The Umatilla County Board of Commissioners has unanimously voted to block psilocybin manufacturing and service centers on the November 8 ballot, reported Antonio Sierra on Oregon Public Broadcasting.
State voters legalized the supervised therapeutic use of psilocybin in 2020 in the Oregon Psilocybin Services Act.
Yet, since 62% of Umatilla County voters rejected the measure, the local board is acting in favor of providing them with a new chance to express their concerns.
With this move, Umatilla joins a list of other counties asking for voters' opinion on whether to allow or prohibit the commercialization of the psychoactive drug in the local unincorporated areas, before a state-managed system takes effect in January.
On the other hand, a commissioner in Linn County said he feared access to psilocybin might lead youth to “doing things that may cost them their life” as the board unanimously decided to send the decision to the ballot.
Another local ballot measure was decided in Jackson County, as commissioners approved a psilocybin referendum.
Umatilla County Commissioner John Shafer believes that it is likely more counties will take the same action as his jurisdiction did. “I think you’re going to see a domino effect come on, especially on the eastern side of the state.”
As Sierra recalls, the trend coincides with that of 2016 when the state allowed local governments to opt out of legal cannabis sales. Back then, many Eastern Oregon cities and counties justified prohibition by citing the regional split in support of the 2014 Measure 91 legalizing the recreational market.
Yet other eastern communities changed after cannabis became legal. While Umatilla rejected the measure, Pendleton residents voted to allow cannabis sales that would ultimately prove to be beneficial to the area's tax base. Ontario, Sumpter and Huntington approved cannabis sales too.
What locals will take into consideration and eventually decide will become clear in November.
Photo Courtesy of Everett Mcintire on Unsplash.
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