California Prepares for Federal Legalization of Schedule I Drugs

California Prepares for Federal Legalization of Schedule I Drugs

Customs personnel displays confiscated illegal drugs, known as Methylenedioxymethamphetamine (MDMA), commonly referred to as ecstasy, at a press conference in a file photo. (Noel Celis/AFP/Getty Images)

Rudy Blalock

Rudy Blalock

10/6/2023

Updated: 12/30/2023

California passed a new law Sept. 30, approved by the governor, that will allow doctors to prescribe certain illicit drugs, if they are ultimately federally rescheduled, such as MDMA or psilocybin—found in “magic mushrooms.”
Currently, the federal Controlled Substances Act classifies drugs and chemicals into five schedules based on their potential for abuse. Under federal law, drugs classified in schedules 2 through 5 are recognized as acceptable for medical usage, while Schedule 1 drugs cannot be prescribed by a doctor.
Authored by Assemblywoman Buffy Wicks (D-Oakland), Assembly Bill 1021 will automatically adjust the state’s scheduling of such drugs to reflect any changes to federal law. Currently, when a substance is federally rescheduled or exempted from the act, such must be amended by the state accordingly to reflect the changes.
“The bill seeks to resolve a predictable future ambiguity for professional, licensed healing arts practitioners by creating a pathway for prescribing substances containing a Schedule I substance, only after the federal government schedules a new drug product containing the same chemical entity,” said Ms. Wicks in a recent Assembly analysis of the bill.
The new law will allow medical health professionals in California to immediately prescribe new treatments containing such substances after FDA approval. Schedule 1 drugs include cannabis, LSD, peyote, heroin, and ecstasy to name a few, according to the recent analysis.
“This is a necessary step to prevent a gap in access to potentially life-saving legal medications in the State and to eliminate any ‘gray area’ for licensed healthcare providers and patients in California,” she wrote.
In the analysis of the bill, lawmakers noted MDMA, which is found in ecstasy, as well as psilocybin, found in “magic mushrooms,” has recently been found in studies to treat mental health disorders such as depression and PTSD.
According to a recent study by the sponsor of the bill, the Multidisciplinary Association of Psychedelic Studies—a nonprofit that researches and educates regarding the usage of psychedelics—found that MDMA can assist in treating PTSD with an effectiveness lasting at least six months and, in some cases, a year or more.
Lawmakers wrote in the analysis that the new law will pave the way for the expected federal rescheduling of such currently illicit hallucinogenic substances.
“California is among 19 states and the District of Columbia that do not have a mechanized process in their legislative or regulatory frameworks to address this issue,” representatives from the association said in the recent analysis.
No opposition was recorded for the bill, but some California anti-drug leaders say the new law is another example of the state’s push for laws promoting the use of illicit drugs.
“Drug proliferation is not good for our society. ... The bottom line is, this is concerning too. They already jumped the gun and they already prepared in advance,” Frank Lee, vice president of California Coalition Against Drugs—a statewide organization representing law enforcement, health care experts, victims, and community groups—told The Epoch Times.
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Rudy Blalock

Rudy Blalock

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Rudy Blalock is a Southern California-based daily news reporter for The Epoch Times. Originally from Michigan, he moved to California in 2017, and the sunshine and ocean have kept him here since. In his free time, he may be found underwater scuba diving, on top of a mountain hiking or snowboarding—or at home meditating, which helps fuel his active lifestyle.

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