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California Bill To Legalize Psychedelic Services Get Amendments Ahead Of Expected Committee Vote Next Month

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A bipartisan bill to legalize psychedelic service centers in California has been amended in a number of different ways as supporters prepare for an expected committee hearing next month.

The “Regulated Therapeutic Access to Psychedelics Act”—which would allow adults 21 and older could access psilocybin, MDMA, mescaline and DMT in a supervised environment with trained facilitators—has undergone a series of mostly technical changes, as well as certain key regulatory revisions.

Sponsored by Sen. Scott Wiener (D) and Assemblymember Marie Waldron (R), the legislation has been drafted in a way that’s meant to be responsive to concerns voiced by Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) last year when he vetoed a broader proposal that included provisions to legalize low-level possession of substances such as psilocybin.

Among the main changes to the bill that were adopted last week is new language to establish “Division of Regulated Psychedelic-Assisted Therapy” under the California Business, Consumer Services, and Housing Agency that would be specifically tasked with regulating the psychedelics program.

The measure was also amended to create a “Board of Regulated Psychedelic Facilitators” in the state Department of Consumer Affairs to oversee and license trained facilitators to provide the services.

A “Public Education and Harm Reduction Fund” would also be created to support efforts to educate the public about the potential benefits and risks of psychedelics.

Under the bill as amended, the governor would be responsible for making appointments to the proposed expert oversight committee.

The legislation was also revised to clarify that psychedelics covered under the measure could only be used in the context of a regulated facilitation at approved locations.

Other mostly technical changes include clarifications around data collection requirements, definitional changes, the removal of duplicative language, updated medical screening rules and facilitator enforcement provisions.

The main difference in the overall legislation as compared to the bill that the governor vetoed last year is that the earlier proposal sought to remove criminal penalties for psychedelics possession outside of the regulated service context. That said, the current measure does not lay out any specific qualifying medical conditions that a person must have in order to access the services.

Wiener told Marijuana Moment last week that he still expects the bill will receive initial consideration in a committee hearing next month. It’s been referred to three separate panels.

Meanwhile, Waldron, the lead on the Assembly side, is sponsoring a separate psychedelics bill focused on promoting research and creating a framework for the possibility of regulated therapeutic access that has already moved through the Assembly this year with unanimous support.

Separately, a California campaign to put psilocybin legalization on the state’s November ballot recently announced that it did not secure enough signature to qualify in time for a deadline.

Another campaign filed and then abruptly withdrew an initiative to create a $5 billion state agency tasked with funding and promoting psychedelics research last year.

A third campaign also entered the mix late last year, proposing to legalize the possession and cultivation of substances like psilocybin, LSD, MDMA, DMT, ibogaine and mescaline. People could buy them for therapeutic use with a doctor’s recommendation. Advocates for that measure still have time to gather and turn in signatures.

The California Legislative Analyst’s Office (LAO) has since released its review of that proposal, outlining not only the plan’s policy implications but also its potential fiscal impacts on the state—which the report calls “various” and “uncertain.”

Some California municipalities, meanwhile, are pushing forward with reform on the local level. The city of Eureka, for example, adopted a resolution in October to decriminalize psychedelic plants and fungi and make enforcement of laws against personal use, cultivation and possession a low priority for police. It’s at least the fifth local jurisdiction in the state to embrace the policy change. Others include San FranciscoOaklandSanta Cruz and Arcata.

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