Magic Mushroom Mania: Decrim Measures on Oregon and DC Ballots

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Now that marijuana is legal in 11 states for adult use and 33 for medical use, some drug-reform activists have pivoted to entheogens - i.e. hallucinogenic plants.

On September 22, Ann Arbor became the fourth U.S. city to decriminalize magic mushrooms and other psychedelic plants, folowing Denver and Oakland and Santa Cruz in California.

RELATED: Five States Will Vote to Legalize Adult Use or Medical Marijuana


Measure 109 in Oregon

Taking things a step further, Oregon has an initiative, Measure 109, on the November ballot that would "establish a regulated psilocybin therapy system" in the state.

According to the Vote Yes on 109 website:

"Psilocybin therapy is a mental health therapy that uses psilocybin, a plant medicine derivative found in mushrooms, to treat depression, anxiety, addiction and other mental health challenges.

"Outside of clinical studies, psilocybin therapy is not currently available - but that may be quickly changing. Pioneering research by institutions like Johns Hopkins and UCLA has shown that psilocybin therapy, when done by trained professionals, can help people break through a variety of mental health conditions... 

"Psilocybin works differently than pharmaceuticals, which need to be taken daily and often come with an array of adverse side effects. Preliminary research shows that psilocybin therapy can be effective and has an excellent safety track record. In a small number of psilocybin sessions with a trained facilitator, patients have found lasting relief from various forms of depression and anxiety.

"Patient outcomes have been so promising that in 2019, the FDA granted psilocybin therapy a 'breakthrough therapy' designation. This is done when research demonstrates a new treatment method is more effective than current standards of care."

The measure reads, in part:

"Initiative amends state law to require Oregon Health Authority (OHA) to establish Oregon Psilocybin Services Program to allow licensed/regulated production, processing, delivery and possession of psilocybin exclusively for the administration of 'psilocybin services' by licensed 'facilitator' to 'qualified client.' Grants OHA authority to implement, administer and enforce the program. Imposes two-year development period before implementation of the program. Establishes fund for program administration and governor-appointed advisory board that must initially include one measure sponsor; members are compensated. Imposes packaging, labeling, and dosage requirements. Requires sales tax for retail psilocybin."

Measure 109 is supported by Oregon Rep. Earl Blumenauer, the Democratic Party of Oregon, ACLU of Oregon, Law Enforcement Action Partnership, SSDP, Black Resilience Fund, Oregon Cannabis Association and Dr. Bronner's Magic Soaps. More than $1.5 million has been raised, $1 million from New Approach PAC. There is no organizational opposition to Measure 109.

RELATED: Magic Mushrooms Church Raided in Oakland

The Oregon Psychiatric Physicians Association and severel other psychiatric groups have taken stances against the measure. 

According to the OPPA:

"Given our limited understanding of psilocybin’s effects on patients and how it may interact with other medications, it is dangerous to allow practitioners -especially those with no medical training - to dispense a controlled substance.”

Initiative 81 in Washington, DC

Meanwhile, in the Nation's Capitol, Initiative 81 (Entheogenic Plants and Fungus Measure) is on the ballot as well.

If passed, the initiative would:

"Make the investigation and arrest of adults for non-commercial planting, cultivating, purchasing, transporting, distributing, possessing and/or engaging in practices with entheogenic plants and fungi among the Metropolitan Police Department’s lowest law enforcement priorities; and

"Codify that the people of the District of Columbia call upon the Attorney General for the District of Columbia and the United States Attorney for the District of Columbia to cease prosecution of residents of the District of Columbia for these activities."

Entheogens are defined in the measure as "plants and fungi that contain ibogaine, dimethyltryptamine, mescaline, psilocybin, or psilocyn."

I-81's main backer Decriminalize Nature DC has raised $550,000, mostly from New Approach PAC. Local activist Adam Eidinger contributed $6,200.

Psilocybin, like marijuana, is listed as a Schedule I drug in the Controlled Substances Act, meaning it's federally prohibited. Schedule I drugs allegedly have "a high potential for abuse" and "no currently accepted medical use in treatment in the United States" or "accepted safety for use... under medical supervision."


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Steve Bloom

Steve Bloom

Publisher of, former editor of High Times and Freedom Leaf and co-author of Pot Culture and Reefer Movie Madness.