Mypost discussed a bit of legislation which has been introduced (SB-519), which could decriminalize a plethora of psychedelic drugs. You can read about exactly what SB-519 would do in my prior article, but I need to again emphasize the bill in its current form will not legalize psychedelics, but will instead decriminalize (i.e., reduce or remove penalties) them. You can also read more about that in my prior post.
I noted back then this was just the introduction of the invoice and that individuals should not get their hopes up that the bill would pass in its current form, or at all. Ever since then, I’ve been pleased to see the invoice make its way through a succession of committees over the California Senate. And most recently, on June 1, the California Senate voted 21-16 to pass the bill on the California Assembly. For all those who are not keyed to the legislative process, this is a major deal. Let’s break it down.
Like the national government, California has two legislative bodies: the Senate and Assembly (kind of like the national House of Representatives). Bills which are introduced in one chamber will generally go through a series of committees in that body and frequently be amended, before being introduced to get a floor vote to get the entire Senate or Assembly (as important ). If approved, the bill will proceed from the Senate to the Meeting or vice versa to go through a similar procedure. Once passed in both bodies, the bill is put on the Governor’s desk for (ideally ) signature. There are exceptions to this procedure, however this is the overall frame.
The simple fact that SB-519 handed the Senate is a good indication for the bill but it does not mean the war is won. Remember that the invoice only advanced with a 21-16 vote, which isn’t terribly large all things considered.
Not to be a downer, but there’s a real possibility that this bill could perish in the Meeting. Many of you may remember California’s attempts to legalize CBD via AB-228 back in 2019 (I wrote about that invoice so many occasions on this blog I won’t actually attempt to connect to these posts). Basically, that invoice made it all the way through the California Meeting with heavy amendments, and via a number of Senate committees simply to expire at the very end of the procedure.
One last point here is that through the procedure, a couple provisions related to sealing and blowing prior convictions were deleted. So, if the bill were to pass in its current form, it would be missing a number of the language which was in the form as introduced.
SB-519 may not pass. Or it may pass after being greatly corrected. We don’t yet understand.