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

Psychedelic Drug Decriminalization Bill Passes Senate In Narrow 21-16 Vote

SB 58 expected to face tough Assembly votes next

By Evan Symon, May 25, 2023 11:55 am

A bill to decriminalize plant-based psychedelic drugs passed the Senate in a close 21-16 vote on Wednesday, moving the controversial bill to the Assembly.

First introduced in December of last year, Senate Bill 58 by Senator Scott Weiner (D-San Francisco) proposed to decriminalize plant-based and other natural hallucinogens such as psilocybin (magic mushrooms), dimethyltryptamine (psychedelic drug DMT), ibogaine (psychedelic substance), and mescaline (psychedelic hallucinogen). In addition, law enforcement would be unable to charge those holding the drugs with a criminal penalty while also still being completely illegal for minors.

SB 58 also would remove bans on having psilocybin or psilocyn spores that can produce mushrooms, and on having drug paraphernalia associated with all decriminalized drugs. Specific limits outlined by the bill include up to 2 grams of DMT, 15 grams of Ibogaine, and 2 grams of Psilocybin.

The bill is a significantly pared down version of SB 519, first introduced in January 2021 by Weiner that would not only have legalized the psychedelics in SB 58, but also would have included synthetic hallucinogens such as lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD), ketamine (“dissociative anesthetic”), and 3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine (MDMA, ecstasy, molly). However, the bill was amended heavily in 2021 and 2022, removing ketamine, peyote derivatives of decriminalized mescaline, and other troubling parts for legislators and opposition groups, including law enforcement agencies. Despite the amendments, the bill was still gutted in August, removing everything but a single study on the use of the remaining drugs. In March, it was finally passed by the Senate Public Safety Committee, with the bill then moving directly to a Senate vote earlier this month.

Voting was expected to be close on Wednesday, especially with many Democrats joining Republicans early on in opposing the bill. Similar psychedelic drug bills have died in the past due to coming short in support. Despite this, the bill managed to squeak by in a full Senate vote, passing 21-16, with three Senators abstaining.

“The Senate just passed our bill (SB 58) to decriminalize possession & use of 5 naturally occurring psychedelics — psilocybin, psilocin, DMT, ibogaine, mescaline,” tweeted Senator Wiener on Wednesday. “These substances aren’t addictive & show promise in treating mental health /addiction. Let’s stop criminalizing them.”

SB 58 goes to the Assembly

In a press release later on Wednesday, Wiener added that new supporters had joined since last year after changes were made to the bill limiting decriminalization even further and ensuring that the bill would cover personal usage only.

“This is a tremendously hopeful step for veterans and all those who wish to benefit from psychedelics to heal from PTSD, anxiety, and depression, or simply to improve their well-being,” added Wiener. “We came extremely close to decriminalizing these promising treatments in the last legislative session, and after deep engagement with stakeholders, we made changes to limit our proposal to naturally occurring substances and retain quantity limits to ensure these five naturally-occurring substances are for personal use only.”

Despite being passed in the Senate, opponents remained optimistic on Thursday that the bill would ultimately fail yet again due to a barrage of hurdles ahead.

“We’re disappointed by the result yesterday, but this is far, far from over,”  explained former police officer and current drug counselor Marty Ribera to the Globe on Thursday. “We have more tricks up our sleeve, so to speak. First off, it needs to pass the Assembly now, and both times before that’s where the bill grounded to a halt. So it isn’t a sure thing, and it passing the Senate could make a lot of lawmakers there think twice if they really want this to pass. Remember, the majority of Californians don’t want this bill to be law. That’s a lot of angry voters at stake. And unlike most issues, decriminalizing these is one issue that people will remember. Campaign ads will be super easy for anyone facing someone who voted for this.”

“After that it goes before Newsom, and lately he’s been shown to be skittish on passing anything too controversial. He’s eyeing higher office in the future, and being the Governor who helped decriminalize some drugs during a time of drug crisis in the state would not bode well for him, especially with moderates. And even after it is passed, lawsuits can come up to block it and challenges could push the matter to a state vote. The Senate vote is only a setback right now, and far from a sure thing.”

“Because you need to remember. Wiener and other supporters may have the votes to pass it in the Senate, but we have the majority of the people on our side. Just because marijuana is legal now doesn’t mean that these will be decriminalized.”

SB 58 is due to be heard in Assembly Committees soon.

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Evan Symon
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9 thoughts on “Psychedelic Drug Decriminalization Bill Passes Senate In Narrow 21-16 Vote

  1. It’s ENOUGH ALREADY with this Sen Wiener and his Merry Band of Looney-Tunes who want, for whatever reason —- it really doesn’t matter, does it? —- to make California more of a chaotic pit of a hellhole than EVER. Maybe because they are emissaries from The Pit? Who knows
    Still has to go through the Assembly. Please find and contact your Assembly rep. If you’ve done it before, please do it again.
    NO on SB 58

    P.S. Interesting vote breakdown. And it WAS close. (Closer than usual.)
    Sure does seem as though Californians’ speaking up are having an effect on this nonsense.
    Apparently Sen Dave Min abstained. Hmm, wonder why…

    1. Check to see if your State Senator voted for the Wieeeeeeennnnnnnnnneeeeeeeerrrrr heads bill and if they did let them know you are not happy. If any SF voters read the Globe and you vote for Wieeeeeeeeeeeennnnnnnnneeeeeerrrrrrr,YOU are part of the problem!

  2. And if it passes, California cartel gangs will be shipping it nation wide before the ink dries.

    1. Fentanyl is what’s making billions for the cartels. It is cheap to produce, easy to conceal, insanely addictive and produces reliable repeat customers for them. And apparently this is this your fear, that cartels will give up selling massive batches of fentanyl and switch over to patiently growing mushrooms, which are nonaddictive and cause people to give up other addictions. What have *you* been smoking? It seems to have caused irrational anxieties. Hope you feel better soon.

      1. Your Democrat masters have made life so miserable in California that many like you have to escape the hellish reality they’ve created by using psychedelics and hallucinogens? Your Democrat masters want as many Californians as possible to not be present in reality so they can get away with their tyrannical rule? If there is any reason to avoid psychedelics, just look at Democrat Senator Scott Weiner’s crazy dead eyes that look windows into hell?

  3. Who were the Democrat senators who voted for the insane abomination of a bill? According to the legislative link in the article, it was the following: Allen, Archuleta, Atkins, Becker, Bradford, Caballero, Cortese, Dodd, Durazo, Eggman, Gonzalez, Laird, McGuire, Menjivar, Newman, Padilla, Roth, Skinner, Smallwood-Cuevas, Stern, Wiener.

  4. Anyone who thinks combating drugs is futile consider this: Penalties for drug offences such as trafficking in Singapore are severe, and include the death penalty. Astonishingly, Singapore doesn’t have a large drug problem and it’s one of the safest cities in the world.

  5. Scott Weiner…the most destructive person in American politics and that includes President Pedo Peter. I am sure this will pass in the assembly and then we get to witness the mass increase in auto accidents as people tripping out on mushrooms and ecstasy crash into the rest of us.

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