Oakland activists file statewide ballot initiative seeking safe and legal access to psychedelics for medical and therapeutic uses
Oakland, Calif. Oct. 27, 2023 — Dave Hodges, proponent of safe access to psychedelics for medical, therapeutic and spiritual use, today submitted the Psychedelic Wellness & Healing Initiative to the California Attorney General’s office for the 2024 ballot.
If it wins passage, the initiative will allow for the sale, possession and use of psychedelics including Psilocybin, MDMA, DMT, and Mescaline for medical and therapeutic purposes.
Hodges, founder of the Oakland-based Church of Ambrosia, said the initiative will need 546,651 valid signatures to qualify for the 2024 ballot.
Today’s filing follows California Gov. Gavin Newsom’s recent veto of Senate Bill 58, the bill that sought to decriminalize the use of certain psychedelic drugs such as psilocybin, DMT and mescaline. Hodges said at the time that SB58 would have been a step forward, but he noted that it had major flaws, principally concerning its lack of provisions to ensure access, public safety and quality control. That veto, Hodges said, compelled him to move quickly on the initiative filing.
The initiative seeks to give doctors and mental health specialists the right to recommend psychedelics to ease the debilitating symptoms of a range of problems, including obsessive-compulsive disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder, depression, anxiety, addiction, suicidality, traumatic brain injury, and much more. And it cites the enormous costs to Californians from the lack of effective mental health treatments.
Hodges noted that numerous clinical trials have been conducted showing the effectiveness of Psychedelics, such as psilocybin and MDMA, which are used to treat a wide variety of conditions including PTSD, depression, and end-of-life anxiety. Johns Hopkins researchers, for example, have done multiple analyses of psilocybin and found it useful in treating major depression when administered with supportive therapy.
The initiative also would create a statewide framework for regulating possession, use, cultivation and production of substances for medical and therapeutic use.
When the California Attorney General certifies the initiative for circulation, backers will have about four and a half months to gather the required signatures for ballot placement. Backers plan to begin collecting signatures in early December.