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Final Vote On Sen. Wiener's Bill To Decriminalize Psychedelics In California Delayed

SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) -- State Sen. Scott Wiener's bill decriminalizing the possession of certain psychedelic drugs became a two-year bill Thursday, keeping it alive so it can be voted on next year.

In a statement released Thursday, Wiener (D-San Francisco) noted that SB519, the first-of-its-kind bill in the state legislature, is making progress.

"While I'm disappointed we couldn't pass SB 519 this year, I'm heartened that the bill moved as deep into the process as it did and that we have a realistic chance of passing it next year," said Wiener. "Given that this idea had never before been introduced in the Legislature, our progress is a testament to the power of the issue and the urgency of the need to act."

SB 519 decriminalizes possession of psilocybin, psilocyn, methylenedioxymethamphetamine ("MDMA"), Lysergic acid diethylamide ("LSD"), Dimethyltryptamine ("DMT"), mescaline (excluding peyote), and ibogaine. The bill does not decriminalize the sale of psychedelics or providing them to anyone under the age of 21.

The bill is similar to ordinances passed in Washington, D.C., Oakland, and Santa Cruz. Advocates for the bill point out that it lessens the detrimental impact of the "War On Drugs" by punishing less people for drug possession. It also allows use of psychedelics for health reasons, as an increasing amount of studies show that psychedelics have great promise in the treatment of mental health and substance use disorders.

"Decriminalizing psychedelics is an important step in ending the failed War on Drugs, and we are committed to this fight. Our mental health crisis is worse than ever, and psychedelics have shown great promise in treating mental health issues from PTSD to anxiety and depression," Wiener stated. "I look forward to working hard to continue this fight."

The bill is expected to go in front of the state assembly for a full vote some time next year.

SB 519 was also co-authored by Senator Josh Newman (D-Fullerton) and Sydney Kamlager (D-Los Angeles) and Assemblymembers Evan Low (D-San Jose), Alex Lee (D-Fremont) and Bill Quirk (D-Hayward).

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