A California Senate bill backed by mental health professionals and veterans groups would decriminalize “magic mushrooms” and ayahuasca, The Los Angeles Times reports.
State Sen. Scott Weiner of San Francisco reintroduced Senate Bill 58 after a previous version was gutted by a state Assembly committee four months earlier amid opposition from law enforcement.
The new bill would decriminalize some psychedelics but excludes LSD and MDMA, which were included in the earlier version.
The bill limits decriminalization to plant-based hallucinogens, such as psilocybin and DMT, which is found in ayahuasca.
Other naturally occurring psychedelics covered by the bill include ibogaine and mescaline.
Health professionals and veterans groups have pushed to legalize the compounds after studies found that they were effective in treating certain disorders.
“Psychedelics have tremendous capacity to help people heal, but right now, using them is a criminal offense,” Wiener said in a statement. “These drugs literally save lives and are some of the most promising treatments we have for PTSD, anxiety, depression, and addiction.”
Some California cities have already decriminalized naturally occurring psychedelics, including San Francisco and Oakland.
“Historically, some people seek out psychedelics for healing when other conventional treatments have failed them,” Dr. Sarah Abedi of the Treatment and Research in Psychedelics Program at the Pacific Brain Health Center told the LA Times.
“Through more destigmatization, decriminalization, education, research, we can start learning more about these treatments,” she added.
Law enforcement opposition:
The previous version of the bill faced stiff opposition from law enforcement groups.
“Without more evidence that these hallucinogenic drugs are no more dangerous than cannabis, we cannot support legalizing them,” the California District Attorneys Association said. “Hallucinations can be dangerous to users and bystanders alike, and it is not clear that the benefit of legalizing these drugs outweighs the cost to the common welfare.”