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Petition to legalize psilocybin therapy expected to make Oregon ballots

A group that is pushing to have Oregonians vote on legalizing the therapeutic use of hallucinogenic mushrooms says that the initiative is expected to make November ballots.

Posted: Jun 29, 2020 11:49 AM
Updated: Jun 29, 2020 11:52 AM

SALEM, Ore. — A group that has championed an initiative to legalize and regulate the therapeutic use of psilocybin, the active chemical in hallucinogenic mushrooms, announced on Monday that it expects to "comfortably qualify" for Oregon ballots in November.

Organizers said that the campaign gathered 164,782 signatures. Just over 112,000 valid signatures are required to make the ballot.

“Oregon has some of the highest rates of depression, anxiety, and addiction in the country. As a therapist, I am intimately aware of how mental health affects our communities — not only people suffering from mental health conditions but their families and loved ones as well,” said Sheri Eckert, co-chief petitioner on the initiative. “I also know that the options we have to help those people are just not enough.”

The Oregon Psilocybin Services Act would create a regulatory program to manufacture, deliver, and administer psilocybin at supervised, licensed facilities only.

Supporters of the petition say that psilocybin can help in addressing treatment-resistant depression and anxiety, based on research coming out of several major universities.

“I support this initiative as a doctor who believes that therapies should be backed by research and evidence-based, and psilocybin is a compound that has a demonstrated safety record,” said Dr. Rachel Knox, another champion of the initiative. “We need better mental health treatment options now more than ever, and this initiative has the right supervision and safeguards in place.”

Under the initiative, potential recipients of the therapy would need to be screened for risk factors before being eligible to take psilocybin in a supervised therapy session, followed by an evaluation. There would also be a mandated two-year development process for the program prior to making it widely accessible.

The intiative's backers said that they turned in final signatures on Monday, expecting to have more than enough of them verified to qualify for the November ballot.

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