Regulators in Oregon have released the first round of rules governing the state’s new voter-approved psilocybin therapy program.
The rules, released last week by the Oregon Health Authority, detail various manufacturing requirements and safety procedures, as well as the permissible types of psilocybin products.
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 numerous comments that may be relevant to future rulemakings but were not related to the content of the proposed rules in this subset of rules. It is important to note that this letter does not address every change to the draft rules. Instead, it responds to the most frequent themes observed from the public comment period.”
Chief among the newly unveiled rules was the decision to allow manufacturers to cultivate one type of mushroom: Psilocybe Cubensis.
“OPS received comments requesting that the rules allow additional species of mushrooms and use of additional substrates. The Oregon Psilocybin Advisory Board recommended limiting cultivation to Psilocybe Cubensis and prohibiting substrates that may pose a risk to health and safety. 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. That said, although raw manure is prohibited, finished compost is allowed. 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.
In 2020, voters in Oregon passed Ballot Measure 110, which legalized the therapeutic use of psilocybin and decriminalized all drugs.
The successful passage of the proposal was widely hailed as a major breakthrough for the drug reform movement.
“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.”
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The rules are slated to take effect in January 2023.
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