On May 24, 2023 the California Senate passed SB 58 to legalize the possession of psilocybin, psilocyn, DMT, ibogaine, and mescaline for personal use, cultivation, and use in “group counseling and community-based healing.” The Bill passed the Senate by a vote of 21-16 and now heads to the State Assembly for further consideration. Specifically, the bill legalizes the following substances and possession limits:
DMT – Up to 2 grams
Ibogaine – Up to 15 grams
Psilocybin – Up to 2 grams of pure psilocybin, or 4 ounces of a “plant or fungi containing psilocybin”
Psilocyn – UP to 2 grams of pure psilocyn, or 4 ounces of a “plant or fungi containing psilocyn”
Senator Scott Wiener, the author of SB 58, previously introduced a version of the bill that included man-made psychedelics like LSD and MDMA. However, the current version of the bill is limited to naturally occurring psychedelics commonly derived from plants or fungi. Notably, peyote is excluded from the list of substances SB 58 would legalize. The rationale behind this is that indigenous groups and advocates feared that legalization would cause over-harvesting of peyote, commonly used in indigenous ceremonies. The bill would also repeal a current law prohibiting the use and cultivation of spores capable of producing psychedelic mushrooms, meaning that Californians would be allowed to cultivate their own psychedelic mushrooms.
California would join Oregon and Colorado as the third state to legalize or decriminalize psychedelics at the state-level. Oregon passed its own Measure 109 in November 2020 to establish regulated psilocybin therapy, while at the same time passing Measure 110 to decriminalize personal possession of all drugs. Colorado passed Proposition 122 two years later to decriminalize noncommercial, personal possession of psychedelic plants and fungi in addition to establishing a regulated therapy system.
The Cities of San Francisco, Santa Cruz, and Oakland have already decriminalized psychedelics, joining the likes of Detroit and Seattle in a nationwide effort to end the criminalization of psychedelic use and possession. Clinical research demonstrates that certain psychedelic compounds, such as psilocybin, can treat mental health disorders when combined with therapy. Psychedelics are thought to aid with end-of-life anxiety, depression, post-traumatic stress, and substance abuse disorders.
If SB 58 passes the California State Assembly, it heads to Governor Gavin Newsom’s desk where he will decide whether or not to sign it into law. Governor Newsom previously cancelled plans to legalize psychedelics in 2021 as Democratic lawmakers feared this measure could have impacted his time as governor in the run up to the campaign to recall Governor Newsom. Having defeated the recall attempts against him, it is unclear whether or not Governor Newsom will sign SB 58 into law or not.
From our perspective, the movement to legalize psychedelics reminds us of early efforts to decriminalize and legalize marijuana. Many of you can think back to your earliest days as marijuana business operators and trailblazers of the industry. If SB 58 becomes state law, only time will tell whether we will see a similar movement with legal psychedelics.