Newsom’s Big Buzzkill on Psychedelics Reform

“It kills me when people talk about California hedonism. Anybody who talks about California hedonism has never spent a Christmas in Sacramento.” — Joan Didion

The capital of California lived up to its dreary reputation this past holiday weekend, when California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) vetoed legislation that would have legalized the possession, preparation, obtainment, or transportation of specific quantities of psychedelics for individuals aged 21 and older.

The psychedelic substances in the vetoed legislation included dimethyltryptamine (DMT), mescaline (except for peyote), and psilocybin, the primary psychoactive ingredient in magic mushrooms.

Newsom disappointed drug law reformers and other progressives with his veto. The nascent psychedelics industry was particularly aghast. Most political observers had expected the young, charismatic, and liberal governor to sign the bill.

Newsom had been one of the most influential and earliest politicians calling for an end to the War on Drugs. As mayor of San Francisco and later as lieutenant governor of California, he was known for his support of marijuana and psychedelics legal reform.

Hence it came as a surprise last Saturday, when he vetoed the psychedelics legalization bill, SB 58, sponsored by Sen. Scott Wiener (D).

The bill sought to make available psychedelic-based drug treatments for such mental ailments as anxiety, depression, alcoholism, and post-traumatic stress syndrome.

But it was not to be.

“Both peer-reviewed science and powerful personal anecdotes lead me to support new opportunities to address mental health through psychedelic medicines like those addressed in this bill,” Newsom stated in a veto message on Saturday. “Psychedelics have proven to relieve people suffering from certain conditions such as depression, PTSD, traumatic brain injury, and other addictive personality traits. This is an exciting frontier and California will be on the front-end of leading it.”

Newsom continued: “California should immediately begin work to set up regulated treatment guidelines—replete with dosing information, therapeutic guidelines, rules to prevent against exploitation during guided treatments, and medical clearance of no underlying psychoses. Unfortunately, this bill would decriminalize possession prior to these guidelines going into place, and I cannot sign it.”

However, the California cities of Oakland, Santa Cruz, and San Francisco already have decriminalized psychedelics, with orderly results and without most of the strictures recommended by the governor. Colorado and Oregon have done likewise, on a statewide level.

It’s not a coincidence that Newsom has been raising his national profile and is considered a future candidate for president, if not in 2024 then probably in later election cycles. If he had signed the bill legalizing psychedelics, right-wing culture warriors would have had a field day. One can already imagine the GOP attack ads.

Consider 1972, when Democratic presidential candidate George McGovern was defamed by the Nixon campaign as the proponent of “Acid, Amnesty, and Abortion.”

WATCH THIS VIDEO: What 1920s Prohibition Can Teach Today’s Pot Investors

But for those who advocate the mainstreaming of psychedelics, there’s good news on other fronts. Despite Newsom’s cold feet, the push for psychedelics legalization enjoys momentum.

Psychedelics remain illegal on the federal level, but the states are stepping into the breach.

California officials recently cleared a campaign to begin signature gathering for a 2024 ballot initiative to legalize the possession, sale and regulated therapeutic use of psilocybin.

A bill to legalize psychedelics is pending in the New York Assembly. In Massachusetts, a grassroots group calling itself the Massachusetts for Mental Health Options committee recently filed paperwork with state campaign finance regulators announcing plans to pursue a question on the November 2024 ballot that would decriminalize psychedelics.

The committee seeks “to expand mental health treatment options in Massachusetts by providing new pathways to access natural psychedelic medicine therapy,” it wrote in its submission with the state’s Office of Campaign and Political Finance.

On June 23, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) unveiled comprehensive guidelines for conducting clinical trials on psychedelic substances.

As the following infographic shows, the monetary stakes are huge. Acumen Research expects the global psychedelic drugs market to grow by 10.9% between now and 2032:

The fight against depression is global and lucrative. However, although there’s a wide variety of anti-depressants on the market, many people with depression fail to see an improvement with traditional therapies.

A multitude of clinical trials in recent years have shown that psychotherapy in tandem with psychedelics, notably psilocybin, can effectively treat chronic depression that’s been resistant to conventional therapies.

According to the Journal of the American Medical Association, there are more than 50 publicly traded companies related to the development or administration of psychedelic drugs in the U.S., with at least three valued at more than $1 billion.

The time to invest in clinical stage psychedelics-focused biotech startups is now, before their share prices skyrocket and the psychedelics industry goes mainstream.

Every portfolio should have exposure to companies in the cannabis and psychedelics industries. That’s why I’ve launched the trading service Marijuana Profit Alert.

MPA is your guide to reaping profits from the investment bonanza in marijuana, psilocybin, and other psychotropic drugs. Click here to learn more.

John Persinos is the editorial director of Investing Daily.

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