It seems everyone is aware of Election Measure 109 and how Oregon became the first state to legalize magic mushrooms in one way or another. But what exactly this legalization policy is has been somewhat misinterpreted. Falling somewhere between recreational legalization and medical legalization, Oregon’s recently released draft magic mushroom guidelines provide a first glimpse of what a statewide legalization of psychedelics might entail.
Oregon’s draft magic mushroom guidelines show that this is not a medical measure, as the facilitators were not specified as having prior medical or therapeutic training. We’ll have to wait a bit longer to see if these guidelines are updated and what else is stipulated. We report on everything important in this growing psychedelic field, and you can follow by subscribing to The weekly Cannadelics newsletter. Get your daily dose of industry news and be first in line to access new promotions for psychedelic products as they become available.
Vote measures 110
In the November 2020 election, Oregon made history by passing two ballot measures that decriminalized psychedelics for recreational use and legalized them for certain other uses. While the latter has often been misinterpreted as medical legalization, new published guidelines show that this is not quite the case. Here is a breakdown of the two measures.
Vote measures 110 was not specifically about psychedelics, but rather a broader drug decriminalization bill that includes psychedelics. Called the Drug Decriminalization and Addiction Treatment Initiative, this measure has ensured that personal possession of a controlled substance, with no intent to sell, results in nothing more than a Class E violation, with a maximum fine of $100. . He also endorsed the establishment of treatment and addiction programs, with some funding coming directly from cannabis tax revenues and savings from state prisons.
58.46% of the state’s population voted “yes” to this measure, with 1,333,268 votes. 41.54% voted “no”, which represented 947,313 votes. This measure essentially reclassifies personal possession offenses for all Schedule I through IV drugs. The class E violation is a step back from the previous charge of a class A misdemeanor.
Vote measures 109
The much more interesting half of this, was ballot measures 109. This measure, called the Psilocybin Mushroom Services Program Initiative, approved the creation of a program by which psilocybin-containing mushrooms – and related products – can be administered to adults 21 years of age or older. This measure was adopted with 55.75% of the votes, or 1,270,057 voters, while 44.25% voted “no”, or 1,008,199 votes.
For the most part, this has been touted as medical legalization, but nothing in the explanation above is specifically geared towards medical use. Part of the confusion is likely based on the fact that when the measure was passed, nothing actually existed except for the directive to open a “program” for the Oregon Health Authority (OHA). The OHA has had two years to do so and, as promised, guidelines for this “program” have begun to be published, making it clear that this is not actually medical legalization, but that it is falls somewhere between the medical and the recreational.
All that was stated at the time of the vote was that “customers would be permitted to purchase, possess and consume psilocybin at a Psilocybin Service Center and under the supervision of a Psilocybin Service Facilitator after having undergone a preparation session. The OHA is responsible for determining who can access this service and who cannot, but at no time until now has it been stipulated that a doctor is required, a medical setting or a diagnosis. As the OHA was tasked with publishing the regulations at the time of the pass, it meant that nothing was understood at that time about what the final program would entail.
Oregon Magic Mushroom Guidelines
It is now approaching two years from the time Oregon passed Ballot Measure 109, which means the regulations must be passed by the OHA. The program is supposed to start in 2023, so it’s time to work out the details. While this has been repeatedly referred to as medical legalization, the recently released guidelines go in another direction. Of course, everything released now is only in draft form, so suffice it to say that there will be plenty of updates.
Anyway, the document published in February of the first draft of the guidelines, only touches on a few topics, but it moves the conversation forward. A conversation open to public comment and debate; more information for which can be found here. The document covers mushrooms productionmushroom trialand qualifications for animators helping those taking the mushrooms. For example, while the manufacturing requirements do not allow the use of GMOs, they also state that only one type of fungus, Psilocybe cubensis, can be grown.
Many other basics are covered, such as licensing, growing conditions, pesticide use, how to store mushrooms, heavy metal testing, lab requirements, potency testing, and more. What is most interesting, however, are the guidelines for those helping clients take the mushrooms, as they say a lot about what this program really is.
Draft Rules for Facilitators
Facilitators, under the draft rules, would be required to complete 120 hours of basic training, with a minimum of 25% of those hours for in-person training. This practical training (internship) would be divided into at least 30 hours of direct training and 10 hours of training in consultation, in order to review the progress of the potential facilitator. Those interested in becoming an animator must complete an application and provide a $500 non-refundable fee (which is a questionable amount if applicants are easily turned down).
The training modules that potential animators must follow include: 1) Historical, traditional and contemporary practices and applications; 2) Cultural equity in relation to psilocybin services; 3) Safety, ethics and responsibilities; 4) Psilocybin pharmacology, neuroscience and clinical research; 5) Basic facilitation skills; 6) Preparation and Orientation; 7) Administration; 8) Integration; and 9) Group facilitation.
The training program described is geared towards a “non-directive facilitation approach”, which essentially means that the facilitator is not expected to give advice or interpretations while the client is on the journey. This is similar to psychedelic-assisted therapy, where the doctor assists the client throughout the experience, but only provides insight afterwards, in what is called the “integration” phase. This current model includes a kind of “integration” (according to training), but since facilitators are not required to have any real medical or therapeutic training, they will not actually be able to provide therapy. It makes the whole thing look a lot more like recreational legalization.
It’s unclear to what extent Oregon plans to include the “integration” part, but it could open up a lot of legal issues for allowing non-medical or unlicensed facilitators to give therapy. Without the ability to provide therapy, or to base it on a medical/therapeutic model, this also precludes denial of services to clients for not having a medical condition. Draft customer settlements have yet to be released, so it’s impossible to say exactly how each case will be assessed for acceptance or rejection. However, considering the minimum degree to give therapy in the United States, it is a mastery degree, if Oregon wants animators to give any type of medical therapy to clients, it will certainly have to ask them for a lot more. Otherwise, an animator is nothing more than a trained babysitter, for a recreational trip.
Psychedelics, originally banned in the late 1960s and early 1970s in America, have made a comeback lately, with Oregon’s Ballot Measure 109 legalizing some kind of magic mushroom use. . This has sparked a growing interest in decriminalizing and legalizing different psychedelic drugs across the country.
Currently, several places have decriminalization measures. These include Denver, Colorado; Oakland, Santa Cruz and Arcata in California; Ann Arbor, Washtenaw and Detroit County, Michigan; Washington D.C.; Somerville, Cambridge, Northampton and Easthampton in Massachusetts; and Seattle, Washington.
Outside of these individual locations and their decriminalization policies, several states have introduced legislation to legalize recreational use of some kind statewide. These include California, Washington, and Michigan. While these states all have beaks around magic mushrooms, or entheogenic plants (psychedelic plants), Colorado just passed a bill that will legalize synthetic MDMA when a federal legalization comes out, but rejected a bill that would investigate natural psilocybin and DMT.
It has, however, been said that the rejection of this latest bill was at the request of its sponsor, who instead wants to focus on a possible next ballot measure on psychedelic reform, which would be much more ambitious. As for the state’s enthusiasm for MDMA, the bill allowing prescriptions when it becomes federally legal passed 11-0.
At the federal level, the government quietly legalized esketamine in 2019. Esketamine is a half-sister to ketamine, which itself is enjoying increasing popularity as a gray market drug, where it is prescribed in clinics for off-label uses for psychological issues and pain . Additionally, the FDA gave ‘breakthrough therapy‘ to three companies currently studying MDMA and psilocybin: MAPS, COMPASS Pathways, and Usona Institute, noting impending federal legalizations for these two compounds.
Oregon’s draft magic mushroom guidelines begin to answer some questions, while raising many more. How much therapy will be given? Will animators have an additional requirement for a certain level of education in order to apply? And where is this legalization really at the scale from medical to recreational? Guess we’ll have to wait a bit longer until new draft guidelines come out, to get some more answers.
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