Home Nonviolent defense California advances in decriminalization of psychedelics

California advances in decriminalization of psychedelics

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SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) – California moved closer to another step in decriminalizing psychedelics on Tuesday – amid debate over whether their ban is an outdated remnant of the war on drugs – after the perpetrator withdrew from the bill a substance that opponents say can be used as a date-rape drug.

The bill would allow people 21 years of age and over to possess for their personal use and “social sharing” psilocybin, the hallucinogenic component of so-called magic mushrooms. It also covers psilocyne, dimethyltryptamine (DMT), ibogaine, mescaline excluding peyote, lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD), and 3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine (MDMA, often referred to as ecstasy).

“People’s lives are literally transformed because of these substances,” said Senator Scott Wiener, a Democrat from San Francisco, although he changed his bill remove ketamine from the list.

Retaining the potential date rape drug “would only confuse what you ultimately want to accomplish,” said Assembly Public Safety Committee Chairman, Democratic Congressman Reggie Jones-Sawyer, who also backed the government. law Project.

Psychedelics have emerged as “an extremely promising approach for a variety of mental illnesses,” testified Dr. Robert Grant, who studies ketamine-assisted psychotherapy for depression and anxiety at the University of California at San Francisco, which creates a research center in August. to study their use. “Certainly people shouldn’t be incarcerated for seeking a healing path with these drugs.”

The bill prohibits sharing with persons under the age of 21 or the possession of substances on school grounds. This would remove the state’s ban on growing or transferring mushroom spores or other materials containing psilocybin or psilocyne.

Even if California makes the law on the bill, the drugs would still be illegal under federal law.

He cleared the Assembly Public Safety Committee, 5-3, with supporters touting the benefits for military veterans and others who they believe may benefit from using psychedelics to treat trauma. The measure was previously passed by the state Senate on a 21-16 vote and is now heading to the health committee before it can be passed on to the plenary assembly.

“After trying everything that was offered to me by military medicine, I was barely holding on. I turned to psychedelics as a last ditch effort to survive, and luckily it worked incredibly well, ”said Jesse Gould, founder and president of the Heroic Hearts Project who flew three combat missions as an Army Ranger.

Last year, voters in Oregon approved the decriminalization of small amounts of psychedelics among other drugs, and were separately the first to approve the supervised use of psilocybin in a therapeutic setting.

Oakland and Santa Cruz are among cities including Washington, DC; Ann Arbor, Michigan; and Somerville and Cambridge, Massachusetts, which decriminalized certain natural psychedelics from plants and fungi. Denver was the first American city to decriminalize hallucinogenic mushrooms for personal use two years ago.

California Narcotics Officers Association legislative director John Lovell said the organization is not seeking to jail anyone for drug use.

But he told the committee that the bill’s social sharing allowance could lead to more drug overdoses and deaths, and that LSD should be ruled out because “it’s married to flashbacks” and can. entail “a trip that people can have for the rest of their lives.” Lives.”

Even with the removal of ketamine, “there are still many dangerous and illegal drugs” on the list that have not been approved by the United States Food and Drug Administration, said Frank Lee, president of the organization. for justice and equality. Moreover, he said, enabling social sharing “effectively gives drug traffickers a built-in defense.”

Republican MP Kelly Seyarto said he favors anything that helps veterans, but “it has to be done in a clinical setting, it has to be done under the watchful eye of a doctor” to ensure that there are no ill effects.

According to Wiener’s Bill, he said: “It’ll be like beer, you’re just going to get the 21-year-old to give you the stuff.”

Wiener cited studies by Johns Hopkins University, the University of California, San Francisco and UCLA which has found psychedelic therapies can help where other treatments have failed. He said other research has shown that using MDMA can help reduce the severity of post-traumatic stress disorder.

His bill would require the California Department of Public Health to create a task force to study the regulation and use of drugs and make recommendations to lawmakers.

But his bill goes beyond authorizing only therapeutic use. He argued that the broader lifting of sentences is another step in the criminalization of non-violent drug offenses and what Wiener called the failed policies of the 50 Year War on Drugs that “made us less. safe because people consume in the shadows ”.

“It’s time we recognized the benefits of these substances even outside of a clinical study,” Wiener said. Opposition to the legalization of drugs “is like the psychedelic equivalent of ‘Reefer Madness’ that it’s going to do all kinds of horrible things. And that is simply not true.

Among other things, his bill would repeal provisions in state law that state drug and alcohol program messages should promote abstention from illegal drug or alcohol use.