On February 17, 2021, California Senator Scott Wiener launched SB-519, a invoice that if handed, would decriminalize a bunch of each pure and artificial psychedelic medication. On this publish, I’ll unpack what the legislation would do in its present kind.

Earlier than I get into the specifics of the invoice, there are three issues which are vital to notice. First, this invoice was simply launched and it’s extremely possible that will probably be amended–probably even considerably–through the legislative course of. Second, it’s not at all assured that this invoice will cross. The California legislature has had a hard enough time making an attempt to cross a hemp CBD legislation that we don’t suggest getting your hopes up simply but.

Third, and most significantly, this legislation would NOT legalize psychedelics in the identical sense as states have legalized hashish throughout the nation. There’s a massive distinction between decriminalization and legalization, and the distinction can usually be complicated. However within the easiest phrases, this invoice gained’t open up authorized business alternatives; as a substitute, it’s primarily designed to cut back and remove penalties for possession and private use by individuals over 21. And it actually gained’t change federal legislation.

With that, let’s check out what the legislation would do:

Take away possession penalties.  The legislation would take away prison penalties for possessing a bunch of medication on Schedule I of California’s Uniform Managed Substances Act, akin to DMT, ibogaine, LSD, mescaline, peyote, psilocybin, and psilocyn. Once more, this isn’t full-fledged legalization, however the removing of sure penalties for possession solely.

Enable social sharing.  The legislation would additionally enable the possession, processing, acquiring,  ingesting, “social sharing” or transport of DMT, ibogaine, LSD, mescaline, psilocybin, or psilocyn. It might additionally make lawful cultivation or processing of vegetation able to making these substances at an individual’s property for private use or social sharing.

It’s vital to notice that any form of sharing must be with somebody over 21 and provision to a minor may result in penalties. Social sharing is proscribed to making a gift of or counseling the administration of those substances to individuals over 21 with out monetary achieve and within the context of issues akin to group counseling or non secular steering. This does NOT enable for business gross sales–the legislation is obvious that social sharing can’t be for monetary achieve. The one seeming exception is that the time period “monetary achieve” doesn’t prohibit charging charges for providers akin to counseling or non secular steering. There are comparable, although extra slim, provisions for MDMA.

Decriminalize paraphernalia.  Current legislation criminalizes drug paraphernalia. This legislation would offer a carveout to present legislation for paraphernalia associated to the private possession, rising, sharing, or secure use of a bunch of gear, together with DMT, LSD, psilocybin, MDMA, and ketamine. The aim of this carveout is to permit for harm-reduction instruments akin to drug-checking kits and different paraphernalia that may assist take a look at and make sure the security of those substances.

Working Group.  The California Division of Public Well being can be required to convene a working group to review and make suggestions concerning decriminalization and even legalization and regulation of psychedelic substances. The CDPH’s report back to the state legislature shall be due by January 1, 2024.

Expungement Alternatives.  The legislation would offer mechanisms to hunt to recall or dismiss sentences and doable sealing, if these individuals wouldn’t have been responsible of an offense or would have been responsible of a lesser offense beneath sure components of this legislation. The state Division of Justice can be required to evaluation data in state prison proceedings and notify, over the subsequent few years, prosecutors of instances that might then be eligible for dismissal or recall. The legislation then lists out a fancy means of permitting challenges to the dismissal or discount, and finally would enable courts to cut back or dismiss convictions in some instances.


It is a very bold legislation and is more likely to bear substantial modifications within the legislative session. Please keep tuned to the Canna Legislation Weblog for extra updates.