When Will Measure 109 Oregonians Access Legal Therapeutic Psilocybin?
The state still has work to do, but it won’t be long before Oregonians age 21 and older will be able to do something almost no one else in the country can — ingest psychedelic mushrooms in a therapeutic setting.
Oregon is the first state in the nation to vote to legalize psilocybin, which researchers believe could help treat depression, PTSD and addiction. And with a year to go before the implementation deadline, the Oregon Health Department is working to develop a system to administer the psychedelic in therapeutic settings across the state.
Under Measure 109, approved by Oregon voters in November 2020, the state has until December 31, 2022 to establish the framework that will regulate legal magic mushrooms.
Officials say they are on track to meet that deadline.
“Comprehensive Regulatory Framework”
The development phase for Action 109 officially began on January 1, 2021. In March, the Oregon Psilocybin Services Advisory Board, appointed by Gov. Kate Brown, met for the first time.
Then in June, OHA hired Angela Allbee to run the newly created Oregon Psilocybin Services Section.
“We are the first-ever state in the United States to create a comprehensive regulatory framework for psilocybin services,” Allbee said by phone on Jan. 14. “We have a lot to do.”
Allbee built up her team for this and got to work.
This team creates a training program, a licensing and compliance tracking and case management system, establishes a product tracking system, said OHA spokesman Jonathan Modie, in compliance with Action 109, and develops policies and procedures for the licensing and compliance programs.
While Allbee acknowledges that the state is building a program from the ground up, she said they are not without leaders.
“Indigenous communities have practiced the use of psilocybin for centuries,” she said, and the substance is legal in several places around the world.
In working to create rules, Allbee said the advisory board reviewed scholarly literature and invited a number of guest speakers with a wide range of information and expertise. They have held listening sessions and currently have an open poll on the section’s website at https://bit.ly/33FCzXx.
“Our board is advisory,” Allbee said, meaning they will make recommendations to the OHA.
“We’re taking those recommendations into account and drafting rules,” she said.
In drafting these rules, Allbee said, “We really focus on the values of equal access to services and safety.”
“Rulemaking advisory committees will be held in February 2022 to discuss draft rules for training programs and products/tests,” Modie said. “OHA plans to adopt rules by June 1, 2022 to allow the agency to begin accepting applications for curriculum approval for training programs.”
According to Allbee, the agency will begin work to complete the remaining rules in September.
Start date still in flux
The final rules are expected to be finalized by December 31, 2022, allowing the Psilocybin Section to accept applications for four types of licenses beginning January 2, 2023 – licenses for moderators, manufacturers, testing labs, and service centers.
When psilocybin services will be available to Oregonians is less certain.
Licensees can begin work once applications are approved, Modie said.
“This includes licensed manufacturers that grow psilocybin and manufacture psilocybin products, licensed testing labs that test the psilocybin products, licensed manufacturers that sell tested products to licensed service centers, and licensed service centers that open their doors for psilocybin services in partnership with licensed agents who will work with clients,” he said.
This process can take some time. Since the requirements aren’t final yet, it’s hard to predict when that might be.
For now, those interested in following the progress of Oregon’s first-in-the-nation efforts can sign up for email updates at https://bit.ly/3tQpCVP.