California legislators must put more work into decriminalizing hallucinogens before Gov. Gavin Newsom will sign a bill, said Newsom announcing that he vetoed a new bill, the Guardian reports. The rejected law, which was anticipated to take effect in 2025, would have done away with criminal penalties for people possessing natural psychedelics for personal use. It also would have required the state to form a group to study and make recommendations about the drugs’ therapeutic use. Newsom, who championed legalizing cannabis in 2016, said, “California should immediately begin work to set up regulated treatment guidelines – replete with dosing information, therapeutic guidelines, rules to prevent against exploitation during guided treatments, and medical clearance of no underlying psychoses,. Unfortunately, this bill would decriminalize possession prior to these guidelines going into place, and I cannot sign it.”
The legislation, which echoed similar measures in Oregon and Colorado, came after years of effort from drug reform advocates and state lawmakers. Scott Wiener, a state senator from San Francisco who introduced the bill, has argued it is an important way to undo the harms of the “war on drugs” and open new avenues of mental health treatment. “Veterans and anyone suffering from PTSD and depression should not face criminal penalties for seeking relief,” Wiener said when the measure passed the legislature. “Plant-based psychedelics are non-addictive and show tremendous promise at treating some of the most intractable drivers of our nation’s mental health crisis.” Wiener backed a previous effort in the legislature in 2021, but that bill also failed. This year’s bill was crafted in consultation with law enforcement groups and medical experts and takes a “moderate approach”, Wiener said.