PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Oregon has become the first state in the union to legalize the therapeutic use of psilocybin, or the compound found in “magic” mushrooms.
Measure 109 comes decades after Oregon became the first state to decriminalize marijuana in 1973, and on the same night that voters decided to decriminalize all single-user amounts of hard drugs.
The initiative was spearheaded by Tom and Sheri Eckert, psychotherapists working in Portland who do individual, couples and family counseling. They launched the Oregon Psilocybin Society as a way to craft and promote the measure, which would create a program for administering psilocybin to people over the age of 21.
Clients will only be able to buy and consume psilocybin at specific facilities under the supervision of a licensed facilitator.
Psilocybin is listed federally as a Schedule 1 drug and is not legal in any other state, though some cities such as Denver and Oakland have decriminalized it. A growing body of research, including from Johns Hopkins University, has demonstrated therapeutic effects in people suffering from a range of conditions, including addiction, anxiety and depression. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has also granted “breakthrough therapy” status to two clinical trials.
It is one of four statewide ballot measures Oregon voters approved on Election Day. The others are limiting campaign contributions, increasing cigarette and vaping taxes and decriminalizing drugs while establishing treatment and recovery programs.
A nationwide push to relax drug laws took a significant step forward Tuesday as more states legalized marijuana for adults. The drug measures were among 120 proposed state laws and constitutional amendments that were on the ballot in 32 states.