The people who brought psilocybin-assisted therapy to Oregon have created a new nonprofit to make sure the spirit of the ballot measure is preserved as state officials turn the voter-approved initiative into official policy.
Ballot Measure 109 contained a two-year implementation period to allow Oregon to introduce psilocybin-assisted therapy with as few problems as possible. To do that, the measure calls for setting up a board to advise on the implementation of the therapeutic use of psilocybin — the psychoactive ingredient in hallucinogenic mushrooms. The Oregon Health Authority is now going through 250 applications from people who want to sit on that advisory board, many of whom are from out of state and even from overseas.
That intense interest has pushed backers of the measure to create what they’re calling the Healing Advocacy Fund with the goal of maintaining the intent of the measure. Executive Director Sam Chapman, who previously served as Measure 109′s campaign manager, said the new nonprofit will help educate the public and lawmakers about the measure.
“The continued education and dialogue throughout this implementation process is going to be critical to ensuring that not only are we putting patient safety and facilitator training top of mind, but we’re also ensuring that we’re going to create the most affordable, accessible, equitable program possible,” Chapman said.
“Because if we can’t do that, all of this was for nothing.”
Chapman said the psilocybin advisory board is not simply creating a blueprint for Oregon’s therapy system, but has to recognize Oregon’s leadership position on the issue.
“It’s not lost on us that there are many other states and other countries watching Oregon incredibly closely,” Chapman said.
“Whatever happens here in Oregon over the next two years, in our implementation and rulemaking work, will absolutely have ripples through the country and around the world for the next decade to come.”
So, how does the state feel about having a nonprofit peering over its shoulder as it puts the new therapy system together?
Gov. Kate Brown’s senior policy advisor, Jeff Rhoades, said he welcomes the help.
“This is really great for us because it allows us to make sure that a wide group of diverse individuals is plugged into that process and having their voice heard, which is what we want,” Rhoades said.
The state is expecting to start accepting license applications to set up psilocybin assisted therapy programs in January 2023.
Editor’s note: This story has been updated to remove images of non-hallucinogenic mushrooms. OPB regrets the error.