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Cal Matters: California Advocates Push to Decriminalize Psychedelics With Therapeutic Benefits

Aug 30, 2023

An article examining California's proposal to make psychedelics more accessible for therapeutic and personal use

Article originally published at, reproduced in part here. The full article features comments from Kristin Nash, MPH.


Psychedelics are having a moment. A nationwide push to bring magic mushrooms and other psychedelics into the mainstream is gaining traction, and some Californians want in.

While hallucinogens are often associated with the drug culture of the 1960s, today’s movement on psychedelics is largely about using them to help treat the nation’s ballooning mental health crisis. Growing research portrays the drugs as a promising tool in helping people heal from various mental illnesses, including depression and post-traumatic stress disorder.

Now several proposals floating around in California seek to make psychedelics more accessible for therapeutic and personal use. These include one legislative proposal that would decriminalize use of certain natural hallucinogens and two pending initiatives for next year’s ballot — one that would legalize the use and sale of psilocybin mushrooms, and a second that would fund a $5 billion agency to research and develop psychedelic therapies.

One recent UC Berkeley survey offers a glimpse of where the public currently stands on these types of reforms. For example, more than 60% of those surveyed supported psychedelics for therapeutic use. Also, 78% supported making it easier for researchers to further study psychedelics. Meanwhile, 49% said they supported removing criminal penalties for personal use...

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