Update on Senator Scott Wiener’s Psychedelic Bill Proposal:
So I had some meetings with Senator Scott Wiener’s staff and here’s the basic summary...
Decriminalize California was in the process of getting signatures to qualify for the 2020 November Ballot when COVID-19 hit, and we had to suspend signature collections hoping to try again in 2021 leading up to the 2022 election, but it looks like the plague is going to push our signature collection window into late summer to early winter 2021.
Because of this, we are looking at every possible route to ending the drug war.
A lot of big questions about what kind of language to push going forward, what the timeline looks like trying to get it through the senate, and what kind of help they would need from us.
The top 3 changes we are contemplating for our 2022 run are upping the age from 18 to 21, changing some of the definitions of therapeutic use, and rewording the amnesty and expungement component so that it is voluntary and not automatic. That would theoretically remove the supposed cost to the state of 10 million dollars listed in the Title & Summary and actually creates a net positive based on local sales tax for just dietary supplement use. Medical, therapeutic, religious, and spiritual use still remain tax-free.
Because we are going into a 2022 gubernatorial election and not a presidential election the voter turnout will be far less in numbers but with an increase in conservative voters so we have to prepare for that.
Contemplating drug decriminalization/legalization on a broader level is even more controversial but a debate worth having.
Let's go back to Denver, CO passing I-301 in 2019 effectively making psilocybin offenses the lowest level priority issue. Unfortunately, it didn't properly address cultivation or distribution and within a few months, one of the campaign volunteers was arrested for growing and selling magic mushrooms.
Later in Oakland, after Decriminalize Nature passed at the city council level, Dave Hodges Magic Mushroom Church "Zide Door" was raided by Oakland PD, and $200,000 worth of mushrooms were taken. He is still awaiting formal charges.
Unfortunately, the lowest level priority route doesn't solve the real drug war problems.
However, Oregon was later able to pass the Therapeutic Bill for Magic Mushrooms, but the real winner was Decriminalizing all drug possession and bringing it down to a $100 fine or medical treatment.
That was an amazing, expensive, and righteous win.
Now if any state were to pursue a full drug decriminalization initiative model similar to Oregon, it might just get the support of the Drug Policy Alliance.
If a therapeutic model was tried not just for psilocybin, or plant based medicine but all psychedelics, then maybe MAPS would support it.
The smart move about what substances to include on that list would be magic mushrooms, LSD(because it’s amazing), MDMA, Ketamine, and Ibogaine. Skip Peyote since that takes forever to grow and is being overharvested as is. Might also want to build in some kind of conservational protections for the Colorado River toad because it contains 5-MeO-DMT.
But the level of complexity in the drug war activists world is a bit insane right now with lots of different parties fighting it out over perceived territories, and the debate over what the perfect language would be is getting more intense every day.
In your position have you considered possibly running either some kind of full California drug reform bill or even breaking it up into 2-3 different bills like so?
Bill 1: Decriminalization of All Substances
Bill 2: Psychedelic Research and Therapeutic Use for All Psychedelics
Bill 3: Adult Use and Sale of Magic Mushrooms
Gives everyone a shot of what they want and we can see what actually sticks with your peers when it comes to the committees and the final vote.
As far as what the voters will think of the bills I imagine the psychedelic research and therapeutic use bill would be well received, Adult Use of Magic Mushrooms would pass(anything with magic mushrooms would have passed last year and going forward will pass) and Decriminalization of All Substance would be tough as hell but would probably still pass.
The timeline for Senator Scott Wiener to submit language is between now and March and the earliest it could go to vote would be September 2021 or as late as September 2022.
After that, we talked a bit about the Netflix show The Crown, a stunning show that actually makes me hate the monarchy even more but I am utterly fascinated with how absurd the British Government is, then again check out our California State Legislature Process for getting a bill through.
The Legislature handles bills according to a process prescribed by the Constitution and statutory law to ensure opportunity for citizen input. See <leginfo.ca.gov/bil2lawx.html>
The legislative process, outlined above, is divided into 11 stages.
Drafting. Upon the request of a legislator, the Legislative Counsel’s Office drafts the formal language of a bill and a summary (called digest) of its main provisions. Ideas for proposals often come from individuals, legislative committees, the executive branch, counties, cities, businesses, lobbyists, and citizen groups.
Introduction. A bill can be introduced in the Assembly or in the Senate. There it is numbered and read for the first time. (The Constitution requires, with limited exception, that a bill be read by title on three separate days in each house.) The name of the author (the legislator who introduced the bill) becomes part of the title. A bill cannot be heard or acted upon until after a 30-day waiting period.
Policy committee. The rules committee of the house of origin assigns each bill to a policy committee appropriate to the subject matter. The committee hears public testimony from the author, proponents, and opponents. The committee can pass the original or an amended form of the bill, kill it by holding it in committee, refer it to another committee, amend it and re-refer it to itself, send it to interim study, or take no action. Approval of a bill requires a majority of those on the committee.
Fiscal committee. If approved by the policy committee, a bill that contains an appropriation or has financial implications for the state is sent to the fiscal committee, where similar consideration and actions can occur. Approval of a bill requires a majority of those on the committee.
Second reading. A bill recommended for passage by committee is read a second time on the floor of the house. Ordinarily, there is little or no debate. If a bill is amended at this stage, it may be referred back for another committee hearing.
Floor vote. A bill is read a third time, debated, and possibly amended on the floor. A roll call vote is taken. An ordinary bill needs a majority vote to pass (21 votes in the senate, 41 votes in the Assembly). An urgency bill or a bill with fiscal implications requires a two-thirds vote (27 votes in the Senate, 54 in the Assembly).
Second house. If it receives a favorable vote in the first house, a bill repeats the same steps in the other house. If the second house passes the bill without changing it, it is sent to the governor’s desk.
Concurrence of conference. If a measure is amended in the second house and passed, it is returned to the house of origin for consideration of amendments. The house of origin may concur with the amendments and send the bill to the governor, or reject the amendments and submit it to a two-house conference committee. If either house rejects the conference report, a second (and even a third) conference committee can be formed. If both houses adopt the conference report, the bill is sent to the governor.
Governor’s action. Within 12 days after receiving a bill, the governor may sign it into law, allow it to become law without a signature, or veto it. In bills that appropriate funds, the governor may veto or reduce particular expenditure items while approving the rest of the provisions. When the Legislature recesses in mid-September of an odd-numbered year, the governor has until mid-October to make decisions on bills. When the legislature concludes its work in August of an even-numbered year, the Governor has until September 30 to make decisions on the bills.
Overrides. A vetoed bill is returned to the house of origin, where a vote may be taken to override the governor’s veto; a two-thirds vote of both houses is required to override a veto.
Effective date. Ordinarily, a law passed during a regular session takes effect January 1 of the following year. A few statutes go into effect as soon as the governor signs them; these include acts calling for elections and urgency measures necessary for the immediate preservation of public peace, health, or safety.
Either way, if the bills aren’t perfect but help push us in the right direction then you will get our support.
Regardless our language for Magic Mushrooms is the only initiative to properly address, cultivation, manufacturing, distribution, transportation, possession, and consumption.
Perhaps we should start drafting the other initiatives just to centralize the debate for future campaigns.
We shall see...
-Ryan Munevar - Campaign Director