Oregon becomes the first state in the nation to allow the use of psilocybin, the psychoactive ingredient of hallucinogenic mushrooms, in therapy.
Unofficial results show Oregon voters easily passing Measure 109, according to information updated Wednesday morning.
The measure does not decriminalize psilocybin. It’s still a Schedule I drug under federal rules and thus not approved for any medical uses. Instead, Measure 109 directs the Oregon Health Authority to create a state-licensed, psilocybin-assisted therapy program over the next two years and determine how it would regulate the ingredient.
Ultimately, the measure allows therapists to use psilocybin to treat chronic mental health issues like PTSD and depression. Therapists also plan to use it to reduce anxiety for patients who are dying and to help people kick their addictions.
Psilocybin will not be available for purchase in stores. It will only be available through an extensive, three-session therapy system located in a state-licensed clinic.
Sam Chapman is the campaign manager of the psilocybin-assisted therapy Measure 109. He said the measure’s support was stronger than expected in several counties.
“It’s very clear that creating new options for people who are struggling with depression, anxiety and addiction is not a partisan issue. Suffering is not a partisan issue," he said. "And I think the win that we received tonight and the support that we received tonight from Oregon voters is a testament to that.”
Less guarded supporters said during the campaign that allowing psilocybin for medical use is the first step in a long effort to make forms of the drug readily available.
The Oregon Psychiatric Physicians Association came out against the measure calling it “unsafe.”
Kevin Sabet, a former drug policy advisor for Presidents Bill Clinton, George W. Bush and Barack Obama, said the measure treats Oregonians like lab rats. He said psilocybin should be subject to the rigors of science, not a popular vote.
Oakland and Santa Cruz, California, and Denver have all passed measures decriminalizing psilocybin within their city limits. Ann Arbor, Michigan, voted to make it a low priority for law enforcement. Voters in Washington, D.C., had a measure on this fall’s ballot to decriminalize psilocybin and it was passing according to unofficial results Wednesday.