Oregon’s first-of-its-kind experiment with approved magic mushrooms got a step closer to being a reality when the first “facilitators” got their state licenses. These people will be with clients when they try the drⓤg.
In 2020, voters allowed controlled use of psilocybin, and for the past two and a half years, people have been waiting for the day when they can access the drⓤg, which studies show has healing value. That day is expected to come later this year.
Hundreds of people have each put thousands of dollars into this new industry, and some are worried that it isn’t getting off the ground fast enough.
“We thank you for your dedication to client safety and access as we move closer to opening service centers,” Oregon Psilocybin Services Manager Angie Allbee said in a statement Tuesday to three people who received the state’s first facilitator licenses.
But so far, service centers have yet to be approved. These would be places where people could get psilocybin in a controlled, calm setting with music, eye masks, and blankets. There is also no place where the goods could be tried to see if they work. The Oregon Health Authority says that psilocybin can come in the form of whole dried mushrooms, ground mushrooms that have been pulverized, extracts, and food goods.
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Tori Armbrust applied for a license to grow magic mushrooms on January 2, the first day the health authority accepted applications. She was the first to get a license to make things in March. Allbee praised Armbrust at the time “for showing how women are leading the way in the new psilocybin ecosystem”
Armbrust paid $10,000 for the pass, which is only good for one year. She will have to pay another $10,000 to keep it. The 33-year-old said she has already spent about $25,000 of her life on the license fee, renting a place in Portland to grow the mushrooms, setting up electricity, and other things.
She has yet to make any money.
She is growing psilocybin mushrooms; the first crop is due in a few weeks. However, she needs someone to sell them to because no service centers have been approved. She needs an approved lab to test her “psilocybe cubensis” mushrooms before sending them to a service center.
“People are under a lot of pressure with all this overhead,” Armbrust said in an interview on Monday. “It’s a lot of money, and we need to get it going.”
Oregon Psilocybin Services, part of the health authority, said on Tuesday that it expects to give licenses to the service center and lab candidates “in the coming months.”
“We’re going to have to see how it all plays out,” Armbrust said. “This is all new and nobody can say for sure what will happen. So, I’m just trying my best to, on my own, grow as much medicine as I can.”
About 100 people just finished a six-month, $7,900 course at a camp near Portland that taught them how to guide and gave them a certificate. After that, they can take a test given by the health office and pass it to get guide licenses.
As of Tuesday, three licenses to make marijuana and three licenses to help people make marijuana have been given out.
Afiq Hisham, a spokesman for the health authority, said that Oregon Psilocybin Services expects centers to open this fall and for approved operators to start providing services.
“Many applicants are working through complex issues, such as working with their cities and counties on zoning or ensuring the proposed premises meets requirements,” Hisham said. “We are prioritizing applications in the order received and working to provide site inspections for those ready.”