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Scott Wiener
Senator Scott Wiener. (Photo: Kevin Sanders for California Globe)

Psychedelic Drug Decriminalization Bill Narrowly Passes Assembly Committee Vote 5-3

‘It is just straight decriminalization; it’s reckless’

By Evan Symon, June 30, 2021 10:57 am

A bill that would decriminalize possession of  several psychedelic drugs, such as LSD, ecstasy, and psilocybin “magic” mushrooms narrowly passed the Assembly Public Safety Committee 5-3 on Tuesday following late alterations to the bill.

Senate Bill 519 by Senator Scott Wiener (D-San Francisco), would “decriminalize” dimethyltryptamine (DMT), ibogaine (psychedelic substance), 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 propertyPossession 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.

However, SB 519 underwent major changes since its narrow passage in the Senate earlier this month. In earlier iterations, including the Senate-passed version, the drug ketamine was included as one of the decriminalized drugs on the list. However, enough lawmakers said that they would not vote for the bill if ketamine was to be included due to ketamine’s status as one of the most common date-rape drugs, including Assemblyman and Public Safety Committee member Reggie-Jones Sawyer (D-Los Angeles).

Assemblyman Reggie Jones-Sawyer. (Kevin Sanders for California Globe)

“Keeping ketamine would have just confused what you ultimately want to get accomplished,” explained Assemblyman Jones-Sawyer earlier this month.

Others noted that only ketamine was taken off because that was what was needed to keep the bill going forward even though concerns remained about other drugs listed in SB 519.

“We still have many that can hurt people,” explained former police officer and current drug counselor Marty Ribera to the Globe on Wednesday. “Hallucinogens can help in some cases, but they can hurt in so many more. But instead of adding a provision to test people first to make sure they can handle them and that they are the type of people that they would help, it is just straight decriminalization. It’s reckless.”

Despite the ketamine compromise and other cosmetic changes, SB 519 managed to keep enough support due to Senator Wiener continuing to emphasize health benefits, especially in cases of veterans, as well as helping to end mass incarcerations that have been one of the main effects of the war on drugs.

“People’s lives are literally transformed because of these substances,” said Senator Wiener of his bill. “It’s time we acknowledge the benefits of these substances even outside of a clinical study.”

He added in a tweet on Tuesday that “The Assembly Public Safety Committee just passed our legislation to decriminalize possession of psychedelics in California. Another step toward ending the failed & racist War on Drugs & expanding access to mental health & addiction treatment.”

Ketamine removed from bill, other psychedelics continue to be questioned

While many health experts and patients who have shown mental improvement due to psychedelic drug treatments praised the bill earlier this month, much like previous months, some have begun to suggest that some of the drugs should be taken off the list due to their negative effects. Many testifying previously blasted ketamine’s inclusion for its role as a date rape drug, with others denouncing mescaline and LSD included due to the mental effects that hallucinations and trips can have. Others also warned against the “social sharing” provisions due to concerns of higher overdose and death rates from inexperienced users.

Assemblyman Kelly Seyarto. (Photo: AD67)

“Having tried all that was offered to me by military medicine, I was barely holding on. I turned to psychedelics as a last-ditch effort to survive, and fortunately it worked amazingly well,” testified former Army Ranger and president of the Heroic Hearts Project Jesse Gould earlier this month. “But LSD should be excluded because it is married to flashbacks and can result in a trip people can have for the rest of their lives.”

However, despite acknowledging the assistance that some psychedelics provide those suffering from mental trauma, lawmakers from the previous Senate votes still voted against the bill over concerns ranging from how many drugs were still on the list, to expressing the need for a provision that all usage be under the eye of a physician to ensure effectiveness, to still being opposed because o all the negative health benefits and societal problems that such a decriminalization can bring to California.

“While I favor anything that helps veterans, it has to be done in a clinical setting, it has to be done under the watchful eye of a physician to make sure there are no ill effects,” stressed Assemblyman Kelly Seyarto (R-Murrieta) before the committee vote on Tuesday. “This will be just like beer, you just go get the 21-year-old to give you the stuff.”

SB 519 is expected to be heard in additional Assembly committees in July, with close votes among lawmakers being expected once again due to the controversial nature of the bill.

 

Article was corrected to say lawmakers from the previous Senate votes still voted against the bill, rather than many Assembly members.

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17 thoughts on “Psychedelic Drug Decriminalization Bill Narrowly Passes Assembly Committee Vote 5-3

  1. Get ’em high and clueless to what is going on.
    LSD + ecstasy + ‘Shrooms

    LSD puts people into chaotic states and overtime adds to people’s paranoia of things – This will only encourage more use and we will have many more people in constant chaotic or need of pysch evals.

    ecstasy is this not a date drug, basically puts people into touchy feely mode where rape occur often.

    ‘shrooms is another chaotic state type…unreal

  2. How delusional do Sen Scott Wiener and all of those who support this outrage have to be when there are tens of thousands mentally ill (from such substances) and otherwise tortured souls writhing with misery on the streets of California? It’s beyond unbelievable that anyone would pursue this —- and what’s more, at the expense of all of our infinitely more pressing problems in this state —- under such circumstances of homelessness and vagrancy that we are experiencing today. The idea that it is helpful for veterans experiencing PTSD is a trick, a ploy, as supporters well know. Ironic that they would wrap themselves in the flag for this issue only. Not addressed is the issue of legalizing it for every Tom Dick and Harry over 21, which is absurd and dangerous. Meanwhile, the bottom line, as usual, is that there is MONEY in it. Pharmaceutical companies are salivating to get their hands on those paying customers.

    1. Keeping on the pharma stuff….you know they are already lining up to make even more designer drug stuff. It seems the goal of this is to get people hooked to drugs – that way everybody is tripping and won’t realize the Bolsheviks are transforming country into a serfdom state under tyrannical power

      1. Definitely what you describe would be bonus points for what I believe is these people’s general goal of further undermining our institutions and creating more societal chaos than ever, so I agree with you there. But I’ve also come to believe that Scott Wiener is largely about the money on a lot of this stuff in addition to being a societal destroyer. Thus the pharma reference because those donor bucks will always come in handy, you know?
        As I understand it, the hallucinogen/psychedelic class of psychoactive drugs are not addictive in the sense that heroin is but they are called hallucinogens for a REASON. Thus to make these substances readily available on the market would be tempting for young people and others who are looking to have an escape from reality or an experience they have likely heard will transcend their lock-down super-safe lives. Sounds like trouble and a potential for things to go very wrong, doesn’t it? Instead of using psychedelics for “transcendence” I would suggest getting directly in touch with God to fulfill that need, a need that everyone has. This would be more helpful, transcendent, and permanent than fooling around with sketchy magic mushrooms could ever possibly be.
        I also agree with you (if you are the first commenter too, Orwellianism?) that ecstasy will cause one to be touchy-feely to the point of extreme vulnerability in the hands of someone who has unscrupulous and/or malevolent motives.

    2. @showandtell: The “delusion” is that psychedelics are the cause of mental illness. There’s no actual evidence for that. As for precious resources,… do you really want the state to continue arresting and incarcerating people at public expense for possession?

      As for the money-and-pharma angle, you have that one backward. There’s no money in these substances because they are all off-patent. Mescaline and psilocybin, for example, have been shown to be more frequently effective in treating depression and addictions than expensive pharmaceuticals, and yet they are easily produced by individuals for personal use.

      1. @showandtell yes I put orwellianism as my name mainly, but do use the additive “is here” to mean they are putting the seeds down when an article really reflect was is going on.

        @concerncitizen pharma will be allowed to expand their “ingredients” list to make something using these that will easily add profit for them. I bet you will be seeing spin-off pharmas that are all about fun drugs, which they will say does this or that but really is for “fun” use

  3. Please call or email your state representatives to register your opposition to the absurdity known as SB 519 as it goes through this process. It will make a difference.

    1. Please call and email your state representative to register your disapproval of the War on Drugs and especially the pointless and counterproductive prohibition on these substances. If SB 519 passes, it will change lives for the better. If it fails, we’ll still have more years of Vets either committing suicide or flying to Peru to address their PTSD.

  4. What does this actually mean: “… many Assembly members still voted against the bill over concerns ranging from how many drugs were still on the list …” Does “many” refer to the three “no” votes on the committee? This is the only vote ever taken on SB-519 in the Assembly!

  5. Once again – Wiener the San Franfreakshow wiener writes legislation for the benefit of the few, to the detriment of the many…
    In fact, that should be the mantra motto of the California (and national) Democrat Party – for the benefit of the few, to the detriment of the many…

    Why not allow it only under specific, controlled medical administration scenarios, rather than opening a proverbial Pandora’s Box of stoners higher than a kite, tripping out on the highways, streets and byways, and potentially endangering “the many” who ARE NOT using psychedelic drugs for whatever PTSD or other brain-chemistry/emotional/physical issues they might be experiencing….

    Wiener, in his quest to be the “compassionate social justice warrior to the oppressed and afflicted, seems HELL BENT on putting the majority of us at risk with his SJW laws….

    He should be NEXT on the California recall list, as a general menace to a peaceful and FUNCTIONING society….

    1. @CD9,… First of all, “controlled medical administration scenarios” aren’t even available for cannabis, even though it’s legal. Doctors can’t prescribe it. Federally funded researchers can’t administer or even touch the stuff. No amount of state legislation can enable a doctor or a psychotherapist to procure psilocybin for you to accelerate your therapy.

      My best guess is that you’ve never touched psychedelics of any kind at any time in your life. They might be intriguing or beneficial, but few people come away saying they are “fun.” Merry Pranksters notwithstanding, very few people would be motivated to be in public while high on these substances.

  6. You know too much and CARE too much I the topic, Scott, er ConcernedCitizen…

    I had my own lost summer of psychedelycs in college with some buddies and I can tell you that every trip we took was “for fun”..

    As others have mentioned, you wrap yourself in the caring/compassion for “vets suffering from PTSD” but we see through the facade..

    Nice try….
    Oh. I shot your logic to pieces on the voting integrity thread… The security risks are documented and whitewashed on the CA SOS evaluation of Dominion….

  7. @CD9,… If your college psychedelic activity was that much “fun”,… why did you ever stop? Are any of your buddies still using?

    1. I like to play baseball and did so for many years and still believe its fun.
      I like to play videogames and did so for many years and still believe its fun.
      You know people do things that are fun and don’t always continue it forever.

    2. No – they GREW UP and realized that use was DETRIMENTAL to their mental health (paranoia), physical well-being (bad things happened while they were tripping) and their eventual EMPLOYABILITY…..

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