Local government

Malheur County Court sends psilocybin measure to voters in November

VALE – A host of eastern Oregon counties and cities have already elected to ban the sale and manufacture of psilocybin and last week Malheur County moved ahead on a similar measure.

Morrow, Umatilla, Union and Baker county officials have already decided to send to their voters in the Nov. 8 election measures to prohibit the sale of the drug commonly known as “magic mushrooms.” The ban would only be for areas outside cities.

But cities such as Ontario, Hermiston, Boardman and Pendleton – have also drafted ordinances to ban psilocybin.
The Malheur County Court on Wednesday, Aug. 10, approved sending a measure to the November ballot to ban psilocybin in unincorporated areas of the county.

 “It is a good idea for it to go to voters,” said Dan Joyce, Malheur County judge.
Commissioner Don Hodge agreed.

“Let’s let the people of Malheur County decide,” said Hodge.

The Malheur County ordinance is aimed to ban psilocybin service centers and the manufacture of the drug.

Psilocybin is a psychedelic drug – often dubbed “magic mushrooms” – produced by different species of fungi. Once ingested, psilocybin is converted by the body into psilocin which can produce hallucinogenic results like LSD or mescaline.

Oregon voters approved the Oregon Psilocybin Service Act as Ballot Measure 109 in November 2020. The new law permits the manufacture, delivery and administration of psilocybin at licensed facilities.

The law also does not allow the retail sale of psilocybin and it gives cities and counties the choice to “opt out” or put on the ballot an ordinance to either prohibit psilocybin merchants or set a two-year moratorium on such facilities.

The new law permits anyone 21 and over who passes a screening process the right to use the services under supervision at a licensed facility.

Patrons will still buy the drug but can only use it a licensed facility.

Psilocybin is still listed as a Schedule 1 substance under the Federal Controlled Substances Act.

Schedule I drugs are illegal substances defined by the federal Drug Enforcement Agency with “no currently accepted medical use and a high potential for abuse.”

The Oregon Health Authority will oversee the implementation of the measure, including licensing therapists who can administer psilocybin.

Some research indicates that psilocybin can help those who suffer from depression and post-traumatic stress disorder.

While the Measure 109 was passed by a majority of Oregon voters, it foundered in eastern Oregon. During the 2020 election, 7,890 voters in Malheur County, or about 69%, voted against the measure while 3,475 – about 31% – elected to approve the measure.

News tip? Contact reporter Pat Caldwell at [email protected]

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