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SB 58: California Bill Moves to Legalize Psychedelics

Sen. Scott Wiener (D-CA) presented a bill in the California Senate to make it legal to possess certain psychedelics and allow for group counseling and community-based healing involving entheogenic substances.

The legislation is known as Senate Bill 58 and, if passed, would be a significant milestone in the psychedelic movement. The bill seeks to repeal existing state laws prohibiting psilocybin or psilocin spores and mycelium and eliminate drug paraphernalia bans associated with these substances.

It was initially unclear whether SB 58 would advance through the legislature due to opponents of the bill, but it has been given an accelerated process since the Appropriations Committee Chairman invoked a rule that allowed it to avoid further committee consideration.

After the bill clears the committee, it is heading to the Senate floor for further review and potential passage. This legislative advancement has been met with excitement and anticipation from psychedelic advocates and researchers alike.

In its current form, SB 58 would provide a safe space for communities to gather and join together in psychedelically-assisted healing circles without fear of legal repercussions. If passed, this could be an essential step forward in allowing more people access to the beneficial effects of psychedelics while also providing much-needed research opportunities surrounding these substances.

SB 58, as amended, Wiener. Controlled substances: decriminalization of certain hallucinogenic substances.

(1) Existing law categorizes certain drugs and other substances as controlled substances and prohibits various actions related to those substances, including their manufacture, transportation, sale, possession, and ingestion.

This bill would make lawful the possession, preparation, obtaining, transfer, as specified, or transportation of, specified quantities of psilocybin, psilocyn, dimethyltryptamine (DMT), ibogaine, and mescaline, for personal use or facilitated or supported use, as defined, by and with persons 21 years of age or older. The bill would provide penalties for possession of these substance on school grounds, or possession by, or transferring to, persons under 21 years of age.

(2) Existing law prohibits the cultivation, transfer, or transportation, as specified, of any spores or mycelium capable of producing mushrooms or other material which contain psilocybin or psilocyn.

This bill would repeal those provisions.

(3) Existing law prohibits the possession of drug paraphernalia, as defined.

This bill would exempt from this prohibition, paraphernalia related, as specified, to these specific substances. The bill would also exempt from the prohibition items used for the testing and analysis of controlled substances.

(4) Existing law states the intent of the Legislature that the messages and information provided by various state drug and alcohol programs promote no unlawful use of any drugs or alcohol.

This bill would repeal those provisions.

(5) By eliminating and changing the elements of existing crimes and creating new offenses, and by requiring new duties of local prosecutors, this bill would impose a state-mandated local program.

The California Constitution requires the state to reimburse local agencies and school districts for certain costs mandated by the state. Statutory provisions establish procedures for making that reimbursement.

This bill would provide that with regard to certain mandates no reimbursement is required by this act for a specified reason.

With regard to any other mandates, this bill would provide that, if the Commission on State Mandates determines that the bill contains costs so mandated by the state, reimbursement for those costs shall be made pursuant to the statutory provisions noted above.

(6) This bill would state that its provisions are severable.

With increasing scientific evidence linking psychedelics with positive mental health outcomes, SB 58 can potentially create meaningful change in how we view these substances and their therapeutic use.

The bill cleared the Appropriations Committee without a hearing after the chairman invoked a rule to send it to the floor because he believed it had a negligible fiscal impact. Sen. Scott Weiner told Marijuana Moment.

This rule allowed SB 58 to immediately move out of committee and onto the Senate floor, allowing for an expedited pathway towards potential passage.

This is not the first time this process has been used, and Wiener’s legislation is not alone in being granted accelerated passage through committees and subsequent review stages. In recent years, California lawmakers have used this rule to bypass further committee consideration and bring specific bills directly before both chambers of the legislature.

This accelerated process can be beneficial in some instances. For example, it allows certain pieces of legislation with widespread public support or small financial implications to move through the legislative process quickly.

We hope that this type of legislative expediency continues in psychedelics and would certainly have helped many cannabis initiatives previously.

By utilizing the rule, SB 58 could bypass the usual multiple committee hearings that could take weeks or months, significantly delaying the bill’s progress. This allowed for Wiener’s psychedelic bill to receive direct consideration by a total vote on the Senate floor, leading many advocates and researchers to believe that it has a real chance of passing in its current form.

The original version of SB 58 proposed by Sen. Wiener included language regulating psilocybin-assisted therapy and provisions allowing California cities and counties to establish regulations concerning possessing psilocybin and other entheogenic substances. While this language was maintained in the version of the bill that cleared the Appropriations Committee, certain sections were modified or removed.

For example, the original version of Senate Bill 58 would have legalized the possession and use of certain synthetic psychedelics in California. However, due to push back from some legislators, this provision was removed from the final version of SB 58.

Despite its removal, the amended version of SB 58 still has much to offer regarding psychedelic reform. The bill allows individuals over 21 to possess and use psilocybin mushrooms, ayahuasca, and other entheogenic substances without fear of legal repercussions.

Additionally, a major change to last year’s version no longer includes a clause calling for a study into possible additional reforms. The senator argued that the study would be unnecessary given the extensive research which has already been done and continues to be conducted.

The passage of SB 58 could provide a significant step forward in terms of promoting access to therapeutic psychedelic treatments as well as meaningful research opportunities. This legislation could become a model for similar legislation in other states, leading to even more incredible advancements in psychedelic medicine.

The passage of SB 58 through the Appropriations Committee without a hearing is a significant milestone for advocates and researchers pushing for greater access to psychedelics in California.

With its amended form focusing on providing a proper environment for exploration and healing, this bill can potentially become a model for similar legislation in other states. It could lead to even more significant advancements in psychedelic medicine and further research opportunities if passed.

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