Oregon residents may be able to vote this November on whether to legalize psilocybin, the active compound in psychedelic mushrooms.
The Oregonian reported that a ballot initiative known as the Oregon Psilocybin Therapy Initiative, or Initiative Petition #34, has received enough signatures to appear on the November ballot, provided those signatures are valid. Sheri and Tom Eckert, two of the top petitioners behind the initiative, said during a Zoom press conference Monday that the initiative had obtained 164,782 signatures, the Oregonian reported.
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Oregon would be the first state to legalize the substance, which is currently a Schedule I drug. Cities like Oakland and Denver have already decriminalized psilocybin.
“Pioneering research at institutions like Johns Hopkins, NYU, and UCLA has shown the significant promise of psilocybin therapy,” said a press release put out by the campaign Monday, “especially for people whose depression or anxiety hasn’t responded to other available treatments.”
Its [sic] a cause the Eckerts have championed for years that now is closer than ever to appearing on the Oregon ballot in November.
Legalizing psilocybin, the outlet reported, won’t make it widely available like cannabis. Instead, the Oregonian reported, the initiative will “empower the Oregon Health Authority to set up all licensing, training, certification, and ongoing education requirements for psilocybin service centers and facilitators during a mandated two-year development process,” a press release for Initiative #34 said.
“Only license holders will be able to “provide psilocybin therapy, cultivate psilocybin, or own a psilocybin service center,” under the measure, and the measure would not allow people to take or grow psychedelic mushrooms in their homes, or leave a treatment facility while still under the influence of psilocybin,” the outlet reported. “The use of the substance will be highly structured, with therapy recipients going through a pre-screening, a supervised therapy session and a post-use evaluation.”
In their press release, Sheri Eckert, a therapist, explained that “Oregon has some of the highest rates of depression, anxiety, and addiction in the country,” and that “the options we have to help those people are just not enough.”
The New York Post reported that the Eckerts “hope to market a whole range of ‘Psilocybin Services’ to patients in the future” and received a $1 million donation from Dr. Bronner’s Magic Soaps, an organic soap company based in San Diego, California.
Dr. Rachel Knox was present during the Eckerts’ press conference and said she supported Initiative #34 because she “believes that therapies should be backed by research and evidence-based, and psilocybin is a compound that has a demonstrated safety record.”
“We need better mental health treatment options now more than ever,” Knox added, “and this initiative has the right supervision and safeguards in place.”
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