California bill seeks to legalize many popular psychedelics

Despite laws against these substances, psychedelics have resurged in popularity, with anecdotal reports claiming everything from increased productivity and creativity to migraine remission, depression relief, and an increased sense of wellbeing. Amid this popularity, California has introduced one of the most ambitious bills related to these drugs.

Last week, California Senator Scott Wiener introduced legislation aimed at decriminalizing certain popular psychedelic substances, including LSD, 'magic mushrooms,' and MDMA, with the goal of establishing a framework for allowing legal use of these drugs. Senate Bill 519 is arguably the most progressive psychedelic proposal in the US.

The new bill was introduced on February 17 and would cover the decriminalization of LSD, psilocin and psilocybin, MDMA, ketamine, mescaline, DMT, and ibogaine. Under the bill, possession of these substances for personal use would be lawful, as would 'social sharing.'

Certain restrictions would be in place, however, including a minimum age of 21 for lawful possession, as well as forbidding the substances on school grounds. Likewise, this bill aims to dismiss and seal both prior and pending convictions related to the possession of these substances for personal use.

A group would be formed to come up with recommendations for regulations pertaining to these psychedelic substances, as well as therapeutic use. Among other things, the bill proposal lists the reason for this decriminalization effort as including:

The War on Drugs has entailed overwhelming financial and societal costs, and the policy behind it does not reflect a modern understanding of substance use nor does it accurately reflect the potential therapeutic benefits or harms of various substances. Criminalization has not deterred drug use, and has instead made drug use less safe.

It has created an unregulated underground market in which difficult-to-verify dosages and the presence of adulterants, including fentanyl, make the illicit drug supply dangerous. Lack of honest drug education has laid the groundwork for decades of misinformation, stigma, and cultural appropriation, which have all contributed to increasing the dangers of drug use.