Home>Articles>Psychedelic Drug Decriminalization Bill Passed in Senate Committee

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

Psychedelic Drug Decriminalization Bill Passed in Senate Committee

SB 519 would decriminalize LSD, ecstasy, other drugs across California

By Evan Symon, April 7, 2021 2:28 am

A bill that would legalize possession of  several psychedelic drugs, such as LSD and psilocybin “magic” mushrooms, was passed by the Senate Public Safety Committee 4-1 on Tuesday.

Senate Bill 519, authored by Senator Scott Wiener (D-San Francisco), would make dimethyltryptamine (psychedelic drug DMT), ibogaine (psychedelic substance), ketamine (“dissociative anesthetic”), lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD), mescaline (psychedelic hallucinogen), psilocybin (magic mushrooms), and 3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine (MDMA, ecstasy, molly) legal to possess for personal use and social sharing. Strict limits on who could use the drug would also be put into place under SB 519, penalizing those who are under the age of 21 for using drugs, as well as possessing the drugs on school property.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. Recent amendments have also added that possession of drug paraphernalia associated with psychedelics will no longer carry criminal penalties as long as they are owned by adults.

Senator Wiener authored the bill, which was first introduced in February, largely to help end mass incarceration that occurred during the war on drugs, as well as to increase scientific and medical testing to help those suffering from mental health conditions such as PTSD and depression. On Tuesday, he added that the intention of the bill was not to promote the usage of LSD and other drugs that would be decrminalized under SB 519, but to get rid of war on drugs-era policies.”By decriminalizing we’re not inviting people to use” said Wiener to the Public Safety Committee on Tuesday. “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.”Despite many lawmakers and groups opposing the bill, the committee passed it 4-1, with Senator Rosilicie Ochoa Bogh (R-Yucaipa) being the sole nay vote.In a tweet made later Tuesday, Wiener added that “Our legislation to decriminalize psychedelics just passed the Senate Public Safety Committee on a 4-1 vote. Psychedelics have so much promise for people’s health & well-being. We need to move away from a drug criminalization model & toward a health approach.”

More opposition against SB 519 expected as bill progresses

More lawmakers and groups are expected to come out against the bill as it progresses in the California legislature. Many are expected to counter medical benefits of decriminalization with the social drawbacks.

“These drugs literally alter your mind and can make you see things,” noted former police officer and current drug counselor Marty Ribera to the Globe. “If it gets far enough, the big guns are going to come out, meaning a lot of witnesses that are family members or friends lost to these drugs or killed by someone high on it. It’s not like alcohol or marijuana, which are both very controlled with severe punishments for misusing them. No, these are dangerous right out of the gate and can cause permanent psychological issues. I’ve had people in their 70’s come in who are still affected from taking LSD and having a bad trip in the 60’s. This is very much different from current legal drugs.

“I’ll admit that there are benefits and that they are generally safer in terms direct deaths, but we haven’t had an entire state legalize this before for longer than a year. Some cities have decriminalized them, but nothing ever this large-scale so that we have data on it. Oregon only voted for this in November. We need to know what to expect and if it’s viable. There’s too much up in the air about it right now.”

SB 519 will be heard next in the Senate Health Committee in the coming weeks.

 

 

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10 thoughts on “Psychedelic Drug Decriminalization Bill Passed in Senate Committee

  1. Scott Wiener looks like the poster child for someone who uses all those drugs on a daily basis.
    Legal to use ecstasy, molly for social sharing? So in other words it will no longer be illegal to “date rape” ?

    1. @Denise: Wiener is gay and Jewish. He is known mainly as an advocate for LGBTQ rights and mental health. None of the substances addressed in SB-519 are “date rape” drugs. Date rape drugs like GHB are sedatives, an entirely different category.

  2. Decriminalization for personal use isn’t the same as legalization. It just means that people found with small amounts of these drugs will not be thrown into prison.
    Drug dealers will still be criminals under this bill.
    Also, molly is not a date rape drug. And obviously giving it to someone unknowingly will still be a crime

  3. This proves that Wiener is a psychopath and a clear and present danger to the normal people of California….
    This guy writes legislation to benefit the minority fringe of the ultra progressive without regard to the societal implications of his bills…

    He should be next on the recall chopping block….

  4. Discrediting someone based upon their appearance, that’s critical thinking right there!

    Using these drugs on a daily basis would be classified as “abusing” them, funny thing is, psychedelics have been proven to be anti- addictive and can actually help people get free from addictive drugs like heroin, cocaine, nicotine, and methamphetamine.

    No one is advocating for “legalizing date rape” by decriminalization these drugs. Rape will remain illegal as it should. Malevolent people will use whatever means necessary to facilitate their horrible actions, the most common “date rape” substance is served freely on every other street corner and grocery store, it’s alcohol! All those other pills in your medicine cabinet that your insurance pays for: xanax,valium,ambien,etc. they are common date rape drugs too! the point is, people will do bad things, please don’t discard thousands of years of religious and spiritual use of these plants and fungi, their potential to heal mental illness and emotional trauma and their ability to help people connect with themselves and others and become more happy, healthy, and whole because of something you heard on the news.

    I sincerely hope you look deeper into some of these things and talk to people that have had their lives transformed for the better or even saved by the plants and fungi that God put here. This also goes for MDMA and ketamine, they are man made medicines, which like anything can be abused, but they also have the potential to save people, the latter would be better served under a doctor or therapist, but the issue here is sending people to prison for something they choose to put into their own body, it’s a health issue not a criminal one.

  5. This is how the slippery slope is developed, even when the intent may or may not be what this will inevitably become.

    In politics, originally only the wealthy could afford to become a public servant since this was a volunteer service for the public good. The wealthy were not dependent upon an income to survive. To open politics to those who weren’t wealthy, it was decided to compensate those who were serving so they could put in their time and return to private life with our suffering undue financial distress…the original intent was obscured as our “public servants” have become career politicians and NEVER returning to private life..it started as a noble idea, then the inevitable happened.

    This legislation WILL turn into a gradual legalization of drugs; add, this same “politician” (Weiner) sponsored legislation that allows sex with minors (down to 14 years of age). Inexplicably, that legislation passed. Put those two together, it doesn’t take a stretch of the imagination to see where the intent is. Pretty soon, sex with minors will be decriminalized in its entirety as well drug use.

    “In January 2019, the San Francisco Examiner reported on the introduction of the bill by State Sen. Scott Wiener (D), who claimed the current law, which states oral and anal sex between an adult within ten years of the age of a willing minor requires the adult to be registered as a sex offender, discriminates against LGBT individuals.”

    According to SB 145, the legislation “would exempt from mandatory registration” as a sex offender “a person convicted of certain offenses involving minors if the person is not more than 10 years older than the minor and if that offense is the only one requiring the person to register.”

    The measure would allow a judge to decide if an adult who engages in oral or anal sex with a child must register as a sex offender if that person is within ten years of the age of the victim.

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