For over a year, San Francisco Senator Scott Wiener (D) has made attempts to pass a bill legalizing the possession of several psychedelics.
Determined, Senator Wiener saw much progress with the new law as it made its way through the Senate and subsequent Assemblies.
However, after a long and tedious legislative process, the bill has been amended, becoming a mere study of the decriminalization proposal. While this wasn’t the outcome the San Francisco Senator hoped for, he stated, “While I am extremely disappointed by this result, I am looking forward to reintroducing this legislation next year…”.
What is Senate Bill 519?
With several cities and states making strides to legalize the use of psychedelics, like Oakland, Washington, D.C., Santa Cruz, and Oregon, Senate Bill 519 aimed to follow suit by legalizing the possession, obtaining, giving away, or transportation of specified quantities of psychedelic drugs across California.
What Drugs Were Included in the Bill?
Specifically, the bill sought to decriminalize the following drugs for individuals over 21:
- Magic Mushrooms – Psilocybin and psilocin are components found in certain wild mushrooms
- Dimethyltryptamine (DMT) – Found in plants, DMT is known to cause hallucinations
- Ibogaine – Found in the Iboga shrub, this is also a hallucinogenic plant used by religions in Africa
- Mescaline – Found in cactus plants, but the law only permits mescaline that isn’t sourced from peyote
- LSD – Also known as acid, this is another hallucinogenic drug usually sold in synthetic form
- Methylenedioxymethamphetamine (MDMA) – Also known as ecstasy, this drug releases dopamine and serotonin, causing feelings of euphoria.
The bill initially proposed legalizing Ketamine, a fast-acting anesthetic. However, after facing backlash from law enforcement, who claimed it to be known as a common date-rape drug, the bill was revised to remove the substance.
What Were the Proposed Possession Limits?
The attempted legalization of certain psychedelics didn’t come without restrictions. The proposed possession limits were as follows:
- 2 grams of DMT
- 15 grams of ibogaine
- 01 grams of LSD
- 4 grams of mescaline
- 2 grams of psilocybin and 2 grams of psilocin (known as magic mushrooms)
- 4 grams of MDMA
Why Legalize Psychedelics?
Proposed lawmakers introduced several arguments as to why this bill was necessary.
The War on Drugs
Senator Wiener’s main motive was to counter the fallout from The War on Drugs, which many viewed as a failed policy that desperately tried to contain drug use in the U.S.
Rather than contain drug use, Senator Wiener claims it only oppressed marginalized groups through mass incarceration for minor drug offenses. This mass incarceration, some claim, has led to overwhelming financial costs to maintain the large prison population.
“We’ve addressed the issue of drug use by trying to arrest and incarcerate as many people as possible, and it hasn’t worked,” Wiener stated.
Lawmakers further claim that criminalizing these drugs hasn’t prevented their use and has only led to underground markets that distribute substances in unregulated dosages.
Mental Health Benefits
Another driving factor fueling debate is the conducted studies to show the benefits psychedelic drugs have on one’s mental health—specifically, the health of U.S. veterans suffering from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).
Ecstasy has been shown to reduce the psychological impacts of fear-associated memories in veterans. The staggering suicide rate among veteran soldiers motivates the supporters of SB 519 to make progress with legalizing psychedelic drugs for medicinal purposes.
Further, other studies have shown a decrease in depression symptoms among individuals who take specified doses of psychedelic mushrooms.
What’s Standing in Senate Bill 519’s Way?
Although much support was gained for SB 519, there are still many obstacles to overcome before this groundbreaking legislation is considered.
One hurdle is education. Until more clinical studies educate the powers that be, the law won’t pass. As more information is used to entice lawmakers, supporters hope that chances for the new bill’s passing increase in the following years.
Law enforcement agencies are another entity that showed little support for the new law, arguing that decriminalizing these drugs won’t solve anything and will only lead to increased crime.
With an unclear future, psychedelic drugs remain illegal in most parts of the country. Senator Wiener and SB 519’s supporters are hopeful as they attempt to reintroduce the law next year.
Charged with a Drug Crime in California? Call McElfresh Law Today
She also defends those charged with California drug crimes. While many believe that psychedelic drugs are on the cusp of being legalized, they will have to wait and see what California decides when SB 519 is reintroduced. Call McElfresh Law today at 858-756-7107.