SALEM, Ore. — Two measures that would decriminalize certain drugs in radically different ways both pulled ahead in Tuesday night's preliminary results.
Measure 109 would legalize and regulate the therapeutic use of psilocybin, the active chemical in hallucinogenic mushrooms. The chemical has been touted as a potenntial treatment for mental health issues.
“Tonight is a big victory and a historic step forward for so many Oregonians suffering from debilitating anxiety and depression,” said State Senator Elizabeth Steiner Hayward, a family physician and supporter of the initiative. “Oregonians have shown that they know this will be a pragmatic and intentional program, dedicated to delivering psilocybin therapy in a way that relieves suffering and improves lives.”
Measure 110 is more sweeping — decriminalizing possession of small amounts of controlled substances in favor of referrals for treatment. It also funds certain addiction and recovery services using taxes from legal cannabis sales.
“We’re so happy to take this step forward. Thank you, Oregon voters! With so many lives touched by addiction and our state’s failure up to this point to properly deal with the crisis, voters proved they are eager stop ruining lives and start saving them,” said Janie Gullickson, co-chief petitioner of Measure 110 and the Executive Director of the Mental Health and Addiction Association of Oregon. “This is such a big step in moving to a health-based approach instead of criminal punishment, and we’re devoting significant new resources to help Oregonians who need it.”
With almost 70 percent of precincts reporting, Measure 110 had 59 percent of votes in favor, versus 41 percent against. Measure 109 had 56 percent in favor, with almost 44 percent against.
The only two other measures on the ballot — Measure 107 and Measure 108 — also appeared very likely to pass on Tuesday night. Measure 107 concerns restrictions on campaign finance, while Measure 108 increases taxes on tobacco and vaping products.