(The Center Square) – California Governor Gavin Newsom vetoed a bill that would have legalized psychedelics, saying decriminalizing them before creating guidelines for their safe use would be unwise.
SB 58, authored by State Sen. Scott Wiener, D-San Francisco, would decriminalize the possession, preparation, obtaining or transportation of mescaline, DMT, psilocybin and psilocyn – the herbal psychedelics and of mushrooms, according to Wiener’s office, are “non-addictive and have a high safety profile – for personal use by persons 21 years of age or older as of January 1, 2025. The bill would also have decriminalized therapeutic use of these substances after the state legislature adopted a framework governing therapeutic use.
“Psychedelics have been shown to provide relief for people suffering from certain conditions such as depression, PTSD, traumatic brain injury, and other addictive personality traits,” Newsom wrote in his veto letter to the bill. “California should immediately begin working to implement regulated treatment guidelines – containing dosage information, therapeutic guidelines, rules to prevent exploitation during guided treatments, and medical clearance of absence of underlying psychosis. Unfortunately, this bill would decriminalize possession before these guidelines are in place, and I cannot sign it.
A similar measure by Wiener, which would have also decriminalized synthetic psychedelics and drugs such as LSD, MDMA and ketamine, passed the Senate but failed in the Assembly in 2021.
“Every day that criminal sanctions prevent veterans from accessing psychedelic herbal medicines is a day that their lives are in danger,” said Jesse Gould, veteran and founder of Heroic Hearts Projects, in a statement supporting SB 58.” Psychedelics helped heal the invisible scars of my service in the War on Terror after traditional medicine failed me for years. Since then, I have dedicated my life to educating veterans about safe and effective use of psychedelics. Removing criminal penalties for the use of these substances will help in this work. , don’t harm it.”
In his veto letter, Newsom suggested that for Wiener, the third time might be the charm.
“I urge the Legislature to send me legislation next year that includes treatment guidelines. I further commit to working with the Legislature and the sponsors of this bill to develop legislation that would authorize permitted uses and would consider a framework for potential broader decriminalization in the country,” Newsom wrote.
The potential path for psychedelics proposed by Newsom — of medical use followed by studies and regulations before decriminalization and possible recreational use — would closely follow that taken by marijuana, which was first approved in 1996 under the Compassionate Use Act for “cancer, anorexia, AIDS.” , chronic pain, spasticity, glaucoma, arthritis, migraine or any other illness for which marijuana provides relief. Over 20 years, as its use became more widespread and regulated, marijuana finally became fully legal for recreational use in 2016, with voter approval of Proposition 64.