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Gov. Gavin Newsom vetoes bill that would’ve decriminalized magic mushrooms

Gov. Gavin Newsom vetoed a bill that would have decriminalized certain plant-based psychedelics in California. | Source: Mike Rosati

Gov. Gavin Newsom vetoed a bill that would decriminalize the possession of psychedelics such as so-called magic mushrooms and plant-derived psychoactive substances such as DMT.

The proposed legislation, Senate Bill 58, was introduced by state Sen. Scott Wiener, D-San Francisco, in December 2022 and marked the second attempt by the lawmaker to decriminalize psychedelics after his first bill to that end failed last year.

Both the state Assembly and Senate passed this year’s iteration before it landed on the governor’s desk.

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The bill would have gone into effect Jan. 1, 2025, and applied only to the possession of limited personal amounts of naturally psychedelic plant- and mushroom-based substances by people over the age of 21. It also would have empowered a state health agency to create a regulatory framework.

In his veto message, Newsom left open the possibility for the state to reconsider psychedelic legislation next year, urging regulated treatment guidelines.

“I am, additionally, committed to working with the legislature and sponsors of this bill to craft legislation that would authorize permissible uses and consider a framework for potential broader decriminalization in the future, once the impacts, dosing, best practice, and safety guardrails are thoroughly contemplated and put in place,” he wrote.

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Wiener called the veto a setback for combat veterans and first responders.

“The evidence is beyond dispute that criminalizing access to these substances only serves to make people less safe and reduce access to help,” Wiener said. “Today’s veto is a huge missed opportunity for California to follow the science and lead.”

He said he plans to introduce therapeutic-focused legislation next year.

So far, cities such as San Francisco, Oakland, Denver and Portland have all decriminalized the possession of certain psychedelics.