Oregon pushes forward with public vote to legalize psychedelic mushrooms

It’s not a hallucination — Oregon is now one step closer to becoming the first state to legalize psychedelic mushrooms.

Organizers say they have received over 164,000 signatures on Initiative Petition #34, which would legalize psilocybin — the active compound in psychedelic mushrooms — for therapeutic use.

This qualifies the measure to go on the ballot in November, though the petitioners will have to wait until mid-July for confirmation that the measure will appear on this year’s ballot, according to the Oregonian.

Psilocybin is found in many species of mushrooms, but following the counterculture movement of the 1960s they have become more widely known as “psychedelic” or “magic” mushrooms.

Recent studies have found promising results for medical and therapeutic usage of psilocybin. According to IP 34’s website, “it is uniquely effective in treating depression, end-of-life anxiety, and addiction. A recent study from NYU showed that psilocybin therapy reduced depression and anxiety with cancer patients with 80 percent of patients, with few side effects.”

Other researchers have noted that psilocybin has helped patients struggling with addiction to other substances like cigarettes.

If the measure passes in November, Oregon would become the first state to legalize psychedelic mushrooms, which are currently considered a Schedule 1 narcotic by the Drug Enforcement Agency.

Denver became the first city to decriminalize the mushrooms in May 2019, and was followed shortly by Oakland, California, in June 2019 and Santa Cruz, California, in January 2020.

Oregon’s initiative was pushed by Sheri and Tom Eckert, two counselors who started the Oregon Psilocybin Society in 2017. The Eckerts hope to market a whole range of “Psilocybin Services” to patients in the future, according to the Oregonian.

The Eckerts’ campaign also got a major boost from a $1 million donation from Dr. Bronner’s Magic Soaps, an organic soap company from San Diego.

The ballot measure does place restrictions on the use of the drug. It would set up licensing requirements for psilocybin therapy providers and psilocybin farmers. It also restricts use to licensed therapy centers, and requires patients go through a “three-step therapy process” before treatment.

Individuals would still not be allowed to grow or consume psychedelic mushrooms in their homes.

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