Home>Articles>Psychedelic Drug Decriminalization Bill Passes Senate Public Safety Committee

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

Psychedelic Drug Decriminalization Bill Passes Senate Public Safety Committee

Another new Assembly Bill with narrower focus quickly gains support

By Evan Symon, March 23, 2023 1:24 pm

A bill to decriminalize plant-based psychedelic drugs was passed by the Senate Public Safety Committee this week completing the bill’s first major hurdle, while a new major challenge to the bill has quickly gained support in the Assembly.

First introduced in December of last year, Senate Bill 58 by Senator Scott Weiner (D-San Francisco) would 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 would also remove bans on having psilocybin or psilocyn spores that can produce mushrooms and on having drug paraphernalia associated with all decriminalized drugs.

The bill is a significantly pared down version of SB 519, first introduced in January 2021 by Weiner that would have not only 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 and other troubling parts for legislators and oppositions groups, such as law enforcement agencies. Despite the changes, the bill was still gutted in August, removing everything but a single study on the use of the remaining drugs. SB 58 continued to water down the bill, removing peyote from the proposed decriminalization list and removing a provision to study future reforms.

The effort to make the decriminalization more palatable for lawmakers appeared to be working on Tuesday, with the Senate Public Safety Committee voting 3-1 to pass the bill.

Before the vote on Tuesday, Senator Wiener noted that “These are not addictive drugs. And these are drugs that have significant potential in helping people to navigate and to become healthy who are experiencing mental health, challenges substance use challenges.”

“We know that cities in California and elsewhere have passed resolutions to categorize enforcement of these particular criminal laws as the lowest law enforcement priority. This is an important step for California. This is about making sure that people have access to substances that they need that are not addictive.”

Rival bill in Assembly expected to challenge SB 58

However, while SB 58 did ultimately move this week, another bill on the horizon in the Assembly is now threatening to derail it. Assembly Bill 941, authored by Assemblywoman Marie Waldron (R-Valley Center), was introduced last month. According to AB 941, certain psychedelic drugs would be green-lighted for use, but only in psychedelic-assisted therapy sessions for combat veterans.

Marie Waldron
Assemblywoman Marie Waldron. (Photo: Kevin Sanders for California Globe)

The bill, also known as the End Veteran Suicide Act, takes a more cautious approach and would authorize a licensed professional clinical counselor to administer controlled substances to combat veterans. Psychedelic-assisted therapy would be required to take place over a minimum of 30 sessions, with therapy sessions to be a minimum of 12 hours in duration. The bill would also require 2 or 3 licensed professional clinical counselors  present per patient at a psychedelic-assisted therapy session.

While the bill is currently awaiting to be heard in the Assembly, many law enforcement and medical professionals noted that AB 941 is preferable to SB 58 due to more of a controlled and monitored use, as well as the serving as more of a test to see if psychedelic treatments could then be expanded to more Californians in a safe and effective manner.

“Wiener’s bill is more one size fits all,” explained former police officer and current drug counselor Marty Ribera to the Globe on Thursday. “This other bill is a bit more tailored. Psychedelic treatment isn’t for everyone. And rather than just decriminalize willy-nilly, AB 941 can help bring along a pathway to use them for good, and more critically, to identify the people who can benefit from their treatment and making sure that using them would not bring on any negative side effects like depression, long-term psychosis, or in more of a social context, bad trips.”

“We need this to be on a case by case basis and  to have a small pool to test on to make sure his type of therapy can work like this.  Psychedelics can help treat major issues like PTSD. We have the research. But we also see psychedelics ruin peoples lives. I’ve always said, for every success story there are two others that tried it on their own and ruined their life. We need to be open to this as a treatment, but also very cautious about it.”

“AB 941 seems to be the better option because of it’s slow approach that leaves the door open to a wider treatment once we know how to administer it correctly. More and more support is going behind that one instead of the Wiener bill now. It’s just more responsible.”

SB 58 is due to be voted on next in the Senate Appropriations Committee soon.

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17 thoughts on “Psychedelic Drug Decriminalization Bill Passes Senate Public Safety Committee

  1. Hopefully Republican Assemblywoman Marie Waldron’s more reasonable bill AB 941 will derail psycho Democrat Senator Scott Wiener’s bill.

    1. Why? It only allows the use for suicide prone military veterans. Maybe you should read up on the psychedelic drugs before you decide only suicidal veterans can use them, they have been proven to help large numbers of people get quit addicting drugs like heroin and meth.

  2. “…AB 941 is preferable to SB 58 due to more of a controlled and monitored use, as well as the serving as more of a test to see if psychedelic treatments could then be expanded to more Californians in a safe and effective manner.”

    I don’t believe that many people would object to a clinically monitored and supervised use of these drugs for medical purposes. AB941 seems reasonable. Recreational use is a different matter entirely.

  3. Sen Scott Wiener’s continual push for this is clearly insane; all the more so in the deadly psychotic drug-fueled vagrant street-and-beyond nightmare we have been witnessing and swimming in for YEARS. Full-strength or watered-down Wiener’s zombie SB 58 needs to be SHUT DOWN ENTIRELY. This is viewed by him as the camel’s nose in the tent. Shut. It. Down. “Studies” are not needed anyway, okay? They already exist in stacks and stacks of old hippie-era “scholarly” books that contain exhaustive fetishistic studies and writings on psychedelics. Please.

    Wiener is pushing it because there is apparently a lot of money in pharmaceutical-izing this stuff and legitimizing it. Why is there so much money in it? Don’t ask. I can’t stomach telling you at the moment.

    Where did this idea come from anyway that “combat veterans” would benefit from psychedelic drugs in a therapist-guided setting or any other? Do they just make this stuff up in an attempt to gain traction? (Reminder: The state is engaged in handing out therapist wings like candy at the moment to every warm body.) “Combat veterans” wanting better lives and respite and peace from nightmares and memories and ragged life outcomes would do well, as we all would, to become acquainted with God, be renewed by Him, and follow Him. THAT is the best and really only prescription for what plagues us all.
    For this reason I also oppose AB 941.

  4. Look at creepy Democrat Senator Scott Weiner and his crazy soulless bug eyes? His bill would decriminalize hallucinogens and law enforcement would be unable to charge those holding the drugs with a criminal penalty even though hallucinogens will be illegal for minors? How is that supposed to work? Weiner probably abuses hallucinogens and other illicit drugs while cruising Folsom Street looking for vulnerable youth while wearing his crotchless leather pants?

  5. What are you going to do when it goes mainstream in the dangerous and murderous population stalking us innocent, disarmed people?
    When you are bat bleep crazy, you are going to wild on hallucinogens.

  6. You are so right. There is a lot of common sense in your comment. Why would you have suffering people take mind-altering drugs? Drugs may be why they are in this state to begin with. They want a drugged out, stupid, and nonfunctional population; better to manipulate and control.

    Weiner is also pushing decriminalizing sex between men and teen boys. He’s a sick man, like most of the Powers that Be in California.

  7. To those who are still regurgitating old stereotypes re psychedelics are evil and bad and it’s insane to use them for therapeutic purposes obviously have never looked at the data or had first hand experiences with them as actual medicine. You guys are stuck in Nixon era propaganda sort to say.
    20 US soldiers die a day to suicide. Our current system pumps them full of drugs with tons of side effects. Some need to be sedated due to the trauma in their nervous system and due to ideation. Our current treatment programs are failing them overall and creating addicts in process.
    I will speak for myself. Army Vet. PTSD. Suicidal ideation. Comes out of nowhere. Hard to function. Tried all the meds. Therapy.
    Then I tried low doses of psilocybin and therapy and it saved my life. I can function. I’m not addicted to substances. I don’t need meds everyday. Miraculous. When I hear you guys saying this is some wild tactic to let more libs be free to party and cause havoc it just makes me realize you are closed minded and stuck in old misinformation used to keep Americans in check throughout the failed drug war. Look at the data. Listen to people that have working knowledge of this topic. I believe it’s the future if therapy. These substances open your mind and get you past your programming and allow for deep self acceptance and knowledge. Can they be abused ? Sure. But it’s different. No one is out robbing banks or turning tricks to support a. Mushroom habit. Lol Doesn’t work like that. Alcohol is far more dangerous than any of these substances and we should be allowed to decide what we can and cannot put in our bodies. I had to say something because all these comments stink of entitled ignorance steeped in antiquated sensationalism that lacks empathy and is devoid of working knowledge. I’m alive because of proper use age along with therapy and have zero desire to use drugs or alcohol and I’m grateful to be alive and I trust that God has my back. I have hope. All the Xanax and antidepressants shoved into me only kept me sedated and numb. Nothing good for actual healing. Open your minds I think if the majority of the people who posted these vile comments actually had the experience of trying even a small amount of psilocybin (.30 gram microdose) you would end up deleting most of these ignorant baseless posts you made as a result because quite plainly , you are just completely ignorant and only looking at it through an old scratched and foggy lens. That being said as with all things , even food , there are risks. Adults should be able to be allowed to mitigate those risks. Truth is all drugs are available at anytime to anyone. To penalize people like myself who just want ti function normally by using a substance that’s relatively safe (look at the data ) Well that’s just plain wrong.

  8. It is time for the California Legislature to represent the people of California and our future generations. The entire array of bills from Weiner, Bonta and others pushing drug legalization of any kind is murder. This along with all their transgender bills, and green agenda has got to be stopped now. We need a legislature that is going to grow our state with water projects, agricultural development, manufacturing, nuclear and fusion enegery and a classical education for our children. I am calling on my fellow Califonians to stand with me and run for office to take back our California Legislature. Mindy Pechenuk, Republican Candidate for CA State Assembly 18 in 2024

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