he California state bill that would decriminalize a number of psychedelic substances, SB 519, will receive its first hearing date for the 2022 legislative session after being paused in the State Assembly.
The bill will be heard in the Assembly Appropriations Committee on August 3 where it is expected that the bill’s authors will push SB 519 to the Assembly Suspense File. The legislation, which was made a two-year bill last year and held by the committee, must now be sent to the Suspense File before it can continue its path through the Assembly. Sources close to SB 519 are hoping to whip up support for the legislation prior to an August 12 deadline, before pushing for a vote on the floor of the Assembly.
The coalition supporting SB 519 has scheduled lobby days for August 3-5, where the bill’s supporters will have the opportunity to make a case with lawmakers directly. Advocates are encouraging Assembly members to support the legislation ahead of the August 12 deadline, which marks the last day that the Appropriations Committee can meet to discuss pending legislation.
“Before August 12th, educating legislators is key,” said Ben Unger, a lobbyist with New Approach PAC. “Our goal is to make sure each legislator knows what this bill does, the research behind psychedelic treatment, and the people – veterans, end of life patients, etc – the bill can help. We have found that if legislators learn the facts from experts and hear from those that have healed, they support the policy.”
SB 519 would decriminalize the possession, use, cultivation and social sharing of a number of specified amounts of controlled substances including: psilocybin, psilocyn, DMT, ibogaine, mescaline (not derived from peyote), LSD, and MDMA. It would also decriminalize associated paraphernalia and remove prohibitions related to the testing and analysis of controlled substances (i.e. drug checking services).
SB 519 does not allow for sales or commercial use of substances decriminalized by the legislation, nor does it create a regulatory framework or allow for what it defines as financial gain. The bill also doesn’t allow for possession or use by anybody under the age of 21 or on school property, and sharing substances with anybody under the age of 21 remains criminalized. Additionally, peyote, which is endangered, is excluded from decriminalization to protect traditional Native American spiritual practices, relying instead on existing federal allowances.
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