAT might be a good test case if you or a friend wanted to try it.

        1. Raymond, I suspect “Concerned Citizen” may actually be an OPPONENT of SB519 just as much as the others on this thread. Think about it. Nothing else could have galvanized Californians to call or email their state senator to VOTE NO on SB519 as effectively as what he/she has said. I respect a Machiavellian approach.

        2. @Raymond: no, legality under CA law has no bearing on drug use by people with clearances or generally anyone in the service. The annual list of do-and-don’t states explicitly that even CBD oil use will show up in a pee test as a cannabinoid, and is grounds for pulling a clearance and disciplinary action. This doesn’t apply to veterans unless they take a post-discharge job that requires them to maintain their clearance.

          1. My, my Concerned Citizen. And don’t forget to mention “designer drugs” which are NOT on Schedule I. Those are also no-no per Federal law. You and your friends might have to get together and run for Congress. If one of you can get there soon, AOC and Squad would be there to help. Why bother with little old California?

    2. “emotional blackmail”??? Like, “Do what I say or I’ll make you feel bad about yourself?” Can you explain that?

  13. I look forward to the day when the (mostly) old generation still stuck in the old ways and old view of the world finally dies. War on Drugs is a failure and the people that support it just need to perish so we can move forward, ok boomer!

    1. Have at it, Pepe. All the drugs you want and then you’ll be happy. You already sound sooooo enlightened.

  14. I knew in reading the title it would be from Weiner.

    This is the slippery slope once you legalized Marijuana everything else is going to follow…it won’t end until everyone has a bag of cocaine on the kitchen table.

    Drugged up people are easier to manipulate, as they wont notice that fascism and orwellianism has taken over until its too late.

    1. The War on Drugs has been used to erode the fourth amendment into being worth far less than the parchment it was written on. “I smell weed” is an easy and irrefutable excuse for agents of the state to search and seize whatever private property they want to. If that isn’t Orwellian, I don’t know what is.

  15. A few years ago, I probably would have opposed something like this, but now I’m excited to see this bill make progress towards becoming law. The War on Drugs is the most epic policy failure of the 20th century that has carried over to the present time. Every step towards reversing it and the utterly unnecessary harm it has wrought upon millions of people makes me happy. That whole “prohibition” thing our country tried back in the 1920s was a failure of epic proportions, so it was repealed. What makes the War on Drugs any different?

    The War on Drugs and our country’s hyper-focus on criminalizing everyone for everything is the reason why the United States houses a large fraction of the world’s prisoners (20%+) . It’s also one reason why so many people are homeless (criminal record = no housing or employability). Imprisoning people and giving them criminal records which carry lifelong consequences certainly don’t help make them productive members of society, though they do permit more funding to be funneled towards the prison system and allow for more thirteenth amendment-sanctioned free prison labor.

    “I smelled weed” or “I observed loose white powder which looked like [insert name of controlled substance]” (when it’s actually glaze from a donut or talcum powder; no, really, people have spent months in jail over that before) are phrases that have led to the death of the fourth amendment and legal due process. It’s no wonder law enforcement opposes this bill; they want to be able to search anyone and their property for anything that could be used to make an arrest, and the vaguest suspicion of “drug possession” is extremely effective to this end. The end of the War on Drugs will also mark the end to a nonzero fraction of funding for law enforcement agencies. Whatever “public safety” bs they offer in opposition to this legislation definitely won’t mention either of those reasons.

    As a society, we accept people of a minimum age (21) being allowed to drink alcohol and smoke tobacco, which are both provably far more addictive and damaging to society as a whole than psychedelics and many (but not all) other controlled substances. Why single out certain substances while allowing others? It makes absolutely no sense to me.

    Take the billions of dollars that we give law enforcement to fight the War on Drugs and use it (along with all the sin tax levied on the lawful, legally regulated sale of psychoactive substances to people over the age of 21) to instead fund mental health treatment for all those evil “druggie” homeless people who are probably self-medicating for their otherwise untreated mental illness. That would be one way to fix or at least put a dent in the homeless “crisis” that people endlessly bitch about while sitting in their million-dollar houses.

    Of course, operating a motor vehicle while impaired, being under the influence in public, selling drugs to kids at school, etc. should all remain illegal, and the civil standard for negligence and harm resulting from drug impairment shouldn’t be done away with; those who use drugs must take responsibility for their actions while on drugs. However, what adults choose to put into their bodies on their private property and on their own time shouldn’t be subject to state intervention and criminalization.

    1. A few years ago, I would not have believed a bill like this could make it all the way to the Senate floor, with a better-than-even chance of becoming law this year. I think this comes from a confluence of factors:

      1. Research into psychedelics as serious medicine restarted, and is now showing remarkably positive results.

      2. PTSD is now recognized not only as a serious matter, but one that can be addressed by these drugs that have been treated like plutonium for decades.

      3. Veterans are rightly demanding access, and a much wider portion of society is ready to hear their plea for help.

      4. The War on Drugs was truly a success, in the sense of successfully imprisoning minorities and dissidents. Now that the “war’s” real intent is obvious, society is done with it.

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