California lawmakers introduce bill to legalize psychedelic mushroom therapy News
David Jiang, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons
California lawmakers introduce bill to legalize psychedelic mushroom therapy

California lawmakers announced Tuesday new bipartisan legislation, Senate Bill (SB) 1012, which would effectively permit the use of psychedelic mushrooms for therapeutic purposes. Otherwise referred to as the “Regulated Psychedelic-Assisted Therapy Act,” the proposed bill would authorize professionals to administer the consumption of psychedelic mushrooms by individuals over the age of 21.

SB 1012 was penned by Senator Scott Wiener, with Assembly Members Josh Lowenthal and Marie Waldron as principal coauthors. The proposed legislation explains that Section 11054(d) of the California Health & Safety Code categorizes dimethyltryptamine, mescaline, 3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine (MDMA), ibogaine, psilocybin, and psilocyn as Schedule I substances, which are most strictly regulated. SB 1012 defines most of these hallucinogens as “regulated psychedelic substances.” The bill also calls for the establishment of a regulatory entity “to license and regulate psychedelic-assisted therapy facilitators” who would supervise the administration of these substances. According to SB 1012:

California’s current approach to mental health has failed to fulfill its promise. Californians deserve more tools to address mental health issues, including approaches such as regulated psychedelic-assisted therapy, that are grounded in treatment, recovery, health, and wellness, rather than criminalization, stigma, suffering, and punishment … Psychedelic substances are powerful agents that have known contraindications for certain populations and, when used with certain other substances, and can trigger a variety of adverse effects. Thus, the use of psychedelic substances must be accompanied by a strong public education campaign, guardrails for safe access and use in a supervised environment by trained facilitators, harm reduction initiatives, and training for first responders and multiresponders.

The new legislation comes a few months after California Governor Gavin Newsom vetoed SB 58, a bill introduced by Wiener which sought to “make lawful the possession, preparation, obtaining, or transportation of, specified quantities of [certain hallucinogenic substances]” in addition to authorizing therapeutic use of the substances. In Newsom’s veto statement, he expressed his support of the potential therapeutic benefits of the substances once “regulated treatment guidelines” were designed. He also “urge[d] the legislature to send [him] legislation [in 2024] that includes therapeutic guidelines.”

In a thread of posts on X (formerly known as Twitter), Wiener asserted that “[w]hile traditional treatment works for many, it doesn’t work for everyone & access is still limited. Too many people suffer in silence.” He also noted that “… if the bill passes this year, treatments will be available in 2026 or 2027.”