The revival of psychedelic science has produced groundbreaking results, validating their immense therapeutic potential to humanity. Concurrent with the concerted effort to expand research into psychedelic compounds is the movement to realign the drug policies surrounding them. Oregon Measure 109, the Psilocybin Program Initiative, is one of the latest developments in the battle to reintegrate psychedelic drugs into both our pharmacopeia and culture. 

What is Oregon’s Measure 109?

On November 3, 2020, Oregon voters will have the opportunity to pass an initiative establishing a psilocybin mushroom program. Psilocybin, the active ingredient in magic mushrooms, has shown remarkable efficacy in recent clinical trials in the treatment of everything from treatment-resistant depression and end-of-life anxiety to addiction and PTSD. The measure will be the first of its kind to regulate the manufacture, purchase and consumption of psilocybin at certified mental healthcare and therapy centers. A “yes” vote on 109 will effectively authorize the Oregon Health Authority to create a program to permit individuals 21 years of age and older to receive psilocybin-assisted psychotherapy from licensed service providers. A vote of “no” will maintain the status quo of prohibition surrounding these compounds. 

Also on the ballot will be Measure 110, a progressive initiative aimed at decriminalizing drugs and creating addiction treatment programs. If the measures are approved, Oregon will be the first U.S. state to decriminalize all drugs and legalize psilocybin.

Read: Ann Arbor City Council Unanimously Votes to Decriminalize Entheogens

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Not the Same As Cannabis Legalization

While it is understandable to look to the legalization of cannabis to draw parallels between industries, there are major differences. In an interview with KTVZ News 21, the measure’s campaign manager, Sam Chapman, had this to say about the initiative: 

“This is not legalization. No one will be bringing psilocybin home with them,” Chapman said. “This is really a licensed, controlled and supervised environment.”

We recently had the pleasure of connecting with Mr. Chapman for this article as well. This is what he had to say on the matter:

According to Mental Health America, Oregon has the most severe mental health crisis in the country, and that was prior to COVID. Currently available options work for some, but with so many people still suffering from depression, anxiety, and addiction, we need more options. Psilocybin therapy provides a new breakthrough alternative with incredibly promising results. Measure 109 would provide regulated and supervised access for so many in need, who otherwise would have no means to access it legally. We are excited to have an opportunity to create the first ever state level program for psilocybin therapy right here in Oregon.”

Indeed, one of the most important elements that distinguishes the movement to medicalize psychedelics from that of legalizing cannabis is the mandatory clinical component that psychedelics require. While psychedelic-inspired drugs aimed at reproducing the benefits of microdosing may be used by patients at home, the majority of true, full-dose psychedelic experiences will be conducted in a safe, therapeutic setting with licensed professionals. In fact, the lack of a “recreational” market for these compounds is exactly the reason huge investors, like Kevin O’ Leary, got involved in psychedelics but not cannabis. As such, it is important to highlight the clinical aspect of the initiative Orgeon is attempting to pass and how this differs from the cannabis legalization movement. 

Read Announcing Psychedelics Versus Cannabis: An Evidence-Based Exploration

A “Yes” on 109 Has Strong Potential to Carry Psychedelic Markets Until Election

As far as psychedelic pharmaceuticals are concerned, Oregon’s Measure 109 is largely symbolic at this time. However, if the measure passes, there is a strong chance it can help produce enough momentum to carry psychedelic stocks until after the election. While a positive outcome may have little impact on psychedelic pharmaceutical profits right now, it’s a critical maneuver in dismantling rigid regulatory and commercialization barriers. Additionally, the measure passing will certainly go a long way in the continued destigmatization and cultural acceptance of these compounds.

oregon measure 109 psychedelic psilocybin mushroom program

Looking Ahead to the Future of the “Shroom Boom”

This past week has seen some remarkable developments in the emerging mushroom therapeutics space. Innovative mushroom company Cybin Corp. announced closing of Canada’s largest go-public financing in the psychedelic sector. Additionally, the psychedelic pioneers at Numinus recently completed their first ever legal harvest of magic mushrooms. These exciting developments certainly set the stage for further progress in both science and policy. As the psychedelic renaissance continues to unfold at breakneck speed, the passing of Oregon’s Measure 109 is sure to have a massive impact on the emerging psychedelic industry and the world at large.

oregon measure 109 psychedelic psilocybin mushroom program