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Politics & Policy

San Francisco lawmaker joins forces with Republican for magic mushroom decriminalization

After Gov. Gavin Newsom vetoed his legislation last month, state Sen. Scott Wiener will try once push to decriminalize certain naturally occurring psychedelics, like magic mushrooms. | Source: Gina Castro/The Standard

After Gov. Gavin Newsom vetoed a bill to decriminalize certain naturally occurring psychedelics, one San Francisco lawmaker simply will not abandon the fight.

State Sen. Scott Wiener has renewed his push to decriminalize psilocybin—the psychoactive compound in so-called magic mushrooms—along with ibogaine, peyote and DMT. This time, he’s partnering with Republican Assemblymember Marie Waldron, the minority leader in the legislature’s lower chamber. Politico first reported the news.

Specifically, Wiener and Waldron hope to address the point that Newsom made in his veto message, where he said that decriminalization first required a therapeutic framework to be in place

Mushrooms have shown potential as a novel treatment for PTSD and traumatic brain injury, so to push his bill through the Legislature, Wiener marshaled the support of first responders and combat veterans who spoke to their effectiveness.

This strategy won Wiener support among some conservative colleagues in his efforts to pass his bill over the last two Legislature sessions. On Friday, he tweeted that he will build on the effort, taking cues from the governor and from another state that has had success with decriminalization.

Wiener and Waldron will work on “bipartisan legislation allowing regulated therapeutic psychedelic use as in Colorado, but w[ith] no decriminalization outside the regulated context,” the tweet said.

Bipartisanship was always part of Wiener’s strategy, as his bill faced substantial opposition in Sacramento even though Democrats dominate the state Legislature. The party holds a 62-18 supermajority in the Assembly and a 32-8 advantage in the state Senate, but a number of lawmakers from his party voted against Wiener’s bill, forcing him to identify potential GOP support. 

Decriminalization, it should be noted, is not the same as legalization. It allows the personal and guided use, cultivation and possession of naturally occurring psychedelics, but not the sale.

In the absence of a legal framework, mushroom churches have begun to proliferate through the Bay Area, with several opening in San Francisco this year.