Journalist Monica Cadena recently sat down with Senator Scott Wiener (D-San Francisco) in his first live interview since his office announced in December of last year the reintroduction of a bill to decriminalize psychedelics. During the interview filmed at his San Francisco office, Senator Wiener discusses SB-58, which aims to decriminalize the possession and personal use of certain psychedelic drugs, including psilocybin, psilocin, dimethyltryptamine (DMT), mescaline (excluding peyote), and ibogaine. He emphasized the need for drug policy reform that prioritizes harm reduction and access to effective treatments for mental health and substance dependence.
SB-58 comes after SB-519, a different decriminalization bill, was gutted by the Assembly Appropriations Committee in August of 2022. Recently, SB-58 has gained momentum in the California legislature. On April 21, 2023, the Senate Public Safety Committee passed the bill with a 4-2 vote, sending it to the Senate Health Committee for further consideration.
In addition to discussing SB-58, the conversation touches on the broader psychedelic movement, including the importance of expungement for those with prior drug convictions and the potential benefits of safe consumption sites for drug users. Wiener noted these are critical steps in a comprehensive approach to drug policy reform.
The interview highlights the importance of taking a new approach to drug policy, one that prioritizes harm reduction and access to effective treatments over criminalization and punishment. Senator Wiener and Monica Cadena both express hope that SB-58 and other measures aimed at decriminalizing drugs and promoting harm reduction will continue to gain support and ultimately become law.
Watch the full interview below and get the lowdown on drug policy reform in California.