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State Sen. Scott Wiener re-introduces proposal to legalize psychedelics

CBS SF Bay Area 12/20/2022 CBS San Francisco

SAN FRANCISCO – State Sen. Scott Wiener (D-San Francisco) has re-introduced legislation that would legalize psychedelic drugs, one year after a similar proposal stalled in the legislature.

Wiener announced the introduction of Senate Bill 58, which would decriminalize the possession and personal use of certain substances, including psilocybin, psilocyn, Dimethyltryptamine ("DMT"), mescaline (excluding peyote), and ibogaine.

The senator announced SB58 at a briefing in San Francisco on Monday, flanked by a clinical psychologist and a retired police officer, among others.

At the briefing, the senator cited researching showing that several types of psychedelics can help relieve serious conditions including opioid addiction, depression, anxiety and post-traumatic stress. 

"We have an entire network of therapists who are helping people. And people's lives are being saved every single day. But they are doing so in the shadows, under a regime of criminalization," Wiener said. "And that is not healthy or productive for anyone."

The senator also noted that military veterans could be among the groups that can benefit from psychedelics, saying the VA has launched trials examining the substances as a possible treatment.  

Wiener introduced a similar measure to decriminalize psychedelics in the legislature last year. While it passed two committees in the Assembly, the proposal stalled in the Assembly Appropriations Committee.

According to Wiener's office, the measure has several co-authors from the Bay Area, including Assemblymember Matt Haney (D-San Francisco),  Assemblymember Ash Kalra (D-San Jose), Assemblymember Alex Lee (D-Fremont), Assemblymember Evan Low (D-Campbell) and Assemblymember Buffy Wicks (D-Oakland).

It was not immediately known when SB58 would have its first legislative hearing.

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