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State Sen. Scott Wiener Introduces Bill To Decriminalize Psychedelic Drugs

SACRAMENTO (BCN/CBS SF) -- State Sen. Scott Wiener, D-San Francisco, on Thursday unveiled a bill to decriminalize the use and possession of some psychedelic drugs.

Senate Bill 519, would legalize psilocybin -- the key ingredient in magic mushrooms -- psilocyn, 3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine (MDMA), lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD), ketamine, dimethyltryptamine (DMT), ibogaine and mescaline with the exception of peyote.

psilocybin mushrooms
Psilocybin mushrooms (Bay City News)

The bill would also expunge the criminal records of people convicted of having or using those psychedelics.

Wiener had announced last November that he planned to introduce such a bill.

Wiener -- the State Senator for District 11, which compromises San Francisco, Daly City, Colma, Broadmoor, and parts of South San Francisco -- outlined the plan with a thread of several tweets posted on November 10, 2020.

"These drugs have been shown to have medicinal value treating depression, PTSD & other conditions," he said in his first tweet on the subject. "We need to stop criminalizing drug use & addiction."

"There's strong support for ending the failed War on Drugs, which criminalizes communities of color & those suffering from addiction," Wiener said in a subsequent tweet.

Wiener went on to cite how both Oregon and the District of Colombia made moves towards decriminalizing psilocybin -- the psychoactive element in psychedelic mushrooms -- in the November 2020 election. Oregon voters passed a measure that could eventually lead to the legalization of psilocybin, while Washington D.C. residents voted to decriminalize psilocybin.

Another measure passed by Oregon voters will decriminalize small amounts of hard drugs like heroin, cocaine, methamphetamine as well as psychedelics. That measure calls for possession of those drugs to carry only a $100 fine, also a first for the nation.

Oakland adopted a resolution in June of 2019 decriminalizing certain natural psychedelics that come from plants and fungi, and the Santa Cruz City Council took a similar step earlier this year.

The bill would also create a commission that would issue recommendations to the California Legislature about how to further regulate the substances.

The bill does not include peyote because of its status as a threatened species.


Most of the drugs the bill would decriminalize are ones the federal government considers Schedule I drugs that are the most dangerous type of substances due to their high potential for abuse. Marijuana, which is legal in California, and heroin are also Schedule I drugs.

The bill was co-authored by Assembly members Evan Low, D-San Jose, Sydney Kamlager, D-Los Angeles, and Bill Quirk, D-Hayward.

© Copyright 2021 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. Bay City News Service contributed to this report.


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