A statewide psychedelics decriminalization bill that’s been on pause for almost a year was recently set for a legislative hearing next month. This is huge news for California psychedelics advocates, even if we don’t have a ton of information on what is likely to happen just yet.
In 2021, California State Senator Scott Wiener introduced SB-519, a statewide psychedelics decriminalization bill. I wrote about the bill at length here. To summarize, it would decriminalize (not legalize) a host of psychedelic substances throughout the state. It passed through the California Senate with resounding approval in 2021, but Senator Wiener put the bill on pause in the state Assembly last year to garner more support.
Earlier this year, I chaired Seminar Group seminar where we discussed all things psychedelics law, including psychedelics decrim efforts. As I mentioned:
One of the cooler things about this was my opportunity to interview Senator Wiener. One of my key takeaways was how impressive his pragmatism is. He didn’t go right to legalization, or to decriminalization of all drugs. Instead, he chose the middle ground approach which was likely to garner more support from moderates and conservatives. It may be possible that the bill is changed even further as we progress, and if so, we can expect pragmatic changes designed to get things done.
It’s now summer and the state’s legislative session is almost over. SB-519 has not yet gone through an Assembly committee, but that’s about to change.
A few weeks ago, Psychedelics Alpha tweeted a screenshot of SB-519’s bill status showing a planned August 3 hearing in the Assembly Appropriations Committee. This is a big deal! After nearly a year of no activity, the psychedelics decrim bill is now on the precipice of another hearing.
At this point, there’s not much public insight on how voting is likely to proceed at the hearing. On one hand, the bill passed through the state Senate with much less resistance than many folks expected. On the other hand, Senator Wiener held SB-519 back for the express reason that it didn’t yet have enough support.
Please stay tuned to the Psychedelics Law Blog as we continue to write about all things SB-519.