A California lawmaker has introduced a bill that would decriminalize psychedelics in the western state. The state senator who authored the bill is Scott Wiener, who told the Guardian, “People should not be going to jail for possessing or using drugs…It’s a health issue, not a criminal issue, and I hope that we get all the way there.”
Wiener also discussed the bill with Fox News, saying, “Whether you’re living in San Francisco or you’re living in rural Ohio, we all — every single one of us — have experience with mental health and addiction trauma in our communities…The mental health and addiction crisis in this country is everywhere.”
Wiener also reportedly framed the legislation as “part of the larger movement to end the racist War on Drugs,” which he described as “a failed set of racist policies starting in the early 20th century and accelerating in the 1970s and 1980s, established under the guise of addressing addiction and drug dealing.”
The bill was unveiled on Thursday and would reportedly decriminalize possession and personal use of psilocybin, psilocyn, MDMA, LSD, ketamine, DMT, mescaline and ibogaine, which can all be used for medical treatment. The decriminalization proposal would apply to any kind of use or possession, not only medical, however, the bill emphasizes the medical benefits of psychedelics.
Fox News reported that there recently has been research into the use of “psychedelic drugs to treat depression, drug addiction, PTSD, and a range of other mental health afflictions.”
As reported by Fox News:
A 2016 study in the Journal of Psychopharmacology found that a single dose of psilocybin mushrooms “produced substantial and enduring decreases in depressed mood and anxiety… in patients with a life-threatening cancer diagnosis.”
More than half, 54.2%, of participants with PTSD in a 2019 study no longer qualified as having PTSD after two doses of MDMA. The FDA classified MDMA as a “breakthrough therapy” in 2017.
Two veterans groups, Heroic Hearts Project and Veterans Exploring Treatment Solutions, co-sponsored the bill. The groups work to provide effective mental health treatments to veterans.
The introduction of the bill comes after a drug decriminalization bill was passed in Oregon, which went into effect earlier this month. The Oregon bill’s goal is to replace incarceration with a $100 fine and counseling for addiction.
Multiples cities have also reportedly decriminalized psychedelic drugs recently, including Oakland, Santa Cruz, Ann Arbor, Denver, and Washington, D.C.
Fox News reported:
Despite the push for decriminalization by some lawmakers, many Americans bristle at the idea of decriminalizing drugs like LSD and MDMA.
When Oregon voters were considering the state’s drug decriminalization bill last year, two dozen district attorneys urged against it, saying it “recklessly decriminalizes possession of the most dangerous types of drugs (and) will lead to an increase in acceptability of dangerous drugs.”
Results from a 2019 survey published in the Journal of Psychopharmacology “suggest that naturalistic psychedelic use may lead to cessation or reduction in problematic alcohol use…”
Wiener reportedly said he hopes this potential for therapeutic benefits of psychedelics is what brings people together regarding the issue.