Oregon Counties Largely Vote Against Psilocybin Use

This article was originally published by Jefferson Public Radio.

Jackson and Deschutes were the only two counties in the state to vote in favor of allowing psilocybin manufacturing and service centers. Coos, Curry, Douglas, Klamath and Josephine counties voted down local measures.

A growing health movement is using psilocybin to treat PTSD, severe depression, and substance use disorder. A variety of groups, including veterans’ organizations, support its use for therapeutic reasons.

"We're pleased to see the results in both Jackson and Deschutes counties, places where advocates really stepped up to help inform their neighbor about what was at stake and supporting unfettered access to psilocybin therapy in their communities," said Sam Chapman, executive director of the Healing Advocacy Fund, a nonprofit created to help implement psilocybin services in Oregon. "We really believe that as psilocybin therapy gets implemented in Oregon communities in 2023 and beyond, voters will continue to learn about how it can help address our state's mental health crisis. And over time, access will only continue to expand."

This year’s vote came after Oregonians voted to legalize the use of psilocybin in supervised facilities in 2020. That ballot initiative passed with nearly 56% percent of the vote, driven largely by urban areas, although the majority of the state’s counties opposed it.

27 of the state’s 36 counties had the issue on their ballots again on Tuesday, as did approximately 100 municipalities.

In Southern Oregon, Central Point, Eagle Point, Jacksonville, Rogue River, Shady Cove, and Cave Junction all voted against psilocybin, while Phoenix narrowly voted in favor of allowing the therapy.

Municipalities in Lane, Marion, and Clackamas county also voted down local measures. The issue was not on the ballot in Oregon's largest cities: Portland, Salem, Eugene, or Bend.

Across the state, most counties voted against psilocybin, as they did in 2020. Four counties — Clackamas, Clatsop, Curry, and Tillamook — switched from being in favor to being against it.

The issue did not appear on the ballot in nine counties, which were all in favor of psilocybin in 2020. Those counties are: Lane, Benton, Lincoln, Wasco, Hood River, Multnomah, Yamhill, Washington, and Columbia.

The Oregon Health Authority is working on guidelines regulating the manufacturing and sale of psilocybin products as well as the provision of psilocybin services, which will apply in areas that allow psilocybin. The department will begin accepting applications for service center licenses on January 2.

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