Newsom and ‘shrooms: What You Need to Know
Just when you thought there’d never again be a need to use the words Newsom and ‘shrooms in a sentence, the governor comes along and vetoes a bill decriminalizing psilocybin in California.
Yep, you read that correctly. America’s most enlightened governor, shutting down a most enlightening measure.
That measure was Senate Bill 58, which would’ve decriminalized the possession and personal use of a short list of natural psychedelics, including “magic mushrooms.”
The bill, put into play by Sen. Scott Wiener (D-San Francisco), was applauded by everyone from criminal justice reform advocates lobbying to end the “war on drugs” to veterans groups that want broader access to psychedelics for those suffering from post-traumatic stress and other mental health disorders.
Both sides have ample reason to want to see such a bill come to pass.
“Psychedelics have proven to relieve people suffering from conditions such as depression, PTSD, traumatic brain injury, and other addictive personality traits. This is an exciting frontier and California will be on the front end of leading it,” said the governor.
While, Newsom did say he supports “new opportunities to address mental health through psychedelic medicines like those addressed in this bill,” he also said that without regulated treatment guidelines, he can’t sign it.
Newsom and ‘shrooms
The words Newsom and ‘shrooms should’ve been used in a sentence exactly twice. First, when the governor signed off on legislation decriminalizing psilocybin. And second, when history looked back on him as the first of 50 governors to do so.
The two words certainly shouldn’t have become a story.
And yet, here we are. Not just pairing the words Newsom and ‘shrooms in the first of what will undoubtedly be many sentences, but using the two to announce some most unfortunate news.
Everyone knows magic mushrooms have been successfully used to treat everything from addiction to PTSD. (The usage dates back decades.) Everyone also knows that Newsom is America’s most forward-thinking governor.
So how and why couldn’t a bill decriminalizing psilocybin pass in California?
Newsom’s ‘shrooms bill veto statement
The Governor’s veto statement was clear and unequivocal:
“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.”
On the face of it, Newsome’s veto statement does make a certain sense, the bill does kinda put the cart before the horse. Heck, you could even say it kicks the horse in the ass. Again though, people have been self-medicating with mushrooms for decades, so we know what works.
Or don’t we? Isn’t there some kind of data set attesting to that fact? If there is, why wasn’t it given to Newsome?
Apparently, there isn’t any data.
Wiener already admitted the state lacks reliable data on arrests for possession of psychedelics. In fact, he previously told The Times it was because of outdated data collection practices.
Is that the reason we’re not seeing data on use and abuse?
Senate Bill 58
Anabel Sosa’s Los Angeles Times breakdown says that Senate Bill 58 basically would have decriminalized the possession and personal use of psilocybin and psilocin, the active ingredients in psychedelic mushrooms; mescaline; and dimethyltryptamine, or DMT. DMT, of course, is a key compound in ayahuasca, the psychedelic brew that’s most often used for spiritual or religious purposes.
“The law would have applied only to people 21 or older,” the Sosa continued. “The bill also did not permit the personal transfer or sale of psychedelics in dispensaries.”
Furthermore, Senate Bill 58 “would have mandated that the California Health and Human Services Agency study the therapeutic use of psychedelics and submit a report with findings and recommendations to the Legislature.”
Apparently those mandates weren’t enough for Newsom.
Newsom and ‘shrooms: The Final Chapter
Healing Properties has spilled a considerable amount of ink on magic mushrooms. We wrote about former GOP Congresswoman Mimi Walters support of psilocybin treatment for alcoholism. We wrote about the one and only Zappy Zapolin, “Psychedelic Concierge to the Stars”. Heck, we even wrote about the psilocybin chocolate bar.
But as much as we’ve written we really can’t really figure out why Newsome vetoed this bill. There’s little risk of blowback, from anyone. And the opportunities, while perhaps fairly marginal in size, seem almost monumental in scope. They seem especially monumental to those for whom psychedelics would provide substantial relief from mental and/or substance use disorders.
Still, there’s always next year. So we’ll stay positive. After all, Newsome himself “urged” the California Senate and Assembly to send legislation next year that includes therapeutic guidelines and provides a better framework for “potential broader decriminalization in the future.”
“I am committed to working with the legislature and sponsors of this bill to craft legislation that would authorize permissible uses once the impacts, dosing, best practice, and safety guardrails are thoroughly contemplated and put in place,” Newsom said.
Let’s hope that mouthful will mark the beginning of the end of the saga of Newsom and ‘shrooms.
If you or someone you love is battling addiction, please give us a ring. We’d luv to help you get help.