California Lawmakers Reject World's Most Modest Psychedelic Reform

By Gabriel García July 2, 2024

The world’s most modest psychedelic reform bill has failed yet again in the California Legislature. The bill would have allowed three counties to establish pilot programmes in which military veterans could take psilocybin under the supervision of medical professionals.

An Ambitious Bill That Failed to Come to Fruition

The bill’s sponsors decided to withdraw the legislation, KQED reports. The decision was made because of the certainty of a “no” vote at an upcoming Assembly Health Committee hearing. This is the latest in a series of legislative failures aimed at liberalising California’s psychedelic use laws.

Last year, Governor Gavin Newsom vetoed legislation that would have decriminalised the possession and personal use of several plant-based psychedelics. Newsom indicated that he might support a more restricted legalisation of these substances for medical use.

In May, a broader measure that would have established a state system to license and regulate the use of psychedelics, including MDMA, mescaline and psilocybin, in private therapeutic settings stalled in the state Senate.

Bill Details

This week’s failed bill was even more limited. It would have authorised public health officials in San Francisco, San Diego and Santa Cruz to license up to five facilities where medical professionals could administer psilocybin and psilocin to selected military veterans and first responders. The programme would run for three years.

These reform efforts in California were inspired by new programmes established by Oregon and Colorado, which also legalise the use of psychedelics in state-licensed, regulated, therapeutic settings.

The National and International Context

Some municipalities, including several cities in California and Washington, D.C., have passed more modest “de-prioritisation” policies, ranking the enforcement of certain psychedelic laws as the lowest priority for law enforcement. In Washington, D.C., this has created a thriving grey-black market for psychedelic mushrooms. With the modest assurance that they will not face legal sanctions, many of the city’s semi-legal cannabis businesses have begun selling mushrooms as well.

Reflections on Current Policies

While it is positive that home delivery of mushrooms is possible in the nation’s capital, neither the legalisation of psychedelics for highly regulated therapeutic use only nor uncontrolled grey markets are ideal. Restrictive policy limits the use of psychedelics to expensive and heavily controlled environments, which may not be attractive to the average person who wishes to consume mushrooms. On the other hand, grey markets deprive sellers and consumers of the benefits of fully legal markets, such as advertising, access to financing and insurance, and general ease of access.

An Uncertain Future

In a more rational world, psychedelic sales would be treated like any other normal market. Currently, the most viable policy reform options appear to be limited to allowing the use of psychedelics in hyper-regulated therapeutic settings or waiving the criminal penalties still in place for psychedelic use. With this latest legislative failure, the path to sensible and practical regulation of psychedelics in California remains uncertain.

If you are interested in learning more about this exciting world, we invite you to consult the Psychonaut’s Guides by Argonowta. These books will give you a broad and balanced view of psychedelics and their potential therapeutic effects. Remember, however, that these substances are not a panacea or a magic solution to all your problems. Their use requires professional guidance, an appropriate context and a responsible attitude. Psychedelics can be a powerful tool for personal change, but they can also be dangerous if used inappropriately or irresponsibly.

The Psychonaut’s Guides from Argonowta Publishing is a collection of books that explain in a rigorous and accessible way the scientific, historical, cultural and experiential aspects of psychedelic substances. These guides offer updated and contrasted information on the therapeutic and neuroscientific applications of psilocybin, LSD, DMT and MDMA, as well as practical advice on how to prepare, carry out and take advantage of psychedelic experiences. The Psychonaut’s Guides are a must-have reference for anyone interested in learning about the psychedelic renaissance that is transforming mental health and changing lives.

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