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Psychedelic mushroom legalization moves closer to appearing on Oregon ballot

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A push to legalize the use of psychedelic mushrooms in therapeutic settings is one step closer to appearing on the Oregon ballot in November, The Oregonian reported.

The Oregon Psilocybin Therapy Initiative announced this week that it has received the necessary amount of signatures for the measure to appear on the ballot. 

Election officials will now work to verify whether the 164,782 signatures collected are valid.

Psilocybin is currently listed as a Schedule 1 drug at the federal level, meaning the U.S. government has determined it has “a high potential for abuse” and “no currently accepted medical treatment use in the U.S.”

The Oregon campaign, known as Initiative Petition (IP) #34, would legalize the use of psychedelic mushrooms in controlled doses when administered by professionals in the state.

If passed into law, the measure would “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.”

Only license holders will be able to “provide psilocybin therapy, cultivate psilocybin, or own a psilocybin service center.”

IP #34 would not make psilocybin available to buy in stores or to take home, and psilocybin products will not be branded or marketed to the general public. People also would not be allowed to take or grow psychedelic mushrooms in their homes, or to leave a treatment facility while still under the influence of psilocybin. 

Chief petitioners Sheri and Tom Eckert said they believe “magic mushrooms” may be an effective treatment for depression, anxiety or addiction. 

The Eckerts, both counselors, say that psilocybin wouldn’t be as widely available as cannabis if their measure passes.

“As therapists, we know that personality doesn’t change easily,” Tom Eckert told The Oregonian in 2017. “Where typical pharma-type interventions fall short, psilocybin is really breaking through with pretty amazing frequency.”

“It’s the experience that creates change in people,” Tom Eckert said.

“Rigorous studies at leading medical research institutions such as Johns Hopkins, UCLA, and NYU show that psilocybin is uniquely effective in treating depression, anxiety, and addiction,” the organization said on its website. “It shows so much promise the [Food and Drug Administration] FDA recently granted it a ‘breakthrough therapy’ designation — meaning that psilocybin therapy may demonstrate substantial improvement over what’s currently available.”

Dr. Bronner’s, the company known for all-in-one soap, in May donated $1 million to the effort. The brand previously donated $150,000 in September. 

“We want to make sure it’s done in the right way,” CEO David Bronner said, “and we feel that Tom and Sheri are putting forward models based on the best practices based off of the clinical trials coming out of Johns Hopkins and NYU but making it accessible for everyone. In many ways, the therapeutic container is like the analog to the indigenous ceremonial container.”

Oregon would become the first state to legalize the substance if the ballot measure is successful. A similar California ballot initiative failed in 2018.

Several cities, including Denver and Oakland, Calif., have decriminalized certain natural hallucinogenics including “magic mushrooms.”

Tags Addiction Anxiety Depression Dr. Bronner’s magic mushrooms Oregon Oregon Psilocybin Society Psilocybin mushroom Psychoactive drugs
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