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Oregon Unveils Rules For New Psilocybin Therapy Program

Regulators in Oregon have released the first round of rules governing the state’s new voter-approved psilocybin therapy program.

These rules were released by Oregon Health Authority last week and detail specific manufacturing requirements, safety procedures, and permissible types.

According to The Oregonian, those are “just the first set of rules for a program set to go into effect in January 2023,” while “rest of the rules will be considered in the fall and adopted by Dec. 31.”

Oregon Psilocybin Services, a division within the Oregon Health Authority Public Health Division’s Center for Health Protection charged with implementing the new law, provide some context on the new rules in a letter to the public last week.

The agency said that it “received approximately 200 written and verbal comments during the public comment period that took place April 1-22, 2022 and relied on these comments to further refine the final rules.”

“In some cases, public comments were incorporated in the adopted rules and in others they were not. OPS weighed competing priorities and viewpoints that were received throughout the rulemaking process when making revisions, while considering equity, public health and safety,” the letter said. “In addition, OPS considered the statutory authority of the Oregon Psilocybin Services Act and the scope of current rulemaking. OPS received many comments, which may have been relevant for future rulemakings. However, they were not directly related to this set of proposed rules. Important to remember that the letter does not cover every possible change in draft rules. Instead, it responds to the most frequent themes observed from the public comment period.”

One of the most important new rules is the permission for mushroom growers to cultivate a single type: Psilocybe Cubensis.

“OPS received comments requesting that the rules allow additional species of mushrooms and use of additional substrates. Oregon Psilocybin Advisory Board suggested that cultivation be limited to Psilocybe cubensis, and prohibited substrates that could pose a danger to safety and health. To avoid the risk associated with deadly, poisonous look-alikes and the potential for wood lover’s paralysis and animal-borne pathogens, OPS has upheld this recommendation in final rules. Although raw manure and compost are prohibited, they can be made. OPS looks forward to consideration of additional species in the future through continued dialog with the public and recommendations from the Oregon Psilocybin Advisory Board,” the letter said.

Ballot Measure 110 was approved by the Oregon voters in 2020. It legalized the therapeutic use and removed all criminal charges.

This proposal’s passage was widely seen as a breakthrough in drug reform.

“Today’s victory is a landmark declaration that the time has come to stop criminalizing people for drug use,” said Kassandra Frederique of the Drug Policy Alliance, one of the groups that pushed for Ballot Measure 110. “Measure 110 is arguably the biggest blow to the war on drugs to date. It shifts the focus where it belongs—on people and public health—and removes one of the most common justifications for law enforcement to harass, arrest, prosecute, incarcerate, and deport people. As we saw with the domino effect of marijuana legalization, we expect this victory to inspire other states to enact their own drug decriminalization policies that prioritize health over punishment.”

“While drug decriminalization cannot fully repair our broken and oppressive criminal legal system or the harms of an unregulated drug market, shifting from absolute prohibition to drug decriminalization is a monumental step forward in this fight,” Frederique continued. “It clears the path toward treating drug use as a health issue, restores individual liberty, removes one of the biggest underpinnings for police abuse, and substantially reduces government waste.”