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California psychedelic therapy bill stalls in committee amid budget concerns

California would have become the third state to legalize supervised use of psychedelics.
The post California psychedelic therapy bill stalls in committee…



A California bill that would have allowed limited use of psychedelic mushrooms has stalled in the state legislature.

The measure by Sen. Scott Wiener, a San Francisco Democrat, failed to advance Thursday from the Senate Appropriations Committee as lawmakers shelved hundreds of bills amid a multibillion-dollar budget crunch, according to the Associated Press.

SB 1012 aimed to establish licensed facilities that would provide services using psychedelic substances, including psilocybin, MDMA, mescaline, and DMT, to adults 21 and older who undergo health and safety screenings. The bill was introduced following Gov. Gavin Newsom’s October veto of a broader psychedelics legalization proposal.

Wiener expressed disappointment at the bill’s failure to move forward but said his efforts would continue, citing “massive promise” psychedelics have in helping people heal.

“We’ve been working for four years to legalize access to psychedelics in California, to bring these substances out of the shadows and into the sunlight, and to improve safety and education around their use,” Sen. Wiener said in a statement after his bill was shelved.

He added, “We’re in a terrible budget year, where all bills with significant costs are at risk. Nevertheless, it’s disappointing for this bill not to move forward.”

The bill faced opposition from the California State Sheriffs’ Association, which objected to what it described as the state “condoning and facilitating the use of mind-altering drugs,” the Los Angeles Times reported. Some medical professionals also questioned the scientific research behind the use of psychedelics, with the California State Association of Psychiatrists arguing that the evidence to support therapeutic use is not yet robust enough to justify widespread access.

The California Senate Business and Professions Committee also raised questions about the bill’s proposal to create a new category of licensed professionals to facilitate psychedelic treatment and the lack of local control for cities that might want to forbid such businesses, according to the Times.

The bill’s failure to progress on Thursday comes despite earlier momentum in April, when it passed the Senate Business, Professions, and Economic Development Committee with a 7-4 vote. Several local jurisdictions in California, including Oakland, have already passed measures to decriminalize psychedelic plants and fungi, while campaigns to put psilocybin legalization on the November ballot and to create a state agency for psychedelics research have been initiated with varying degrees of success.

The latest proposal would have also created a new division under the Business, Consumer Services, and Housing Agency to regulate the psychedelics program, with an oversight committee appointed by the governor.

While the legislation stopped short of decriminalizing psychedelics more broadly, its implementation would have made California the third state to permit state-sanctioned psychedelic therapy, joining Oregon and Colorado.

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