California Bill To Decriminalize Psychedelics Moves Forward: Legislation's Sponsor Talks 'Learning Curve,' Why MDMA, LSD Are Included

California Bill To Decriminalize Psychedelics Moves Forward: Legislation's Sponsor Talks 'Learning Curve,' Why MDMA, LSD Are Included

A bill to decriminalize psychedelic substances in California is quickly moving up the legislative ladder.

Introduced in February by Sen. Scott Wiener, SB 519 would remove penalties for the possession, personal use and social sharing of certain natural and synthetic psychoactive drugs including psilocybin, psilocyn, DMT, ibogaine, mescaline, LSD, ketamine and MDMA.

The legislation would also expunge the criminal records of those charged with low-level psychedelics convictions.

“I don't think that arresting someone for possessing drugs is in any way helpful,” Wiener told Benzinga.

The San Francisco Democrat is in favor of full drug decriminalization and said this measure is a first step toward that goal.

“Until we get there, we know that psychedelics have huge promise in treating mental health and addiction problems, and so we want to stop criminalizing people for using these substances, whether it's for a spiritual or recreational use or for a health issue.”

The bill passed both the Public Safety and Health Committees and will now be reviewed by the Senate Appropriations Committee, after which it would move to Senate floor vote if approved.

Beyond Natural Psychedelics

Most jurisdictions that have passed psychedelics decriminalization laws so far focus on the use of naturally occurring psychedelics such as psilocybin mushrooms or ayahuasca.

In the case of the California bill, LSD and MDMA are included among the decriminalization candidates.

These drugs were added because of their potential in treating mental health disorders, Wiener said. 

“MDMA has huge potential in terms of health benefits. It's considered a potential breakthrough drug by the FDA. LSD also has significant benefits, so we didn’t want to leave them out.” 

GHB, a synthetic drug also known as Liquid E, was not included in the bill. 

What Happens If The Psychedelics Bill Passes?

If Wiener's legislation becomes law, he said it would still be illegal to sell the psychedelics in California, adding that the bill does not legalize the drugs in a regulatory manner. 

“What it does is, it sets up a working group to evaluate whether to fully legalize and regulate psychedelics in the future, and the working group will make a recommendation to the legislature.”

The bill would also remove criminal records for convictions.

“We don’t have the best data on convictions, though we know there have been plenty. And so people who have a criminal record because of psychedelics will be able to have those cases expunged, and people who are currently serving a sentence for psychedelics will be able to get their case dismissed,” the state senator said. 

The working group could make recommendations for the creation of a licensed medical program focused on the use of psychedelics in a therapeutic setting, he said. 

Will The Decriminalization Bill Become Law?

Hawaii State Sen. Stanley Chang, who introduced a bill to decriminalize psilocybin in the island state, said in a recent conversation that he views legislative action as a way to propel a conversation around psychedelics — though he does not expect his bill to pass in its first iteration.

“A big part of the legislative process is not just actually passing a bill, but taking part in a community discussion about what the issues are, what the priorities should be," said Chang.

Wiener sounds more optimistic, though he said the bill might not pass on the first try. 

“I think the bill has a chance,” said Wiener.

Psychedelics reform is a topic that needs to undergo an extensive public and political conversation before it can become a reality, he said. 

“This idea has never been introduced in the legislature before, so for many of my colleagues, this is the first time that they're seeing it. So there's a lot of education and a learning curve, and so we may not be able to pass it this year, but if not this year we'll keep trying. I think it’s an important issue and I’m committed to it.” 

California Gov. Gavin Newsom's office told Benzinga that Newsom does not typically comment on pending legislation when asked for his position on the bill. 

Wiener said he doesn't know the governor’s position either.

“If and when a bill reaches the governor’s desk, it will be evaluated on its merits,” said a spokesperson for Newsom’s office.

Posted In: DMTIbogaineKetamineLSDMDMAMescalinePsilocybinpsilocynpsychedelicsSB 519Scott WienerCannabisNewsPoliticsTop StoriesMarketsGeneral


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11 Best Black Friday Deals on Amazon

11 Best Black Friday Deals on Amazon

The best Black Friday deals from Amazon are still coming hard and fast because the holiday is not yet upon us and the mega-retailer prefers to keep consumers on the hook for as long as possible—spending as much money as possible. 

To that end, here are some of the best Black Friday deals from Amazon that you might want to consider today.

Calphalon 10-Piece Pots and Pans Set

Regular Price: $172

Sale Price: $138.88

Calphalon’s 10-Piece Pots and Pans Set is designed with stainless steel, stay-cool handles along with pour spouts. The nonstick surface is PFOA-free and built with hard-anodized aluminum that is both durable and conducts heat extremely well. The set includes 2 fry pans, a sauce pan with cover, saute pan with cover and large stock pot with cover.

Apple AirPods 2nd Generation

Regular Price: $144

Sale Price: $85.49

The 2nd Generation AirPods from Apple connect to all Apple devices and give you an enhanced listening experience. Plus, they come with a case that keeps them safe and allows you to charge them in a secure environment. With over 24 hours of battery life, access to Siri and easy setup, you can start listening to your favorite tunes or podcasts today.

Adidas Ultraboost 21 Running Shoes

Regular Price: $129.98

Sale Price: $89.98

The Adidas Women’s Ultraboost 21 running shoe is perfect for anyone who likes a short run, maybe a 5K, half marathon or more. Coming in several colors and styles, you can slip these shoes on, enjoy the cushioned outsole, sink into the supple insole and secure laces.

Ninja AF101 Air Fryer

Regular Price: $129.99

Sale Price: $97.83

The Ninja AF101 Air Fryer allows you to crisp, roast, reheat and even dehydrate food products faster and cheaper than ever before. It has a 4-quart capacity and offers a wide temperature range along with several time settings so that you can customize each dish to your needs. Plus, all the parts are dishwasher safe.

Beats Solo3 Wireless On-Ear Headphones

Regular Price: $199.95

Sale Price: $99

Beats by Dr. Dre are among the best headphones on the market, and the Solo3 Wireless On-Ear Headphones include the Apple W1 chip, Class 1 Bluetooth and 40 hours of battery time. These headphones even have a built-in microphone and offer an adjustable fit so that you can be comfortable whether you’re listening to an Android or iOS device.

Hoover Power Scrub Deluxe Carpet Cleaner

Regular Price: $198.98

Sale Price: $175.98

The Hoover Power Scrub Deluxe Carpet Cleaner allows you to keep your home spotless and clean up after your pets. The cleaner comes with the Hoover Paws and Claws Deep shampoo and a storage mat to keep the floor dry once it’s put away.

LG CordZero Auto Empty Cordless Stick Vacuum

Regular Price: $999.00

Sale Price: $851.71

The LG CordZero Auto Empty Cordless Stick Vacuum and Wet Mop All in One Tower is designed to work in homes with several pets or children and clean up all the messes that life brings. The battery lasts up to 2 hours, and there’s an extra removable battery that gives you even more cleaning time and power.

Breville Fresh and Furious Blender

Regular Price: $278.60

Sale Price: $199.95

Breville, a top name in blenders and juicers, offers the Fresh and Furious Blender, featuring 50-ounce capacity, Vac Q technology, pre-programmed cycles, LCD display and lid with pull ring. With the Fresh and Furious Blender, you can make everything from a smoothie to a soup and everything in between.

Hot Tools Professional 2000 Turbo Ionic Hair Dryer

Regular Price: $89.99

Sale Price: $55.63

The Hot Tools Professional 2000 Turbo Ionic Hair Dryer is designed for professional use, but it works perfectly in the home. With 1875 watts of power, 6 heat and speed settings and a lightweight design, you can easily style your hair and utilize the diffuser, cut back on the frizz and stretch the 8 ft cord for maximum functionality.

Columbia Heavenly Long Hooded Jacket

Regular Price: $160

Sale Price: $97.38

The Heavenly Long Hooded Jacket from Columbia is designed to be light for everyday use, but it’s heavy enough to protect you from the cold. The plush fleece lining, security pocket, water resistant fabric, 2-way zipper, and zippered hand pockets make the jacket both protective and functional.

ConAir InfinitiPro Hair Dryer

Regular Price: $49.99

Sale Price: $29.99

ConAir is one of the biggest names in hair and beauty, and the InfinitPro is an 1875 watt hair dryer designed for professionals with ceramic technology. The dryer comes with a diffuser and concentrator, and it allows you to blow out your hair just the way they would at the salon.

Deals the Experts Are Hoping For

Experts believe that Amazon’s Black Friday sale could linger for quite some time. It all started with the Prime Early Access sale on October 11 and 12. Previously, Amazon has offered the “Epic Deals” sale that ran through late October. 

This is to say that any sale could come up at any time. 

Even so, those monitoring Amazon are looking forward to a few potential deals, including:

  • Apple Watch
  • AirPods (any generation)
  • MacBook Pro
  • Large, underpriced TVs
  • Amazon Echo
  • More small home appliances (Dyson or Shark vacuums, Instant Pots, etc.) 

While these predictions are based on last year’s Amazon Black Friday Sale, it’s important to remember that most Black Friday sales are fairly consistent and push the products that are most likely to sell.


Featured image sourced from Shutterstock

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