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California Legislature Approves Bill To Break Psychedelics Research Logjam, Sending It To Governor



The California legislature has approved a bill meant to streamline the processing of applications to study psychedelics and marijuana, sending it to the governor.

While advocates have experienced a series of setbacks in the push to provide legal access to certain psychedelics over the past several sessions, lawmakers have now successfully advanced AB 2841, with the Assembly concurring with Senate amendments and voting on final approval last week.

The legislation from Assemblymember Marie Waldron (R) is meant to help clear a logjam of psychedelics study applications overseen by the Research Advisory Panel of California (RAPC), which has almost 70 pending proposals.

The body hasn’t met since last August following a policy change that prevented it from holding closed-door meetings. Members decided to suspend their activities because they’re prohibited under existing law from publicly disclosing applicants’ trade secrets and other confidential information.

To resolve the issue, the bill would reauthorize the panel to carry out their duties in closed-door meetings, freeing them up to process the backlog.

“While there is still much more work to be done in the legislature to expedite psychedelic research and advance the rapid development of psychedelic medicine in California, this is a victory well worth celebrating,” Khurshid Khoja, an attorney and policy director of Veterans Exploring Treatment Solutions (VETS), said.

Under the legislation now headed to the governor’s desk, the panel will be directed to provide a report to lawmakers by January 1, 2026 providing an update on the backlog of applications, including the number reviewed and the number still yet to be reviewed, as of the report’s submission.

VETS also backed another psychedelics bill this session called the “Heal Our Heroes Act” that would have authorized a pilot program to provide psilocybin treatment to military veterans and former first responders. To advocates’ disappointment, however, that measure was withdrawn by the sponsors last month due to a lack of support in a key Assembly committee.

The bill’s introduction came weeks after a Senate committee also effectively killed a broader bill that would have legalized psychedelic service centers where adults 21 and older could have accessed psilocybin, MDMA, mescaline and DMT in a supervised environment with trained facilitators.

It had been drafted in a way that was meant to be responsive to concerns voiced by Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) last year when he vetoed a broader proposal that included provisions to legalize low-level possession of substances such as psilocybin.

Instead, the revised bill would have provided regulated access to psychedelics in a facilitated setting, without removing criminal penalties for possession outside of that context. It did not lay out any specific qualifying medical conditions that a person would need to have in order to access the services.

Marijuana Moment is tracking more than 1,500 cannabis, psychedelics and drug policy bills in state legislatures and Congress this year. Patreon supporters pledging at least $25/month get access to our interactive maps, charts and hearing calendar so they don’t miss any developments.

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Separately, a California campaign to put psilocybin legalization on the state’s November ballot recently announced that it did not secure enough signature to qualify in time for a deadline.

Another campaign filed and then abruptly withdrew an initiative to create a $5 billion state agency tasked with funding and promoting psychedelics research last year.

A third campaign also entered the mix late last year, proposing to legalize the possession and cultivation of substances like psilocybin, LSD, MDMA, DMT, ibogaine and mescaline. People could buy them for therapeutic use with a doctor’s recommendation. Advocates for that measure still have time to gather and turn in signatures.

The California Legislative Analyst’s Office (LAO) has since released its review of that proposal, outlining not only the plan’s policy implications but also its potential fiscal impacts on the state—which the report calls “various” and “uncertain.”

Some California municipalities, meanwhile, are pushing forward with reform on the local level. The city of Eureka, for example, adopted a resolution in October to decriminalize psychedelic plants and fungi and make enforcement of laws against personal use, cultivation and possession a low priority for police. It’s at least the fifth local jurisdiction in the state to embrace the policy change. Others include San FranciscoOaklandSanta Cruz and Arcata.

Texas Activists Turn In Signatures To Put Marijuana Decriminalization On Local Ballot In Bastrop

Photo elements courtesy of carlosemmaskype and Apollo.

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Kyle Jaeger is Marijuana Moment's Sacramento-based managing editor. His work has also appeared in High Times, VICE and attn.


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