Oregon Psilocybin Program: It has been two years since Oregon became the first state to authorize the use of psilocybin, a psychoactive compound present in some types of mushrooms, for medicinal purposes. Investors claim that land use regulations are contributing to the delay in the state’s first service center’s breaking ground.
Why Oregon Psilocybin Program Might Be Halted By Land Use Regulations
Mike Arnold, the founder of Silo Wellness, a publicly traded psychedelics company with bases in Canada and Jamaica, said, “The building departments, land-use planners — anyone who has tried to build anything in Oregon — realizes that they (planners) have as much power as God when it comes to dictating what you can and cannot do on land you lease or own.”
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Through Ballot Measure 109, which was approved during the 2020 election and went into effect in 2021, psilocybin treatment was made legal in Oregon. The program’s administrator, the Oregon Health Authority, has spent the previous two years establishing the regulations needed to carry out the new statute.
The law gave counties and localities the option to reject legalization by putting it to their people first. 100 cities and 25 counties cast ballots to opt out in November.
Arnold intends to make an investment in land in unincorporated Jackson County, close to Ashland. The preparations were put on hold when county commissioners declared they would resubmit the opt-out question to voters in spite of the county’s overwhelming “yes” vote in 2020. Jackson County voters approved psilocybin treatment again in November 2022, but according to Arnold, the time and place restrictions that Jackson County commissioners have implemented since then effectively forbid service centers from operating outside of cities.
County commissioners decided to disregard the advice of their appointed planning board to permit psilocybin service centers in a number of zones during a meeting in December. Commissioners instead restricted the centers to General Commercial Zones. According to Arnold, there aren’t many properties in those areas.
In Phoenix, Talent, and Ashland, which voted to legalize, service providers may still set up shop within municipal lines, commissioners said during the December hearing. Arnold, however, claimed that isolated locations close to nature are the finest for his retreats, which he lawfully operates in Jamaica.
“The sort of property is actually the essence of a psychedelic experience,” he stated, referring in particular to psilocybin service centers. “It’s already being utilized for commercial reasons selling that remoteness if you want the greatest possible property that is isolated and is assured for commercial usage.”
According to Arnold, he is now considering investing in properties outside of Jackson County.
Even local governments without psilocybin-specific land-use regulations might cause the process to delay. An official land-use compatibility statement from the city or county planning department must be submitted with the OHA Service Center licensing application. Arnold stated that it would probably become bogged down in paperwork if there were no special land-use legislation to control the business.
OHA Receiving Applications
The OHA website now offers applications for psilocybin worker permits, which are required for anyone working in the industry, including cultivators. Other applications are available for manufacturing (cultivation), centers (where sessions would take place), facilitators (the trained professional providing treatment), and laboratories (needed for testing all products before they are put on the market).
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OHA said that as of Tuesday at 2:00 p.m., it had received 32 applications for worker permits, two for manufacturing permits, and none for facilitators, service centers, or laboratories. Because training programs were authorized in October but won’t graduate their first cohorts until July, Angela Allbee, manager of the OHA’s psilocybin services program area, expects practitioners’ applications to arrive later.
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She said that the lack of laboratory license applications was most likely due to the requirement for certification by the Oregon Environmental Laboratory Accreditation Program. She said that a lot of the applications for service centers are probably still checking to see what properties are available and whether land-use regulations will permit a center.
According to her, “I believe people are still seeking properties to utilize that are in the authorized spaces around the state.”
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