SB519, the California bill to decriminalize and legalize the limited possession of an array of psychedelics, such as psilocybin, ayahuasca, ibogaine and LSD, has been put on hold so the sponsors of the bill can build a stronger case and better its chances of becoming law next year.

The bill, which has drawn the support of a coalition of military veterans, law enforcement and health officials, would remove criminal penalties for possessing numerous psychedelics, including psilocybin mushrooms, DMT, ibogaine, LSD and MDMA, for adults 21 and older. Psilocybin, the active compound in psychedelic mushrooms, LSD, MDMA, DMT, mescaline and other psychedelic substances are currently classified as Schedule I controlled substances under U.S. federal law, making them illegal.

Sponsored by Sen. Scott Wiener, a Democrat representing San Francisco and northern San Mateo County, the bill previously passed the State Senate in June and was moving through Assembly committees before sponsors decided to pull it back from a full Assembly vote.

Wiener views it through the good news/bad news lens, tweeting: “Our bill to decriminalize psychedelics is alive & well, but we’re pausing its further consideration in the Assembly until next yr. In technical talk, it’s now a ‘2 year bill.’ We’ll spend the next year continuing to build support in the Assembly.”

While it’s disappointing for consumers that the bill won’t pass this year, proponents will benefit from more time to further refine the reform legislation, broaden support and ultimately increase chances of passage. Wiener remains optimistic and said he was “heartened that the bill moved as deep into the process as it did and that we have a realistic chance of passing it next year. … It passed the full Senate and both Assembly policy committees. But we need more time to build support in the Assembly to achieve final passage.”

Added Wiener, “Decriminalizing psychedelics is an important step in ending the failed War on Drugs … We shouldn’t be arresting people for possessing or using drugs. And people should be able to access psychedelics to address mental health and addiction challenges. … Our mental health crisis is worse than ever, and psychedelics have shown great promise in treating mental health issues from PTSD to anxiety and depression.”

Extra incentive to bump the bill came when changes approved by the Public Health Committee included limits for personal possession. Decriminalize Nature (DN), a group working for psychedelics reform across the country, eschew compromise and wants to eliminate the possession limitation. However, advocates of the bill claim a more practical stance, accepting possession limits in the interest of advancing the reform through the legislature, believing the bill would face defeat without the restrictions.

Ketamine was dropped from the list of drugs to be approved in an effort to build support for the legislation. Mescaline was also excluded from the bill in its peyote-derived form as a result of native groups seeking conservation of sacred cacti, though possession would be allowed if it’s derived from other cacti plants. “There are disagreements within the psychedelic world on it,” the senator told activists in June. Psychedelics activists have filed a petition for the 2022 ballot to make California the first state to legalize the use of psilocybin mushrooms.

Oakland and Santa Cruz have already decriminalized psychedelics. Oakland permits healing ceremonies where psychedelics can be used. Denver became the first city to decriminalize psilocybin mushrooms in 2019. This year, Congressional lawmakers filed the first-ever legislation to federally decriminalize possession of illicit substances.

Here are SB519’s currently proscribed legal limits for personal possession: DMT, 2 grams; Ibogaine, 15 grams; LSD, 0.01 grams; MDMA, 4 grams; Mescaline, 4 grams; Psilocybin, 2 grams or 4 ounces of a plant or fungi containing psilocybin; Psilocyn, 2 grams or 4 ounces of a plant or fungi containing psilocyn.