The state's voters will decide on legalization and decriminalization of psilocybin mushrooms.
Come November 2020, the residents of Oregon will get the opportunity to officially vote for the legalization of psilocybin therapy. Although Oregon was successful in legalizing cannabis for recreational use in 2014, this is a move unlike any before. In addition to legalization, the state will also move to decriminalize the use of psilocybin mushrooms.
In order to introduce the measure on the ballot, the voters needed to collect a significant amount of signatures. During this time of lockdown due to the coronavirus, this seemed like an impossible task. Howbeit, psilocybin activists were able to collect 132,465 valid signatures from registered voters.
We are thrilled that Oregon voters have come together to tackle mental health and depression by qualifying this ballot measure for the November election. Tom Eckert, licensed psychotherapist and co-chief petitioner for the initiative
The move to legalize the psychedelic compound is officially labelled IP 34. If successful, Oregon would be the first location in the US to have a framework for psilocybin therapy.
There aren't any criteria for being eligible to participate in psilocybin therapy, however, some doctors who are in support state that it would be aimed at people who suffer from conditions such as depression, anxiety, and post-traumatic stress disorder.
Psilocybin therapy could be the answer to mental health and addiction crisis.
Janie Gullickson, who is a chief petitioner for the measure and the executive director of the Mental Health and Addiction Association of Oregon said in a press release that psilocybin therapy has the potential to save lives and help treat the massive addiction problem that many Oregonians suffer from.
Others, like Dennis McKenna, an ethnopharmacologist who completed his thesis work on psilocybin mushrooms, argue that while changing the legislation surrounding psychedelics is certainly a step in the right direction, society also needs to "entirely revise how we view drugs."
"Drugs are a kind of technology, and as such, they can be used for good or used for evil. There is no such thing as a bad drug, there are just plenty of bad ways to use drugs. It is all about the decisions that we make in terms of how we are going to use these technologies – if we use them at all. It all comes down to the individual. Ultimately, you have to trust yourself."Dennis McKenna, lecturer, author and ethnopharmacologist
In addition to legalizing magical mushroom therapy, the move to decriminalize mushrooms has the potential to save the police's time and expenditure. Moreover, decriminalization will prevent otherwise non-violent individuals from getting a criminal record, which will help boost the employability of these individuals. Statistics from the Oregon Criminal Justice Commission show that in 2018, there were 8,903 drug charges for minor possession in the state of Oregon. Many of the drug charges included possession of psilocybin mushrooms.
More states in the US are starting to introduce new drug policy reform. Washington D.C. is launching a campaign to decriminalize a broad range of psychedelic substances in the near future. Idaho is nearing a medical marijuana initiative, and Montana is on the brink of legalizing cannabis for recreational use.
Due to the coronavirus outbreak, many of these initiatives have been delayed, however, by 2022 we could very well see a massive change in drug policy reform all over the US.
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