It's a Good Week for Drugs

Illustration for article titled It's a Good Week for Drugs
Photo: Peter Dejong (AP)

Californians, your state senators (who are not your mom), see that you trip balls and/or go on spiritual journeys, which is just fine. On Tuesday, the state senate voted to pass a bill that would legalize the possession and ingestion of psilocybin and psilocin, ketamine, LSD, MDMA, DMT, mescaline, and ibogaine. Ya know, shrooms, acid, molly, K, etc. The focus is more on getting people the good stuff and less on social justice, but one step at a time.

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SB 519, which now moves to the House, acknowledges that the war on drugs hasn’t worked and that responsible regulation can help reduce harm, primarily to people who take tainted substances. “The War on Drugs has entailed overwhelming financial and societal costs, and the policy behind it does not reflect a modern understanding of substance use nor does it accurately reflect the potential therapeutic benefits or harms of various substances,” the introduction to the bill reads. It goes on to say that people continue to use black market drugs, which have become less safe, particularly when laced with drugs like fentanyl, which caused a spike in overdoses during the pandemic. The state hopes that distributing drug analysis tools and scales can help reduce harm.

It also notes that certain psychedelics have proven medicinal benefits, which is partly the reason that Oregon and Denver legalized psilocybin, the hallucinogen derived from mushrooms. Studies have shown that taking psilocybin, MDMA, and ketamine, paired with psychotherapy, can help relieve major depressive disorder and PTSD. In the latter case, studies frequently state that pharmaceuticals aren’t enough.

While the bill would allow residents over 21 to, for all practical purposes, harvest, possess, and take the drugs, it still doesn’t necessarily help people most abused by the war on drugs. Sales, outside of “counseling, spiritual guidance, or related services” are still banned, though “social sharing” is allowed. A previous draft did include language, similar to New York’s weed legalization bill, that would order the Department of Justice to review and potentially dismiss past convictions based on the newly legalized violations (still not sales). Meanwhile, Oakland’s 2019 measure explicitly states that law enforcement should make charges for buying and distribution its lowest priority.

It is also a good week for therapeutic drugs in Texas, where two bills await Governor Abbot’s signature. One would expand access to medical weed, and another would mandate research on the effectiveness of MDMA, ketamine, and psilocybin in treating PTSD.

Even Amazon is thinking about drugs this week. Yesterday, Amazon’s CEO of retail Dave Clark announced that the company is supporting The Marijuana Opportunity Reinvestment and Expungement Act of 2021 (MORE Act), which would legalize weed on the federal level, expunge records, and reinvest in hard-hit communities.

As Courthouse News notes, a group called Decriminalize California plans to introduce a 2020 ballot measure that would create business permits to sell psilocybin.

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Good for you, maybe? The day may come when you can freely tell us all about it in the comments section without fear.

Staff reporter, Gizmodo. wkimball @ gizmodo

DISCUSSION

Sean_Malloy
Sean Malloy

And if California residents are given more ways to get whacked out of their minds, they won’t be paying attention to how the state’s energy production is becoming more and more expensive as gubernatorial directives shift production away from known reliable production to intermittent renewables, and purchase more and more fossil-fuel-generated power from out of state to make up shortfalls... Low-income households get the short end of the stick, but someone’s got to pay the price if California is going to be a leader in virtue signaling over climate change.