“The Golden State” has a long cultural history regarding psychedelic usage back to the Haight-Ashbury days of the 1950s–1960s. However, since the days of hippies and Grateful Dead followings, California has been leading the nation as one of the main proponents on drug legalization. However, instead of cannabis, this time, the state is focusing on legalizing psychedelics for therapeutic and facilitated use.
Presently, Senate Bill 58 has been sent to Governor Newsom to receive approval to legalize mescaline, DMT, psilocybin, and psilocyn for therapeutic and facilitated use. If passed, it will establish a workgroup under the California Health and Human Services Agency (“CHHSA”) to study and make recommendations on developing a regulatory framework to permit adult access to the substances for therapeutic and facilitated use. Under the proposed law, the workgroup will have until January 1, 2025, to create a regulatory framework to license entities and individuals to provide access. Governor Newsom will have until October 14th, 2023, to either approve or veto the measure.
Let’s delve into what the state of California would look like if Senate Bill 58 is passed:
As discussed above, if Senate Bill 58 passes, the CHHSA will create a workgroup who will study and make recommendations on the establishment of a framework to govern the therapeutic use of the psychedelics allowed under the proposed law. The Secretary of the CHHSA, or their designee, will be the chairperson of this workgroup.
Further, the workgroup will consist of: (i) individuals with experience in psychedelic therapy, medicine and public health, drug policy, harm reduction, and youth drug education; (ii) law enforcement and emergency medical services or first responders; (iii) individuals with expertise in traditional indigenous use of psychedelic substances, including representatives from the National Council of the Native American Church and Indian tribes; (iv) veteran groups; (v) university researchers with expertise in psychedelics; (vi) research scientists with expertise in clinical studies and the drug approval process under the FDA; and (vii) persons from other states that have decriminalized psychedelics and established a regulatory framework for the lawful use of psychedelics.
From researching the safety and efficacy of using such substances in a therapeutic use for treating mental health conditions to studying the regulated use models for the controlled substances, this workgroup will have until January 1, 2025, to report their findings and recommendations to the California legislature.
Timeline of Psychedelic Legalization in California:
- Approval of Senate Bill 58 On/before October 14th, 2023
- Submit Recommendations & Findings to the Legislature On/before January 1, 2025
- Decriminalization of Noncommercial, Personal Use of Permitted Psychedelics January 1, 2025
- Licensing of Businesses and Individuals TBD
What are the Permitted Psychedelics under SB 58 and Their Allowable Amounts?
- Dimethyltryptamine (“DMT”) – one (1) gram
- Psilocybin – one (1) gram or one (1) ounce of a plant or fungi containing psilocybin
- Psilocyn – one (1) gram or one (1) ounce of a plant or fungi containing psilocyn
- Mescaline (except for peyote) – four (4) grams
Decriminalization in “The Golden State”
Upon approval of Senate Bill 58, decriminalization of the personal, noncommercial use of the permitted psychedelics will not become effective until January 1, 2025.
Although the state has yet to decriminalize psychedelics within its jurisdiction, three (3) main cities already have – Oakland, Santa Cruz, and San Francisco. The city of Oakland passed a resolution in 2019 effectively decriminalizing psilocybin and other psychoactive plants and fungi, also referred to as “entheogenic plants.” Pursuant to this resolution, it states that city money will not be used to “assist in the enforcement of laws imposing criminal penalties for the use and possession of Entheogenic Plants by adults,” further highlighting that it will be amongst the lowest law enforcement priorities for the city.
One year after, the city of Santa Cruz followed suit and unanimously approved a resolution making investigating and arresting adults twenty-one (21) years and older for using, possessing, or cultivating psychoactive plants and fungi the lowest priorities for their local law enforcement. In September 2022, the San Francisco Board of Supervisors unanimously passed a resolution urging local law enforcement to deprioritize the investigation and arrest of adult users of plant-based psychedelic substances.
In addition to Senate Bill 58, AG File No. 23-0013 (“AG File”) is the newest proposed initiative in the state of California. If approved, AG File would authorize $5 billion in state general obligation bonds to fund mental health-related research and therapies involving certain psychedelics. The initiative would create a state constitutional right to conduct research in California using all psychedelic substances (natural and synthetic), except for peyote. Substances that could be studied include psilocybin (magic mushrooms), ibogaine, LSD, MDMA (molly or ecstasy), ketamine, and cannabis.
Further, AG File would also establish a state agency called the Treatment, Research, Education, Access and Therapies (“TREAT”) Institute, which would identify opportunities for advancing scientific research and development into the therapeutic potential of psychedelics. Research grants would need to support research into the risks and benefits of psychedelic-assisted therapy for addiction, anxiety, depression, suicidality, post-traumatic stress disorder (“PTSD”), chronic and acute pain and other disorders such as obsessive-compulsive disorder (“OCD”) and anorexia.
Although this initiative is estimated to cost the state approximately $6.6 billion, all businesses, universities and other entities that receive funding from the TREAT institute would be subject to intellectual property agreements, which the state could also recoup some of that money by bringing new scientific discoveries to market.
As many are anxiously awaiting to see if Senate Bill 58 will be approved by the Governor, now is the time to start strategizing and compiling a competitive business plan to ensure your spot in the newest psychedelic market. To enter the legal psychedelic market, there are various regulatory requirements that are demanded by the state. Due to the relative similarity of the psychedelic licensing market and cannabis business licensing industry, our Team has an in-depth understanding of how to successfully meet all such requirements to ensure your team creates a strong, trusting relationship with the state’s regulatory body. Depending on your team’s needs, we offer an array of services to best meet your current and future goals. From building a team, including local partners and organizations, to introducing you to our network of lobbyists and expert industry professionals, we will make sure you have a strong group to enter such competitive markets. Further, we provide proven Standard Operating Procedures and personalized narratives to ensure we represent your team as an efficient, turnkey group who is eager and ready to enter the industry. Our Team will collaboratively develop innovative strategies to help differentiate your team from the rest through tactical funding, community outreach initiatives, and identifying ideal facilities.
Because the psychedelic market is relatively new, we recognize the importance of having a team of experienced California Psychedelic License Consultants by your side to help you navigate the intricate regulatory challenges. If you’re interested in exploring your possibilities, please get in touch with our team today through our website or email.