California lawmakers on Thursday gave final approval to a bill that would decriminalize possession and use of certain plant- and fungus-derived psychedelics, sending the bill to the governor's desk.
The state Senate on Thursday voted to approve changes made to the legislation by the General Assembly, after previously approving the bill on a 21-16 vote in May. The General Assembly passed the bill on Wednesday on a 43-15 vote.
Sponsored by state Sen. Scott Wiener, D-San Francisco, the bill, S.B. 58, would allow for the personal possession of psilocybin and psilocin, which are found in psychoactive mushrooms, as well as plant-derived DMT and mescaline. Mescaline derived from the peyote cactus, which holds special legal status as a sacrament in some Native American religious ceremonies, would not be legalized for general adult use under the law.
"California's veterans, first responders and others struggling with PTSD, depression, and addiction deserve access to these promising plant medicines," Wiener said in a statement. "S.B. 58 has prudent safeguards in place after we incorporated feedback from three years of deep engagement with a broad array of stakeholders."
General Assembly lawmakers amended the legislation by removing ibogaine from the list of psychedelics that would be decriminalized and adding provisions to create a working group under the state's health agency to advise policymakers on creating a framework for overseeing group therapeutic use.
"We know these substances are not addictive, and they show tremendous promise in treating many of the most intractable conditions driving our nation's mental health crisis," Wiener said. "It's time to stop criminalizing people who use psychedelics for healing or personal well-being."
The legislation would legalize possession of up to 4 grams of the substances by persons age 21 or older. The bill would also create new civil and criminal penalties for giving psychedelics to underage people.
If California Gov. Gavin Newsom, a Democrat, signs S.B. 58 into law, it would take effect on Jan. 1, 2025, and make California the third state to decriminalize psychedelics. Oregon and Colorado did so via the ballot initiative process in 2020 and 2022, respectively.
A previous version of the California psychedelics bill passed the state Senate in June 2021 but stalled out in the state Assembly.