Oregon Psychedelics: Petition to Legalize Psilocybin for Therapy Moves Forward

Last Friday, May 22, petitioners submitted to the Oregon Secretary of State a ballot initiative (IP 34) seeking to permit the use of psilocybin for therapeutic use under a licensing and regulatory framework administered by the Oregon Health Authority (“OHA”). The submission was quite a feat, especially given the challenges presented by COVID-19 during the signature gathering period.

Readers of this blog will recall that IP 34 does not mean psilocybin would be available in stores–or even home use–and psilocybin products would not be branded or marketed to the general public. Rather, the purpose of the measure is to permit the use of psilocybin in licensed settings under the supervision of a trained facilitator.

We have been tracking the psilocybin movement for some time now. In August 2018, we wrote about the FDA approving a psilocybin trial for treatment-resistant depression. A few months later we covered the Oregon Attorney General’s approval of Initiative Petition 2020-12—a petition similar to IP 34—and noted the challenges facing the petitioners in collecting signatures and convincing 51% of Oregonians to vote “Yes.” At that time, we guessed that the signature hurdle would sink the initiative.

But the times they are a changing, as the bard sings. Since 2018, successful efforts to decriminalize psilocybin occurred in Denver, Oakland, and Santa Cruz. More recently, Alison Malsbury wrote about the efforts to decriminalize psilocybin throughout the State of California and Vince Sliwoski prognosticated that such efforts would likely advance on two tracks—initiatives and ordinances on the on hand, and the pharmaceutical model on the other. He explained the similarities and differences between cannabis and psilocybin in this regard. Most recently, we wrote about new scientific research that may help us understand why psilocybin appears promising for therapeutic intervention.

The campaign for IP 34 turned in 133,252 signatures and the article linked above notes that 112,020 valid signatures are necessary for the initiative to make the November ballot in Oregon. The next step for IP 34 is review of the signatures by the Election Division of the the Oregon Secretary of State. For more information on the initiative and what you can do to help, visit the Yes on IP 34 site, take a look at this article by Marijuana Moment, and of course stay tuned here.

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