Several Counties and Localities Reject the Oregon Psilocybin Program

Psilocybin Program: The therapeutic cultivation and use of psilocybin mushrooms have been met with opposition and delays in approval from voters in various jurisdictions around the state of Oregon.

However, similar prohibitions did not appear on the ballots of most Portland metro area communities on November 8 except for Clackamas County.

The end result is that 17 of Oregon’s 20 major cities and nearly all of the state’s most populous counties would have access to state-licensed growing facilities and supervised centres for the usage of the psychoactive drug.

“Up to 2.9 million Oregonians will have access to the breakthrough treatment in their local city or county,” said Sam Chapman, executive director of the Healing Advocacy Fund. Some of the bans that have been enacted in certain areas are only temporary, the article adds.

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Oregon voters adopted a ballot proposal (Measure 109) in 2020 to establish a state programme involving the supervised use of psilocybin; Chapman served as the initiative’s campaign manager. It is supported by the Healing Advocacy Fund, a non-profit organisation.

Several Counties and Localities Reject the Oregon Psilocybin Program

On November 8th, voters in 23 of Oregon’s 36 counties and 111 of its 241 communities voted to reject the state programme entirely or put a hold on approvals for two years.

Once the guidelines are officially finalised in early 2023, the Oregon Health Authority will begin accepting applications. Real launches are more likely to occur next fall or winter when the agency has had more time to analyse the applications and issue licences.

In addition to state mandates, local governments are still able to set their own restrictions for the timing, location, and manner of cultivation sites called “manufacturing facilities” and supervised usage at service centres through land-use legislation.

The Healing Advocacy Fund, a non-profit organisation, did not play any part in the campaigns for or against local opt-out referendum measures.

Votes of no confidence

Measure 109 mandated that city councils and county boards of commissioners submit any proposed bans or pause to a vote of the people at a general election.

There were a total of six counties where Measure 109 was adopted by voters: Clackamas, Clatsop, Curry, Deschutes, Jackson, and Tillamook. Opt-out measures prevailed in Clackamas, Clatsop, Curry and Tillamook counties, plus 19 others where voters rejected the original Measure 109, most of them east of the Cascades.

Voters rejected opt-out measures in Deschutes and Jackson counties, plus Douglas and Josephine counties, while majorities opposed the statewide vote.

All the county measures affect only regions outside city borders.

Voters in Keizer, McMinnville and Redmond adopted opt-out measures for licenced cultivation and supervised-use centres, making those three communities the only ones in Oregon’s 20 largest to do so.

Estacada, Molalla, and Sandy, as well as Banks and Cornelius, were among the metro area cities whose opt-out propositions appeared on the ballot. In the end, everyone made the cut. (On Molalla, Sandy, and Cornelius, bans were approved; on the others, there were temporary hiatuses.)

Columbia and Yamhill counties, as well as neighbouring Washington and Multnomah, did not refer to statewide measures.

Though the main communities in Deschutes and Jackson counties, Bend, Medford, and Ashland, did not propose their own limitations, advocates of psilocybin focused much of their energy on defeating the opt-out legislation there.

Several Counties and Localities Reject the Oregon Psilocybin Program
Several Counties and Localities Reject the Oregon Psilocybin Program

Chapman Commented on the Findings as Follows:

From our work in Deschutes and Jackson counties, we know that when individuals learn that their friends and neighbours are enthusiastic about the possibilities of psilocybin therapy for common mental health issues like anxiety and depression, they are more inclined to back the treatment.

We are optimistic that as word of this initiative spreads and its potential becomes clear, more municipalities will see the value in making it available to their citizens.

109th Measure

Voters in Oregon passed marijuana legalisation in 2014, however, Measure 109 does not make psilocybin mushrooms legal for adults to possess or consume, does not permit personal growing, and does not authorise retail sales through dispensaries.

Only in state-licensed production facilities that are in compliance with local land-use regulations may psilocybin be grown, and only in state-licensed “service centres” may psilocybin be administered by facilitators with at least 120 hours of training. They need not be therapists or medical professionals.

Psilocybin is not available for purchase or pick-up at any retail or service location.

Any city-based service facilities must be at least a thousand feet away from any and all schools, and they are strictly forbidden from being located in residential neighbourhoods. Production facilities are not permitted in residential areas or buildings.

Although the FDA has recognised psilocybin as a breakthrough therapy, the substance is still considered to have no acknowledged medical use under federal law as of 2019. However, some research suggests it could be an effective treatment for substance abuse, depression, and PTSD. Expected findings from a study conducted at Columbia University.

Colorado Vote

On November 8th, Colorado made history by becoming the first state to make psilocybin and a related substance (psilocin) legal for personal production, consumption, and sharing by persons over the age of 21. The initiative would also legalise a state-run initiative that looks to be modelled after Oregon’s.

To Chapman’s point, “Colorado, like Oregon, is an example of how voters accept this therapy when given access to the evidence and when they hear personal accounts from veterans and others about the usefulness of psilocybin therapy to address a mental health crisis,” he explained.

“As the first state in the country to adopt psilocybin therapy, we take very seriously our responsibilities to assure access, affordability and safety to the people who will utilise this therapy. To achieve these aims, we spent two years working with a group of experts known as the Psilocybin Advisory Board.

Voters in Washington, D.C., adopted a 2020 resolution that puts the lowest priority on psilocybin enforcement, albeit direct sales are not permitted under the code. Similar laws have been approved in other cities, and decriminalisation initiatives have been introduced in the legislatures of numerous states.

The Outcome of the Election
Results for municipal and county opt-out voting Nov. 8 for Oregon’s psilocybin programme, either permanent bans or two-year pauses:

Prohibition measures affecting rural areas were generally approved in 23 counties but were defeated in four. (Josephine County voters rejected separate prohibitions on manufacturing and service centres.) There were no ballot initiatives in any of the other nine counties.

Limits were approved by voters in 111 municipalities (including two ballot initiatives in Redmond) but were rejected in five. Mill City, Myrtle Creek, Phoenix, Riddle, and Roseburg were the other five. No initiatives were on the ballot in any other cities.

We did not pass any countywide measures in Washington County; the moratorium in Banks has ended; the ban in Cornelius has been approved.

To clarify, this measure is applicable to unincorporated portions of Clackamas County and is effective countywide after the waiting period has ended. The restrictions in Molalla and Sandy have been upheld, but in Estacada, the city council has decided to take a little break.

There was no countywide ballot initiative in Columbia County, and there was a brief lull while votes were being counted in both Clatskanie and St. Helens.

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Newberg’s ban was approved, while local measures in McMinnville, Amity, Carlton, Dundee, Sheridan, and Willamina were also successful but did not affect the county as a whole.

Bans in the cities of Aumsville, Keizer, St. Paul, Stayton, Sublimity, Turner, and Woodburn were approved in Marion County, but the city of Mill City saw its ban attempt fail. Bans in the cities of Gates, Hubbard, and Jefferson were approved, while those in Mill City were paused.

Proposals to stop production throughout Deschutes County as a whole were defeated, but measures to ban production in La Pine and pause its expansion in service centres in Redmond both succeeded with overwhelming majorities.

Bans on recreational marijuana use were approved in both Prineville and the whole county of Crook.

Prohibition measures in Culver, Madras, and Metolius as well as on the countywide level in Jefferson County were successful.

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