Psilocybin In Oregon: County Considers Temporary Ban On Legal Psilocybin Therapy Program

Psilocybin In Oregon: County Considers Temporary Ban On Legal Psilocybin Therapy Program

Centers providing supervised therapeutic use of psilocybin are set to commence their services in Oregon in January 2023 thanks to the 2020 Oregon Psilocybin Services Act.

Now, Washington County could be joining a growing group of counties considering banning the practice.

At state level, voters voted 54% in favor of the 2020 measure, and Washington County specifically showed an even wider support, with 59% of voters approving it.

Commissioners from Washington County have stated that they don’t have enough time to craft code changes and are therefore are weighing the possibility to refer a measure to voters this November following a ban on psilocybin treatment facilities for two years, as first reported by Troy Shinn on Pamplin Media.  

As in the other cases, officials are considering asking voters to temporarily prohibit psilocybin treatment institutions, at least in unincorporated areas, at the next general election.

The county’s commissioners board introduced and passed the first reading of an ordinance on July 19, affirming the blockage step is necessary because Oregon still hasn't issued its rules on psilocybin.

If the ban proposal moves to the November ballot and is approved by voters, it would postpone any psilocybin centers or processing facilities in the unincorporated parts of Washington County until 2024. Nonetheless, the board of commissioners could vote to lift it earlier than that date.

County counsel Rob Bovett said during a recent work session that "We have concerns that we won't really have time to present you with … really any of the rulemaking that would be required. We don't even have draft (Oregon Health Authority) rules yet."

The fact is, the OHA is expected to issue the rules between August and September 2022, which would leave county officials with a few months to rule on land use and particulars regarding possible applications to open psilocybin manufacturing and services facilities. In the face of this timing, a group including Bovett is pushing for a two-year moratorium, up to voters to approve.

Other county commissioners in Oregon are opposed to the state paving the way for legalizing psilocybin: "It's interesting to me that we're in the midst of investing $75 to $80 million on a center for addiction treatment … and then we deal with a Legislature that approves the use of these," said commissioner Jerry Willey referring to the planned Center for Addictions Triage and Treatment to open in Beaverton in 2024.

Besides the growing list of Eastern Oregon counties reconsidering the psilocybin measure, Clackamas County is also currently deliberating on whether to ask its voters about this possibility next fall.

As a counterweight, others affirmed that it isn’t to the county commission to judge on the substance's potentialities but to figure out ways to implement the voters’ will. For instance, chair Kathryn Harrington and commissioner Pam Treece voted against the ordinance.

The motion commissioners Willey, Nafisa Fai and Roy Rogers voted in favor of holding a public hearing on the matter passed 3-2 and has been scheduled for July 26. The second reading and potential passage of the ordinance is set for August 2.

Photo Courtesy of Pexels - Shutterstock.

Posted In: Jerry WilleyOregon Health AuthorityOregon Psilocybin Services ActRob BovettWashington CountyCannabisNewsPsychedelicsRumorsLegalMarkets

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