Seyfarth Synopsis: On June 1, 2021, the California State Senate passed Senate Bill 519 which calls for the legalization for non-commercial use of specific psychedelics. This Bill is the newest among the growing list of legalization efforts of psychedelics, this being a major momentum shift.
In the most recent news of the ongoing modern psychedelic revolution, the California State Senate approved Senate Bill 519 on June 1, 2021. This bill, sponsored by Senator Scott Wiener, aims to legalize the possession and sharing of certain psychedelics. The list includes psilocybin, ketamine, MDMA, LSD, and non-peyote derived mescaline for Californians 21 and over. After its passing in the senate, the bill now moves to the Democratically controlled California State Assembly, and should it pass there it will be sent to Governor Gavin Newsom for his final approval.
This bill is a legalization, not decriminalization effort, making it legal to not only possess and share the listed psychedelics, but also cultivate naturally occurring psychedelics for personal use specifically. This means home grown spores would be free to spread in backyards across California, as the bill specifically allows property owners to possess spores or mycelium producing mushrooms for personal or social use.
Notably, the bill allows Californians to have the psychedelics for “social use,” which is defined as “the giving away or consensual administering of,” the covered substances, by someone 21 or older to someone 21 or older. Social sharing includes but is not limited to group counseling, spiritual guidance, community-based healing, or related services.
However, the bill specifically disallows offering these substances for financial gain, which is defined as the receipt of money or other valuable consideration in exchange for the item being shared. This does not apply to reasonable fees for counseling, spiritual guidance, or related services that are provided in tandem with both the administering or use of any of the controlled substances specifically under the guidance and supervision of the person providing those services on the premises, and on the premises of the person providing the services. This section in particular may create an interesting carve out for administering the substances, for a reasonable fee, but only under supervision of a guide upon their designated premises.
Moreover, the bill calls for the California Department of Health to convene a working group that will research and make recommendations to the state legislature on the regulation and use of substances legalized by this bill.
This bill is the latest spore to pop up in the growing network of psychedelic legislation within the United States. The bill specifically cites other related initiatives in the City of Oakland and City of Santa Cruz as inspiration, as well as Ann Arbor, Michigan; Somerville, Massachusetts; and Cambridge, Massachusetts; which have all decriminalized possession, use, and propagation of psychedelic plants and fungi. Washington DC has also passed Initiative 81 which decriminalized and deprioritized the possession of certain psychedelics.
With SB 519’s passage, the proponents for psychedelic medical and personal use will land a major win, and the bill may act as a catalyst for more states to consider psychedelic legalization, potentially leading to a similar market like that of the budding cannabis industry.