CA lawmakers vote to decriminalize psychedelics, move forward with cannabis cafes

ByABC7 Bay Area Digital Staff KGO logo
Friday, September 8, 2023
CA lawmakers vote psychedelics decriminalization, cannabis cafes
Several pieces of drug legislation went through the state capitol on Thursday, including decriminalizing psychedelics and legalizing cannabis cafes.

SACRAMENTO -- A California legislative bill aimed at decriminalizing plant-based psychedelics, including mushrooms, received final approval on the Senate floor Thursday and is now on its way to Governor Gavin Newsom's desk, according to officials.

SB-58, introduced by California Senators Scott Wiener, Ash Kalra and several others, passed 21-3-16 on the Assembly floor Thursday.

"They're not a panacea, this is not a silver bullet, but there are plenty of people who have literally been able to turn their lives around because of psychedelics," Wiener said.

Wiener has been championing the bill for several years.

He believes everyone - from combat veterans with PTSD, to those who suffer from disorders, like anxiety and depression - could benefit.

MORE: A closer look at the state of CA's cannabis industry: progress vs. ongoing challenges

Wiener said 13 of his bills were introduced during this assembly session, with four already passed back to the Senate for a final sign-off.

"We are now one step closer to making our shared values a reality. These bills will streamline housing approvals, address the climate crisis, cap the out-of-pocket cost of insulin, expand access to PrEP, protect LGBTQ foster youth, decriminalize psychedelics, support small businesses, and more," he said in a statement.

Several pieces of drug legislation made their way through the state capitol on Thursday.

"The tide has turned and shifted dramatically on these issues in California. Support for the decriminalization of substances and the full legalization of cannabis is overwhelming now," said State Assemblymember Matt Haney.

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AB374 introduced in the California legislature would allow cannabis lounges to sell food and non-alcoholic drinks.

Haney supported Wiener's legislation and also is advocating for his own.

Haney introduced a bill that would allow certain cannabis retailers to sell food and beverages.

The idea behind it would be to create cannabis cafes, similar to ones in places like Amsterdam.

The state senate passed Haney's bill by an overwhelming margin.

MORE: California employers will soon be banned for screening workers for marijuana

It now needs one more vote before heading to the governor.

"California should be a destination for cannabis, just like it is for wine. And one of the things that is holding us back from that right now is that we can't really offer a cannabis experience that is legal, that is safe, that is regulated," Haney said.

While both proposals have gotten support from lawmakers, some in the public still have concerns.

But Wiener believes they can work together to find solutions that work for everyone.

MORE: Marijuana possession pardons: Some Bay Area residents set to benefit, but not all

"Any substance can be misused, and any substance can impact someone negatively. That's true of substances that are legal," he said.

Because for him, this is only the beginning.

"The step that we are taking and hopefully we will take if the governor signs the bill is step number one in this process. We have a lot more work to do," Wiener said.

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