What’s Next for Mushrooms In Oregon?

oregon mushrooms

If it couldn’t be trendsetting California then the next best thing for the Golden State is the Beaver State, on the northern border, getting to the finish line first. At least keep it on the west coast family. And so as we recall, or not, as a lot has happened in the past pandemic year, on November 4, 2020 Oregon became the first state in the country to legalize psilocybin with the passage of Measure 109. So now what? We are one year in. What’s next? What does the legalization of magic mushrooms look like in Oregon?

What is Measure 109? Can I pop over the border to the Beaver state and spend a day shrooming with the state’s blessing the same way I can here at home in L.A. getting baked on craft weed purchased from an upscale West Hollywood pot shop one could mistake for an Apple store?

Nope. Not quite. Not yet. Not really. That is what is trying to be done here in California with the California Psilocybin Decriminalization Initiative. Perhaps not to the extent of an Apple style store but maybe a farmers market. So what are the parameters of  Measure 109?

The goal of Measure 109 is to make psilocybin, the chemical compound found in magic mushrooms, legal for therapeutic use. This would make Oregon the first state in the country to do this. Cities and jurisdictions around the country have decriminalized the magic mushroom but this would legalize it statewide for therapeutic uses. The measure does not allow for recreational use nor does it allow psilocybin to be sold to the general public. There was a separate ballot measure, Measure 110, that took care of decriminalizing small amounts of street drugs, including psilocybin. 

The Psilocybin Services Act endorses the potential of psilocybin to treat a range of conditions—including anxiety, depression, PTSD and even substance use disorder. Though the rules are still being written, the drug will be given in controlled settings, where patients will likely be monitored while they are tripping. They won’t be able to take it home to use on their own time, as with medical marijuana.

Once the bill passed it was not going to make psilocybin therapy available the next day. “It required the Oregon Health Authority  (OHA) to conduct a 2-year process to set up a system to regulate its use.”  This will cost a small sum before the system of taxing the drug is established.

“Supporters of the measure say that if psilocybin-assisted treatment proves successful, it could eventually save the state money currently spent treating chronic conditions.”

“The creation of a legalized psilocybin-assisted therapy program in Oregon could generate tourism in the state. At least one psilocybin business has already moved some operations to the state. Synthesis runs psilocybin truffle trips in Amsterdam. Co-founder Myles Katz said he moved to Portland to support Measure 109.”

Tom and Sheri Eckert, the husband-and-wife chief petitioners behind the measure, who both practice therapy in Beaverton, insist that the drug’s use must be rooted in science and regulated with the guidance of scientists and health care professionals.

As psilocybin may not be for everyone, as noted by Michael Pollan “As much as the supporters of legal psilocybin hope to follow the political playbook that has rapidly changed the status of cannabis in recent years,” Pollan wrote in The New York Times, “they need to bear in mind that psilocybin is a very different drug, and it is not for everyone.” is why the Eckerts are proposing a regulatory system that aims to take care when choosing who to administer psilocybin to and how to do it in a way that ensures a healing experience, rather than a “bad trip.”.

So what does therapeutic use look like and who is going to be able to “trip”? No one is buying it, taking it home and shrooming by themselves or with friends. It will not be legal to consume psilocybin without guidance or oversight. And as such the state created a new section, the Oregon Psilocybin Services, housed within the Oregon Health Authority Public Health Division’s Center for Health Protection. The Oregon Psilocybin Services will implement Ballot Measure 109

“On March 18, 2021 Governor Kate Brown appointed members to the Oregon Psilocybin Advisory Board, which held its first meeting on March 31.” Since then the board has created five sub-committees to study facets of the emerging psilocybin industry including research, equity, manufacturing, training, and licensing. Dr. Mason Marks is chairing the licensing subcommittee, “which focuses on public health and safety, ethics, and consumer protection”. “Each subcommittee reports its findings to the full Advisory Board, which will make regulatory recommendations to the OHA on or before June 30, 2022.” 

The process will take the full two years from the passing of the Measure. Licensing applications will start being accepted on January 2, 2023. Measure 109 provides for four different types of licenses: manufacturer, service center operator, facilitator, laboratory.

The manufacturer licence is required to manufacture psilocybin products which includes “planting, cultivation, growing, harvesting, production, preparation, propagation, compounding, conversion, processing, packaging, and labeling”.

SECTION 24. Psilocybin product manufacturers; endorsements. (1) The Oregon Health Authority shall adopt rules that designate different types of manufacturing activities. A psilocybin product manufacturer may only engage in a type of manufacturing activity if the psilocybin product manufacturer has received an endorsement from the authority for that type of manufacturing activity. (2) An applicant must request an endorsement upon submission of an initial application but may also request an endorsement at any time following licensure.   (3) Only one application and license fee is required regardless of how many endorsements an applicant or licensee requests or at what time the request is made. (4) A psilocybin product manufacturer licensee may hold multiple endorsements. (5) The authority may deny a psilocybin product manufacturer’s request for an endorsement or revoke an existing endorsement if the psilocybin product manufacturer cannot or does not meet the requirements for the endorsement that is requested. If the authority denies or revokes approval the psilocybin product manufacturer has a right to a hearing under the procedures of ORS chapter 183.

A service center operator license will be required to operate a psilocybin service center. That is where one goes to “trip”, where they buy, consume, and experience the psilocybin. The license is only good for one location. And there are zoning restrictions!

SECTION 26. Service center operator license; fees; rules. (1)(a) The operation of a psilocybin service center is subject to regulation by the Oregon Health Authority. (b) A psilocybin service center is not a health care facility subject to ORS chapter 441. (2) A psilocybin service center operator must have a service center operator license issued by the authority for the premises at which psilocybin services are provided. To hold a service center operator license under this section, a psilocybin service center operator: (a) Must apply for a license in the manner described in section 14 of this 2020 Act; (b) Must provide proof that the applicant is 21 years of age or older; (c) Must, until January 1, 2025: (A) If the direct owner of the business operating or to be operated under the license is a legal entity, provide proof that more than 50 percent of the shares, membership interests, partnership    interests, or other ownership interests of the legal entity are held, directly or indirectly, by one or more individuals who have been residents of this state for two or more years; (B) If the direct owner of the business operating or to be operated under the license is a partnership that is not a legal entity, provide proof that more than 50 percent of the partnership interests of the partnership are held, directly or indirectly, by one or more individuals who have been residents of this state for two or more years; and (C) If the direct owner of the business operating or to be operated under the license is an individual, provide proof that the individual has been a resident of this state for two or more years; (d) Must ensure that the psilocybin service center is located in an area that is not: (A) Within the limits of an incorporated city or town; and (B) Zoned exclusively for residential use; (e) Except as provided in section 27 of this 2020 Act, must ensure that the psilocybin service center is not located within 1,000 feet of: (A) A public elementary or secondary school for which attendance is compulsory under ORS 339.020; or (B) A private or parochial elementary or secondary school, teaching children as described in ORS 339.030 (1)(a); and (f) Must meet the requirements of any rule adopted by the authority under subsection (3) of this section. (3) The authority shall adopt rules that: (a) Require a psilocybin service center operator to annually renew a license issued under this section; (b) Establish application, licensure and renewal of licensure fees for psilocybin service center operators; (c) Require psilocybin products sold by a psilocybin service center operator to be tested in accordance with section 96 of this 2020 Act; and (d) Require a psilocybin service center operator to meet any public health and safety standards and industry best practices established by the authority by rule. (4) Fees adopted under subsection (3)(b) of this section: (a) May not exceed, together with other fees collected under sections 3 to 129 of this 2020 Act, the cost of administering sections 3 to 129 of this 2020 Act; and  (b) Shall be deposited in the Psilocybin Control and Regulation Fund established under section 69 of this 2020 Act. 

SECTION 27. Proximity of psilocybin service center to school. Notwithstanding subsection 2(e) of section 26 of this 2020 Act, a psilocybin service elementary or secondary school, teaching children as described in ORS 339.030 (1)(a); and (2) The Oregon Health Authority center may be located within 1,000 feet of a school if: (1) The psilocybin service center is not located within 500 feet of: (a) A public elementary or secondary school for which attendance is compulsory under ORS 339.020; or (b) A private or parochial determines that there is a physical or geographic barrier capable of preventing children from traversing to the premises of the psilocybin service center. 

SECTION 28. Establishment of school after issuance of license. If a school described in subsection 2(e) of section 26 of this 2020 Act that has not previously been attended by children is established within 1,000 feet of a premises for which a license has been issued under section 26 of this 2020 Act, the psilocybin service center operator located at that premises may remain at that location unless the Oregon Health Authority revokes the license of the psilocybin service center operator under section 64 of this 2020 Act.

SECTION 29. Requirement to verify person’s age; rules. The Oregon Health Authority may adopt rules establishing the circumstances under which the authority may require a psilocybin service center operator that holds a license issued under section 26 of this 2020 Act to use an age verification scanner or any other equipment used to verify a person’s age for the purpose of ensuring that the psilocybin service center operator does not sell psilocybin products to a person under 21 years of age. Information obtained under this section may not be retained after verifying a person’s age and may not be used for any purpose other than verifying a person’s age.

A facilitator license will be required to facilitate psilocybin services. The facilitator is the “therapist”. A facilitator is not limited to one location. However, the sessions must include preparation and integration and must be held at a designated location. Once the licenses are issued psilocybin can only be administered by trained and licensed facilitators at designated service centers. Now here is where it may get cloudy: according to Measure 109 the OHA cannot require facilitators to have more than a high school education or its equivalent. “Tom Eckhardt who is a professional counselor and the chief petitioner for Measure 109 chairs the training committee and so is developing training requirements for aspiring facilitators.” Although the question of who becomes or is called a facilitator can become grey or loose. 

SECTION 30. Facilitator license; fees; rules. (1) The facilitation of psilocybin services is subject to regulation by the Oregon Health Authority. (2) A psilocybin service facilitator must have a facilitator license issued by the authority. To hold a facilitator license issued under this section, a psilocybin service facilitator: (a) Must apply for a license in the manner described in section 14 of this 2020 Act; (b) Must provide proof that the applicant is 21 years of age or older; (c) Must, until January 1, 2025, provide proof thatand training prescribed and  the applicant has been a resident of this state for two or more years; (d) Must have a high school diploma or equivalent education; (e) Must submit evidence of completion of education approved by the authority; (f) Must have passed an examination approved, administered or recognized by the authority; and (g) Must meet the requirements of any rule adopted by the authority under subsection (4) of this section. (3) The authority may not require a psilocybin service facilitator to have a degree from a university, college, post-secondary institution, or other institution of higher education. (4) The authority shall adopt rules that: (a) Require a psilocybin service facilitator to annually renew a license issued under this section; (b) Establish application, licensure and renewal of licensure fees for psilocybin service facilitators; and (c) Require a psilocybin service facilitator to meet any public health and safety standards and industry best practices established by the authority by rule. (5) Fees adopted under subsection (4)(b) of this section: (a) May not exceed, together with other fees collected under sections 3 to 129 of this 2020 Act, the cost of administering sections 3 to 129 of this 2020 Act; and (b) Shall be deposited in the Psilocybin Control and Regulation Fund established under section 69 of this 2020 Act. (6) A psilocybin service facilitator may be, but need not be, an employee, manager, director, officer, partner, member, shareholder, or direct or indirect owner of one or more psilocybin service center operators.   (7) A license issued to a psilocybin service facilitator under this section is not limited to any one or more premises. 

SECTION 31. Examinations; rules. The Oregon Health Authority shall offer an examination for applicants for licenses to facilitate psilocybin services at least twice a year. An applicant who fails any part of the examination may retake the failed section in accordance with rules adopted by the authority. 

SECTION 32. Requirement to verify person’s age; rules. The Oregon Health Authority may adopt rules establishing the circumstances under which the authority may require a psilocybin service facilitator that holds a license issued under section 30 of this 2020 Act to use an age verification scanner or any other equipment used to verify a person’s age for the purpose of ensuring that the psilocybin service facilitator does not provide psilocybin services to a person under 21 years of age. Information obtained under this section may not be retained after verifying a person’s age and may not be used for any purpose other than verifying a person’s age. PSILOCYBIN SERVICES 

SECTION 33. Psilocybin services. The Oregon Health Authority shall adopt by rule the requirements, specifications and guidelines for: (1) Providing psilocybin services to a client; (2) Holding and verifying the completion of a preparation session; (3) Having a client complete, sign, and deliver a client information form to a psilocybin service center operator and a psilocybin service facilitator; (4) Holding and verifying the completion of an administration session; and (5) Holding and verifying the completion of an integration session.

SECTION 34. Preparation session.      (1) Before a client participates in an administration session, the client must attend a preparation session with a psilocybin service facilitator. (2) A preparation session may be, but need not be, held at a psilocybin service center. (3) If a preparation session is completed in accordance with all applicable requirements, specifications and guidelines, as determined by the Oregon Health Authority, the psilocybin service facilitator must certify, in a form and manner prescribed by the authority, that the client completed the preparation session. 

SECTION 35. Client information form. (1) Before a client participates in an administration session: (a) The client must complete and sign a client information form, in a form and manner prescribed by the Oregon Health Authority; and (b) A copy of the completed and signed client information form must be delivered to: (A) The psilocybin service center operator that operates the psilocybin service center at which the administration session is to be held; and (B) The psilocybin service facilitator that will supervise the administration session. (2) The client information form: (a) Will determine whether the solicit from the client such information as may be necessary: (A) To enable a psilocybin service center operator and a psilocybin service facilitator to client should participate in an administration session, including information that may identify risk factors and contraindications; and (B) If so, to assist the psilocybin service center operator and the psilocybin service facilitator in meeting any public health and safety standards and industry best practices during the administration session; and (b) Will contain such health and safety warnings and other disclosures to the client as the authority may prescribe.

 SECTION 36. Administration session. (1) After a client completes a preparation session and completes and signs a client information form, the client may participate in an administration session. (2) An administration session must be held at a psilocybin service center.    (3) If an administration session is completed in accordance with all applicable requirements, specifications and guidelines, as determined by the Oregon Health Authority, the psilocybin service facilitator must certify, in a form and manner prescribed by the authority, that the client completed the administration session.

 SECTION 37. Integration session. (1) After a client completes an administration session, the psilocybin service facilitator who supervised the administration session must offer the client an opportunity to participate in an integration session. The client may, but need not, participate in an integration session. (2) An integration session may be, but need not be, held at a psilocybin service center. (3) If an integration session is completed in accordance with all applicable requirements, specifications and guidelines, as determined by the Oregon Health Authority, the psilocybin service facilitator must certify, in a form and manner prescribed by the authority, that the client completed the integration session.

With that said there are concerns about the cost of treatment and access for low income individuals and the existing reputation that psilocybin and other psychedelics already hold as being drugs for privileged white folks.

Concerns about the legislation include that it may end up effectively still excluding certain people from receiving psilocybin. Legalizing for clinical uses only leaves barriers for low- and middle-income patients who cannot easily afford to see a psilocybin therapist. Health insurance companies are not required to cover the treatment (and likely, will not).  But the law also contains a number of better signs for widespread access—including the fact that psilocybin therapists, as defined by the bill, needn’t be licensed psychologists or psychiatrists.

Lastly, a laboratory license will be required to test psilocybin products. “Like manufacturers and service center operators, a laboratory license will be valid only for one specific location.  However, it is possible for a person to hold both a manufacturer license and a service center operator license at the same location.”

SECTION 96. Testing standards and processes; rules. (1) As is necessary to protect the public health and safety, and in consultation with the Oregon Liquor Control Commission and the State Department of Agriculture, the Oregon Health Authority shall adopt rules:    (a) Establishing standards for testing psilocybin products. (b) Identifying appropriate tests for psilocybin products, depending on the type of psilocybin product and the manner in which the psilocybin product was manufactured, that are necessary to protect the public health and safety, which may include, but not be limited to, tests for: (A) Microbiological contaminants; (B) Pesticides; (C) Other contaminants; (D) Solvents or residual solvents; and (E) Psilocybin concentration. (c) Establishing procedures for determining batch sizes and for sampling psilocybin products. (d) Establishing different minimum standards for different varieties of psilocybin products. (2) In addition to the testing requirements established under subsection (1) of this section, the authority may require psilocybin products to be tested in accordance with any applicable law of this state, or any applicable rule adopted under a law of this state, related to the production and processing of food products or commodities. (3) In adopting rules under sections 3 to 129 of this 2020 Act, the authority may require a psilocybin product manufacturer that holds a license under section 23 of this 2020 Act to test psilocybin products before selling or transferring the psilocybin products. (4) The authority may conduct random testing of psilocybin products for the purpose of determining whether a licensee subject to testing under subsection (3) of this section is in compliance with this section. (5) In adopting rules to implement this section, the authority may not require a psilocybin product to undergo the same test more than once unless the psilocybin product is processed into a different type of psilocybin product or the condition of the psilocybin product has fundamentally changed. (6) The testing of psilocybin products as required by this section must be conducted by a laboratory licensed by the authority under section 97 of this 2020 Act and accredited by the authority under section 100 of this 2020 Act. (7) In adopting rules under subsection (1) of this section, the authority: (a) Shall consider the cost of a potential testing procedure and how that cost will affect the cost to the ultimate client; and  (b) May not adopt rules that are more restrictive than is reasonably necessary to protect the public health and safety. 

SECTION 97. Laboratory licensure; qualifications; fees; rules. (1) A laboratory that conducts testing of psilocybin products as required by section 96 of this 2020 Act must have a license to operate at the premises at which the psilocybin products are tested. (2) For purposes of this section, the Oregon Health Authority shall adopt rules establishing: (a) Qualifications to be licensed under this section, including that an applicant for licensure under this section must be accredited by the authority as described in section 100 of this 2020 Act; (b) Processes for applying for and renewing a license under this section; (c) Fees for applying for, receiving and renewing a license under this section; and (d) Procedures for: (A) Tracking psilocybin products to be tested; (B) Documenting and reporting test results; and (C) Disposing of samples of psilocybin products that have been tested. (3) A license issued under this section must be renewed annually. (4) The authority may inspect premises licensed under this section to ensure compliance with sections 96 to 104 of this 2020 Act and rules adopted under sections 96 to 104 of this 2020 Act. (5) Subject to the applicable provisions of ORS chapter 183, the authority may refuse to issue or renew, or may suspend or revoke, a license issued under this section for violation of a provision of sections 3 to 129 of this 2020 Act or a rule adopted under a provision of sections 3 to 129 of this 2020 Act. (6) Fees adopted under subsection (2)(c) of this section must be reasonably calculated to pay the expenses incurred by the authority under sections 3 to 129 of this 2020 Act. (7) Fee moneys collected under this section shall be deposited in the Psilocybin Control and Regulation Fund established under section 69 of this 2020 Act and are continuously appropriated to the authority for the purpose of carrying out the duties, functions and powers of the authority under sections 3 to 129 of this 2020 Act.

There are no local licenses, only state issued licenses. 

SECTION 80. No local licenses. The authority to require a license for the manufacturing or sale of psilocybin products in this state, or for the provision of psilocybin services in this state, is vested solely in the Legislative Assembly.

The information timeline and contact info for inquiries is as follows:

OHA will begin taking applications for licenses beginning January 2, 2023.

Email Inquiries: OHAPsilocybin@dhsoha.state.or.us

Contact: Jonathan Modie, 971-246-9139,

PHD.Communications@dhsoha.state.or.us

Oregon Psilocybin Services Listening Sessions 

Lastly a quick review of some pertinent restrictions as provided under Sections 26, 27, 28:

Measure 109 places restrictions both on ownership of manufacturing and facilitator operations ( which include residency requirements for the first two years of the development period and expires on January 1, 2025). There are also zoning restrictions as well. 

The ownership requirements are as follows:

“An individual may not have a financial interest in more than one manufacturer 

-An individual may not have a financial interest in more than five service center operators

– If a legal entity holds a manufacturer or a service center operator license, more than 50% of the shares, membership interests, or other ownership interests of the legal entity must be held, directly or indirectly, by one or more individuals who have been Oregon residents for two or more years

– If an individual holds a manufacturer or a service center operator license as a sole proprietor the individual must have been an Oregon resident for two or more years.”

-Must be 21 years of age

The zoning requirements are as follows:

-The psilocybin service center is located in an area that is  not within the the limits of an incorporated city or town, zoned exclusively for residential use, is not located within 1000 feet of a school.

Author: Sherri Margolin (Dark Matters)

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