VISTA, CA –Dr. Bronner’s, the California based and family-owned maker of the top-selling natural brand of soap in North America, has learned that California Gov. Gavin Newsom has vetoed Senate Bill 58. The bill, which passed the California Assembly and Senate was introduced by California state Senator Scott Wiener and amended in various committees, would have decriminalized natural psychedelics, such as psilocybin mushrooms and ayahuasca tea, allowing adults of age 21 or older to grow, possess and use them without fear of prosecution. Senate Bill 58 also aimed to establish a working group to inform new regulations, information campaigns, and harm reduction techniques.
“Although the veto of SB 58 is a major disappointment to our coalition and a setback for all who are committed to criminal justice and mental health reform, Gov. Newsom’s veto message shows there is still a path forward. Despite this delay, we are confident that we will soon decriminalize and achieve legal access to psychedelics in the state of California,” said David Bronner, Cosmic Engagement Officer (CEO) of Dr. Bronner’s and board member of MAPS. “I am grateful to Senator Weiner, all those in the CA Senate and Assembly who supported SB 58, as well as all the activists and advocates who worked on this legislation, including our coalition partners.”
Led by Senator Wiener, a bipartisan group of California legislators worked to move the bill through the legislature with the support of a broad coalition of advocates for psychedelic therapy, criminal justice, and mental health care reform, including: Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS); Heroic Hearts Project; Sacred Garden Community; LEAP; Veterans of War; Hippie and a Veteran Assn.; Reconsider, Microdosing Collective; National Psychedelics Assn.; Rejuven8 Collective; Clusterbusters; Psychedelics & Pain Assn., Chacruna, San Francisco Psychedelic Society, Sacramento Institute for Psychotherapy, and Oakland Hyphae. The coalition was facilitated with financial and organizational support from Dr. Bronner’s.
“Our world is grappling with epidemics of depression, anxiety, PTSD, and addiction that millions suffer from. Natural psychedelic medicines used responsibly are life-saving medicines that the world needs now, especially traumatized populations such as veterans and Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) communities,” Bronner continued.
Psychedelic-assisted therapy has shown great promise in clinical trials at John Hopkins, NYU, UCLA and elsewhere for treating severe psychological disorders. In 2017 and 2018, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) granted “breakthrough status” for MDMA-assisted therapy for treatment-resistant PTSD, and psilocybin-assisted therapy for treatment-resistant depression, respectively. Breakthrough status means that the FDA considers that these therapies may demonstrate substantial improvement over other available options and prioritizes review of safety and efficacy studies in clinical trials accordingly. More recent studies are evaluating psychedelics for the treatment of substance use disorders and chronic pain conditions. Canada recently approved psilocybin-therapy for people who are terminally ill and grappling with severe end-of-life anxiety.
Dr. Bronner’s support for legalizing psychedelics in California builds upon the company’s track record of more than two decades of advocacy and financial support of drug policy reform, including legalization of hemp farming in the US, ending cannabis prohibition, advancement of FDA approved clinical trials for MDMA and psilocybin-assisted therapy, and the passing of laws in Oregon, Colorado, and Washington, D.C.
The current landscape of Dr. Bronner’s advocacy in support of psychedelic medicine is composed of diverse policy and political strategies. These include the integration of psychedelic-assisted therapy into Western medicine, efforts to decriminalize safe individual and communal use of plant medicines, and support for Indigenous Peoples. In 2022, Dr. Bronner’s supported the founding of the Indigenous Medicine Conservation Fund, to help strengthen Indigenous communities’ efforts to preserve traditional medicines.
In addition to the lobbying effort in California, Dr. Bronner’s has also contributed to the operating budgets of many of the organizations in the coalition behind SB 58. Dr. Bronner’s has donated millions of dollars to psychedelic policy reform efforts over the past ten years.