California will wait until next year to consider a bill to decriminalize psychedelic drugs.
State Sen. Scott Wiener (D) introduced legislation in February that aimed to decriminalize a number of hallucinogenic substances and allow personal use of small amounts of the drugs. The substances include psilocybin, which can be found in mushrooms, lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD) and 3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine, which is commonly referred to as ecstasy.
The bill passed the Senate and Assembly policy committees but has since stalled, according to The Associated Press.
Wiener released a statement on Thursday announcing that the bill will be shelved until next year, writing that even though the “groundbreaking legislation moved significantly farther than anticipated,” there was more time needed to “lay educational groundwork with members and the public to ensure the bill’s success.”
He added that delaying consideration of the bill will allow advocates and supporters to “capitalize on the momentum from this year while building support in the Assembly for next year.”
Wiener said he was “disappointed” that the state was not able to pass the bill this year, but said he was “heartened” it got as far as it did.
“I’m optimistic through education and member engagement we can pass this critical legislation next year,” Wiener said in a statement.
“Decriminalizing psychedelics is an important step in ending the failed War on Drugs, and we are committed to this fight. Our mental health crisis is worse than ever, and psychedelics have shown great promise in treating mental health issues from PTSD to anxiety and depression,” he added.
The bill, however, has been scaled down since it was introduced in February.
Wiener removed ketamine from the legislation following criticism from some opponents that it could be used as a date-rape drug, and he took out the acceptance of “social sharing” of the drugs decriminalized.
Voters in Oregon approved a ballot measure last year that called for decriminalizing the possession of small amounts of street drugs, including heroin, methamphetamines and cocaine.
According to the AP, California’s cities of Oakland and Santa Cruz, in addition to Washington, D.C., Ann Arbor, Mich., and Somerville and Cambridge, Mass., have all decriminalized some natural psychedelics that are from plants and fungi.
Wiener introduced a different bill last month that called for giving opioid users in the state a location to inject drugs under supervision, but it was also kicked to next year, the AP reported.