A campaign to legalize psilocybin mushrooms for medical purposes in Oregon was cleared for signature gathering on Friday after the state’s attorney general issued a certified ballot title for the measure.
The Psilocybin Service Initiative would allow adults to consume the psychedelic in a medically supervised environment. There would be no restrictions on the type of health condition that qualifies an individual from such treatment.
The measure, officially designated by the state as Initiative Petition 34, would also establish an advisory panel that would be responsible for issuing licenses to treatment facilities and manufacturers, as well as conducting research into the therapeutic potential of psilocybin.
The attorney general released a draft ballot title for the initiative last month and opened a public comment period for individuals to weigh in on the proposal. Oregon Psilocybin Society (OPS), the group behind the measure, made a series of recommendations to refine the language, and those changes were adopted in the new title.
Originally, the title read, “Creates regulatory program allowing licensed manufacture, delivery, and administration of psilocybin (psychoactive substance from fungus).”
The final version reads, “Allows manufacture, delivery, administration of psilocybin at supervised, licensed facilities; imposes two-year development period.”
OPS said in a campaign update newsletter that it “lobbied for accurate, impartial, and descriptive language, and we are extremely pleased with the final result.”
Now the real work begins. In order for a statutory initiative to qualify for the state’s November 2020 ballot, petitioners must collect 112,020 valid signatures from voters by July 2. The group said it hired a director of volunteer canvassing to facilitate the signature gathering process and “will be making announcements soon regarding recharging the signature canvas.”
The campaign is being financially supported by Dr. Bronner’s CEO and activist David Bronner. Other OPS advisors include Psychedelic Science Funders Collaborative Executive Director Graham Boyd and the firm Emerge Law Group.
It was apparently at the behest of these advisors that OPS dropped an earlier version of the initiative that would have decriminalized the fungus for adults in general beyond the legalization of medical use. The latest version does not include decriminalization provisions, which created frustration among other reform advocates such as Decriminalize Nature Portland.
Kevin Matthews, executive director of the national psychedelics reform group SPORE, said he will be talking to OPS on Monday to discuss their initiative and attempt to bridge divides in the community.
“I’m also not saying that [OPS] made a good decision by removing the decriminalization component from their language—I certainly have my bias (and was truly pissed when I found out), however I’m very open (and we should all be very open) to discover how we can support each other IF we’re truly interested in and committed to the potential of this medicine as a radically effective tool for health, mental wellness, and creative expression,” Matthews, who led Denver’s successful campaign to decriminalize psilocybin earlier this year, wrote in a Facebook post.
Photo courtesy of Wikimedia/Mädi.