California Governor Vetoes Bill to Legalize Psychedelics

California Governor Gavin Newsom has vetoed a widely supported bill that would have legalized certain psychedelic substances.

“Today’s veto is a setback for the huge number of Californians – including combat veterans and first responders -who are safely using and benefiting from these non-addictive substances and who will now continue to be classified as criminals under California law”, Senator Scott Weiner, the bill’s prime sponsor, said in a public statement following the governor’s veto. “The evidence is beyond dispute that criminalizing access to these substances only serves to make people less safe and reduce access to help.”

Senator Weiner continued by stating that the veto “is a huge missed opportunity for California to follow the science and lead. This is not the end of our fight, however, and given the Governor’s commitment to work with the Legislature on legislation with a therapeutic focus – and openness to future decriminalization legislation- I look forward to introducing therapeutic-focused legislation next year.”

The proposed law would have legalized the possession, preparation, obtaining, transfer, as specified, or transportation of up to two grams of DMT, 15 grams of ibogaine, two grams of psilocybin (or up to four ounces of “a plant or fungi containing psilocybin”) and two grams of psilocyn (or up to four ounces of “a plant or fungi containing psilocybin”). Both Colorado and Oregon have recently enacted similar laws.

“Both peer-reviewed science and powerful personal anecdotes lead me to support new opportunities to address mental health through psychedelic medicines like those addressed in this bill,” Governor Newsom said in a veto message released today. “Psychedelics have proven to relieve people suffering from certain conditions such as depression, PTSD, traumatic brain injury, and other addictive personality traits. This is an exciting frontier and California will be on the front-end of leading it.”

Newsome says that “California should immediately begin work to set up regulated treatment guidelines—replete with dosing information, therapeutic guidelines, rules to prevent against exploitation during guided treatments, and medical clearance of no underlying psychoses. Unfortunately, this bill would decriminalize possession prior to these guidelines going into place, and I cannot sign it.”

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