Oregon could be the first state in the US to legalize psilocybin mushrooms.
In November 2018 Oregon’s secretary of state approved language for a ballot initiative that would legalize psilocybin mushrooms. More specifically, the measure would allow licensed professionals to produce, possess and administer psilocybin for guided therapy sessions. It would also reduce criminal penalties for psilocybin related offences.
Patrons must gather 112,200 signatures before July 2, 2020, in order to add the initiative to the 2020 Oregon ballot. A recent poll shows that a majority of Oregon voters support the measure when the two primary elements were clarified. According to the poll, 64% of Oregon voters support lawful access to therapeutic psilocybin services. 55% support reducing existing criminal penalties for possessing psilocybin mushrooms.
The driving force behind the initiative is the Oregon Psilocybin Society (OPS). Chief petitioners, Tom and Sheri Eckert, are both therapists cognizant of how life-changing psilocybin can be for patients suffering from addictions and mental disorders.
“These early numbers show that the campaign is viable and the possibility of success is real, but we have our work cut out for us.” Says Tom Eckert.
Sheri Eckert adds, “support rises significantly when people know what is actually in the measure, which means that educating the public is critical.”
The society explains,
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.
The intent of the 2020 Psilocybin Service initiative of Oregon is to advance a breakthrough therapeutic model currently being perfected in research settings at top universities around the world. The service model involves a sequence of facilitated sessions, including assessment and preparation, psilocybin administration, and integration afterwards. We envision a community based framework, where licensed providers, along with licensed producers of psilocybin mushrooms, blaze trails in Oregon in accordance with evolving practice standards.
Psilocybin is currently classified in the same category as heroin, a schedule 1 drug (a dangerous substance with high potential for abuse and no known medical potential) and possession alone is a felony nationwide.
Although current research corroborates that psilocybin is a safe and efficacious treatment for many disorders, it must clear phase III clinical trials (which takes years) before the Food and Drug Administration can be petitioned to reclassify.