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California could decriminalize psychedelic drugs

State Sen. Scott Wiener, D-San Francisco, said he plans to introduce a bill decriminalizing possession of hallucinogenic mushrooms and other psychedelics.

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — California lawmakers will consider next year whether to decriminalize psychedelic drugs.

The San Francisco Chronicle reports state Sen. Scott Wiener, D-San Francisco, said Tuesday that he plans to introduce a bill decriminalizing possession of hallucinogenic mushrooms and other psychedelics like MDMA and LSD. Oakland adopted a resolution last year decriminalizing certain natural psychedelics that come from plants and fungi.

America’s tough-on-drug crime policies, which began under the Nixon administration, also known as the “War on Drugs” hasn’t worked, Wiener said. He says the policies have cost taxpayers billions and yet millions of people are still addicted.

“…we need to start treating drugs like the issue that they are, which is about health, it’s not a criminal issue,” Wiener said.

The United States Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) considers psychedelics Schedule 1 illicit drugs because they have no accepted medical use and are considered highly likely to be addictive. They remain illegal under federal law and can lead to fines or jail time.

Although psychedelic advocates like Ismail Ali with the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies says new research has found these types of drugs may be able to treat some mental health disorders.

“MAPS’ research has been for MDMA as a treatment for PTSD, there’s been a lot of research in psilocybin as a treatment for major depressive disorder and related disorders, end of life anxiety and so on,” Ali said.

Ali says this proposal is a good step forward for psychedelics.

Oregon last week became the first state to legalize psychedelic mushrooms. Wiener said he was encouraged by those developments and is talking with experts about exactly what form his proposal should take. He said he was leaning toward Oregon’s supervised-use approach.

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