There will be a commissioner meeting 7/27 at 9:00 AM at the Anne Basker Auditorium with psilocybin on the agenda. Please show up at this meeting and let your voice be heard. Once on the ballot you need to educate you family and friends about the issue, so they understand what they are voting for. We will have a flyer prepared before the election with bullet points on why to vote NO.
Psilocybin remains illegal nationally, the passage of the law made Oregon the first U.S. state to legalize the drug through the OHA program. According to Mental Health America, Oregon’s mental health crisis is the most severe in the country, and that was before the pandemic hit. They claim that 1 in 5 citizens are experiencing symptoms of clinical anxiety or depression. So, they produced the genius idea of helping the mentally ill by giving them “Magic Mushrooms”
What Is Psilocybin?
The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) defines psilocybin as an “hallucinogenic chemical obtained from certain types of fresh and dried mushrooms.” In street terms these mushrooms are known as “magic mushrooms,” “hallucinogenic mushrooms,” or “shrooms.” On a federal level, psilocybin is classified as a Schedule I drug by the DEA. According to the 1971 Controlled Substance Act, Schedule I drugs are not approved for medical use and have a high potential for abuse and dependence.
Oregon voters approved in November 2020 Measure 109, the psilocybin program, which directed the Oregon Health Authority to license and regulate everything to do with psilocybin products for individuals twenty-one and over. The vote was 56% of Oregonians voting yes and 44% voting no, 1,270,057 Yes. Josephine County numbers were flipped, we do not want this in our county.
Understanding Oregon Measure 109
Once Oregon Measure 109 becomes law, the Oregon Health Authority (OHA) will have two years to develop and establish the psilocybin treatment program, with advice from the Oregon Psilocybin Advisory Board (OPAB). It becomes law Jan 2023. Provisions of the measure further stipulate that:
• Oregon state law will be amended to require the Oregon Health Authority (OHA) to establish the Oregon Psilocybin Services Program.
• The OHA would decide who is eligible to be licensed as a facilitator; determine required qualifications, education, training, and needed exams; and create a code of professional conduct for facilitators.
• OHA would set psilocybin dosage standards as well as labeling and packaging rules.
• Clients would be required to undergo a preparation session before they would be allowed to purchase, possess, and consume psilocybin.
• Clients would also be required to consume psilocybin at a licensed service center and under the supervision of a psilocybin service facilitator.
• Cities and counties would be permitted to place referendums on local ballots either to allow or prohibit psilocybin-product manufacturers or psilocybin service centers in unincorporated areas within their jurisdictions. (Measure 109 prohibits psilocybin service centers within city incorporation limits.)
Supporters of Oregon Measure 109
Who is behind the campaigns surrounding the initiative? The Oregon Psilocybin Society (OPS) led the Yes on 109 campaign. The OPS was founded in 2016 by Portland psychotherapists Tom and Sheri Eckert Millions of dollars invested and will make millions of dollars.
• David Bronner, the chief executive officer of Dr. Bronner’s Magic Soaps:“Psychedelic-assisted therapy is life-saving medicine that the world needs now, especially highly traumatized populations like veterans, first responders and marginalized communities generally.”
• U.S. Representative Earl Blumenauer (D): “Measure 109 will offer hope in the form of a breakthrough treatment option in Oregon: psilocybin therapy. Research at America’s top universities shows that psilocybin therapy can help people suffering from depression, anxiety, and addiction. Developed with therapeutic and mental health experts, Measure 109 brings this treatment to Oregon through a licensed, research-based system that supports and protects those in urgent need.”
• Dr. Rachel Knox, chair for the Oregon Cannabis Commission: “l support this initiative as a doctor who believes that therapies should be evidence-based and backed by research, and psilocybin is a compound that has a demonstrated safety record. We need better mental health treatment options now more than ever, and this initiative has the right supervision and safeguards in place.”
• Dr. Adie Rae, an assistant scientist at Legacy Research Institute: “The evidence is clear: psilocybin therapy is a safe and effective intervention for people suffering from depression, anxiety, and trauma. Because the effectiveness of psilocybin therapy relies heavily on a trained therapist/facilitator, it is of utmost importance that Oregonians have access to this therapy within a thoughtfully regulated system. IP 34 achieves the goals of providing a safe and effective therapy within an appropriate regulatory context.”
• Oregon Psilocybin Society: “A growing body of evidence demonstrates that psilocybin-assisted therapy is safe and uniquely effective. We think that this novel approach could help alleviate the mental health crisis here in Oregon by addressing costly epidemics like suicide, treatment-resistant depression and anxiety, PTSD, and addiction to drugs, alcohol, and nicotine. Additionally, the measure would open doors for new research, create access to services for those interested in personal development, and reduce penalties for common possession of psilocybin.”
Cons of Oregon Measure 109
Both the Oregon Psychiatric Physician Association (OPPA) and American Psychiatric Association (APA) are opposed to passage of Oregon Measure 109. The national organization, in a letter to the Oregon Secretary of State, noted its opposition to the measure, adding that if it got on the ballot, officials should “explicitly address the science and extreme risks associated with the use of psilocybin in the voter’s guide explanatory statement.” The OPPA statement said, in part, “Measure 109 is unsafe and makes misleading promises to Oregonians who are struggling with mental illness.”
Opponents pointed out what they saw as defects in the measure.
• Psilocybin therapy is unsafe and unproven for the treatment of addiction, depression, anxiety disorders, and end of-life psychological distress, all of which are permitted under Measure 109.
• Phase 3 trials for psilocybin therapy have not yet started.
• Therapy may interact adversely with other medications.
• The use of nonmedical providers (facilitators) to administer psilocybin therapy is “dangerous.”
• It is reckless to not require diagnosed illness for treatment to be approved.
Measure 109 is by design not a retail dispensary model we see with cannabis. Meaning there are unlimited potential business models for placing and structuring service centers and manufacturing facilities. This potential, while enticing to creative entrepreneurs, creates many variables that are leading local governments to forego involving themselves with Oregon’s novel psilocybin experiment. Another reason we may see many counties opt-out is that unlike cannabis, Measure 109 explicitly forbids local government from imposing local taxes.
• Counties are automatically opted into the psilocybin program unless voters approve an opt out at a general election, the next one being November 8, 2022. According to Measure 109, counties can do nothing and let services take effect automatically; or adopt zoning regulations for where services can be located.
• Proceeding with an opt out ballot measure requires several steps to file a ballot title with the county clerk by the required August 19 deadline.
• The League of Oregon Cities encourages county boards of commissioners to work with county counsel and planning department staff to determine the best path forward.
• The League of Oregon Cities recently published model ordinances and ballot measures for local governments wanting to opt-out of Measure 109. Many localities in Oregon voted against Measure 109 in the 2020 election, with the following counties voting against the measure: Baker, Coos, Crook, Douglas, Grant, Gilliam, Harney, Jefferson, Josephine, Klamath, Lake, Linn, Malheur, Marion, Morrow, Polk, Sherman, Umatilla, Union, Wallowa, and Wheeler. August 19 is the deadline for counties to file an opt-out ballot measure with their county clerk to refer the issue to local voters at the next general election on November 8.