Oregon to be First U.S. State to Allow for the Use of Psychedelics in Therapy

More than half of voters supported the measure

Key Takeaways

  • 55.88% of votes supported the measure
  • Measure will not decriminalize psilocybin, but will allow for its use in therapy
  • OHA has two years to develop the program, create regulations

Oregon will be the first U.S. state to pass a measure allowing for the use of therapeutic psilocybin, the psychoactive ingredient of hallucinogenic mushrooms. 

55.88% of voters, or nearly 1.2 million people, supported Oregon Measure 109, also known as the Psilocybin Mushroom Services Program Initiative. The “yes” vote supports the Oregon Health Authority (OHA) in creating a state-licensed, psilocybin-assisted therapy program for individuals who are at least 21-years-old.

Research has found that carefully monitored and controlled use of psilocybin may be beneficial for some psychiatric disorders, including depression and anxiety, according to the Drug Policy Alliance. However, as of 2020, the manufacturing and consumption of psilocybin is illegal under federal law and state law.

No Decriminalization Under Measure 109

Measure 109 does not decriminalize psilocybin and it still prohibits the possession, manufacturing, and consumption of psilocybin outside of service centers. However, Measure 110, which was also on the ballot and called for the decriminalization of non-commercial possession of certain drugs, including psilocybin, passed with 58.6% of the vote.

Under Measure 109, the OHA has two years to develop a program and create regulations with the advice of an Oregon Psilocybin Advisory Board. Under the measure, Oregonians would be allowed to purchase, possess, and consume psilocybin at a psilocybin service center under the supervision of a facilitator after undergoing a preparation session. 

The OHA will determine who is licensed as a facilitator and decide what qualifications, education, training, and exams are needed. The OHA will also set psilocybin dosage standards and labeling and packaging rules.

However, not everybody is happy with the measure. The Oregon Psychiatric Physicians Association has called the measure “unsafe,” adding that it “makes misleading promises to Oregonians who are struggling with mental illness.” The Drug Enforcement Administration classified psilocybin as a Schedule I drug, meaning it is not approved for medical use and is considered to have a high potential for abuse and dependence. 

Yet, the Oregon Psilocybin Society (OPS), which led the campaign behind the initiative, said evidence demonstrates 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," it said.

Article Sources
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  1. Ballotpedia. "Oregon Measure 109, Psilocybin Mushroom Services Program Initiative (2020)." Accessed Nov. 4, 2020.

  2. Drug Policy Alliance. "Can psilocybin mushrooms be used as medicine or therapy?" Accessed Nov. 4, 2020.

  3. Ballotpedia. "Oregon Measure 110, Drug Decriminalization and Addiction Treatment Initiative (2020)." Accessed Nov. 4, 2020.

  4. Oregon Psychiatric Physicians Association. "OPPA Opposition Statement to Measure 109." Accessed Nov. 4, 2020.

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