"I don't think psychedelics are the answer to the world's problems but they could be a start," said musician Sting in the 2020 Netflix documentary "Have a Good Trip," in which several celebrities shared their personal psychedelic adventures.
Mounting research suggests psychedelics in monitored treatments of micro-doses may be the answer for people struggling with addiction, PTSD, depression, anxiety, eating disorders and OCD.
"They're very promising and we just shouldn't be arresting people for possessing for personal use," said California State Senator Scott Weiner, who introduced SB 519.
Weiner cited a study published in Nature Medicine this year, which found that 67% of 90 participants treated with MDMA, the illegal psychedelic drug better known as ecstasy or Molly, no longer suffered PTSD symptoms two months after treatment.
"There is a great deal of incredible research. You have NYU, Johns Hopkins, Imperial College of London, all setting up centers of excellence around psychedelics and psychedelic medicine because these substances are perhaps the greatest breakthrough in mental wellness in the last 100 years," said Matt Stang, founder and CEO of Delic Corporation, a psychedelic wellness company.
His wife and Delic co-founder Jackee Stang says ketamine, the only psychedelic drug currently legal for doctors to prescribe in California, has dramatically helped her overcome severe depression and anxiety.
"They are not the end all, be all to my healing. Ultimately, that's me and the work that I do on a daily basis, but their promise alone is something worth taking note of," she said.
SB 519 would decriminalize psilocybin, commonly known as magic mushrooms, psilocin, LSD, ibogaine and DMT, sometimes called "dimitri" or "fantasia."
The bill outlines clear quantity limits for personal use only.
"Over the next five years or so, I think there will be dozens of psychedelic compounds that will be allowed by the FDA and then I think places like California will lead the charge by creating some form of legal market the way Oregon has," Stand said. "I just think it's a really interesting opportunity."
SB 519 passed the State Senate and will go before the full Assembly next year, but many scientists agree more research is needed to understand possible side effects and how these drugs may impact people with certain pre-existing health conditions.