California Could Decriminalize Psychedelics Soon, Thanks to State and Local Proposals
Sen. Scott Wiener says he’ll introduce a psychedelic decriminalization bill in January, while activist group Decriminalize Nature is slated to meet with the San Francisco DA this week.
Published on November 12, 2020

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California Sen. Scott Wiener said this week that he intends to introduce a bill to “decriminalize psychedelic drugs” in January when the state legislature reconvenes to begin its 2021 session.

Activist organization Decriminalize Nature will also address policy change this week, as they have plans to meet San Francisco’s district attorney to discuss decriminalizing plant-based hallucinogens and magic fungi in the city.

Let’s look at the big picture first. In a series of tweets about the decriminalization of psilocybin and other psychedelic substances on Tuesday, Wiener stated, “These drugs have been shown to have medicinal value treating depression, PTSD & other conditions. We need to stop criminalizing drug use & addiction.”

The senator continued: “Last week, Oregon voted to legalize psilocybin (a psychedelic) & Washington DC decriminalized psychedelics. There’s strong support for ending the failed War on Drugs, which criminalizes communities of color & those suffering from addiction. People need treatment, not prison.”

Finally, Wiener said he would work on the bill with Assembly members Evan Low and Sydney Kamlager. He explained that their efforts would be an “important step toward a more rational, science-based, and public-health-focused approach to drugs.”

Wiener is the State Senator for District 11, an area that contains San Francisco, Daly City, Colma, Broadmoor, and parts of South San Francisco.

Meanwhile, out on the streets of San Francisco, the group Decriminalize Nature has taken up the fight for direct local reform. 

The group has had a good year. It led successful psychedelic decriminalization campaigns in Oakland, Santa Cruz, and Ann Arbor, as well as in Washington, D.C., where last week decriminalization passed with more than three-quarters of the vote

Now the organization says it’s working with San Francisco District Attorney Chesa Boudin to get the City by the Bay on board, as well.

Carlos Plazola, the National Board Chair of Decriminalize Nature, told Marijuana Moment that Decriminalize Nature members are scheduled to meet with Boudin on Thursday. Plazola said the immediate aim of the confab is to get the DA to just stop prosecuting cases.

“If the District Attorney announces that he won’t prosecute,” Plazola said, “it takes away the impetus to make arrests.”

Beyond just San Francisco, Plazola said Decriminalize Nature is also pursuing local action in Baltimore, Michigan, and Florida. In addition, the group has stated that more than 100 other U.S. cities have expressed interest in decriminalizing entheogenic substances.  

Let’s keep this drug policy reform train rolling, everybody.

Mike McPadden
Mike McPadden is the author of "Heavy Metal Movies" and the upcoming "Last American Virgins." He writes about movies, music, and crime in Chicago. Twitter @mcbeardo
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