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Oregon first state to legalize hallucinogenic 'magic' mushrooms

Oregon has become the first state in the country to legalize psilocybin, or psychedelic mushrooms, with the passage of a state ballot measure Tuesday. 

According to The Oregonian/OregonLive, Measure 109 passed Tuesday evening with approximately 56.1 percent support from voters. 

The measure, backed by chief petitioners and psychotherapists Sheri and Thomas Eckert, will permit regulated, therapeutic use of psychedelic mushrooms. 

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The vote also now creates a two-year period in which lawmakers will determine how the drug will be regulated, including the qualifications therapists need to meet in order to administer the drug. 

The Oregonian/Oregon Live reported that the new mandate will allow anyone age 21 or older to access the drug for “personal development” upon passing a screening. 

Research at universities including Johns Hopkins, Imperial College in London and the University of California, Los Angeles, have shown indications that psychedelic mushroom therapy could be helpful for patients experiencing depression, PTSD and addiction.

“We need options. And this is a valid therapeutic option that could help thousands of people,” Tom Eckert told The Oregonian/OregonLive in September.

Oregon voters on Tuesday also approved a ballot measure that will decriminalize the possession of small amounts of harder street drugs including heroin, methamphetamines and cocaine.

The ballot measure would mean that the possession of a "non-commercial" amount of a number of drugs would be punishable by no more than a $100 fine. Violators can also opt to complete a health assessment for drug addiction instead of paying a fine, and the measure also sets up free addiction recovery centers funded by tax revenue from retail marijuana sales.

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The measures in Oregon come as voters in Washington, D.C., voted to decriminalize the growing, possession and noncommercial distribution of hallucinogenic mushrooms on Tuesday. 

More than 76 percent of voters in the nation’s capital supported the initiative with just over 40 percent of precincts reporting, according to the district's Board of Elections.

Cities across the country have previously decriminalized the use of psychedelic mushrooms, with Denver, Colo., being the first to do so with a ballot measure in May 2019. Other cities have since followed, including Ann Arbor, Mich., and the California cities of Santa Cruz and Oakland.