In about a week, Oregoners will receive their postal ballot papers for the 2020 election. In addition to the presidential, congressional, and state elections, Oregonians will vote on a range of electoral measures. One of these is Measure 109, which allows psilocybin to be used for therapeutic purposes after two years under a licensing and regulatory framework administered by the Oregon Health Authority (“OHA”) after a two-year development phase.
At the law Law Blog, we encourage Oregonians to VOTE YES TO 109. You can read our previous coverage of Measure 109 here:
Although measure 109 has received numerous endorsements (see here), it is not without its opponents. Recently, the editors of the Pendleton-based newspaper East Oregonian spoke out against the measure. Editors don't have much to say about Measure 109 or psilocybin, although they recognize that Measure 109 does not legalize recreational psilocybin, that psilocybin has low potential for abuse, and that psilocybin can become a valuable therapeutic tool.
Why does the Eastern Oregonian reject measure 109? In her words, "We see no advantage for Oregon when it comes to standing before the rest of the nation."
The law Law Blog respectfully disagrees. For one, research into the benefits of psilocybin therapy in treating depression is more advanced than most people think. The results are promising. Further clinical trials are ongoing, including at prestigious research institutions such as Johns Hopkins. See also:
Second, cities and states across the country are moving toward decriminalizing psilocybin. So Measure 109 is not as far ahead of the rest of the country as the editors believe. See:
Washington DC is even slated to decriminalize this fall, and Ann Arbor, Michigan recently decriminalized psilocybin and other psychedelics as well.
Finally, what's wrong with being ahead? Oregon has a long history of independent, forward thinking. In 1967 Oregon passed a landmark law known as the Beach Bill, which guarantees free and unrestricted public access to all beaches in the state. As a result, Oregonians – and visitors – enjoy coastal wilderness and recreational opportunities not found anywhere else in the country. And after Oregon experimented with mail-in-voting in the early 1980s, it adopted it nationwide twenty years ago – with no negative impact or increased participation in elections. Last but not least, Oregon was a leader in medicinal cannabis and recreational cannabis – which grossed $ 102 million in tax revenue last year, after grossing $ 82.2 million in 2018 and $ 70.2 million in 2017 .
This fall, Oregonians have an opportunity to once again lead the way by enacting a law that can help thousands of people suffering from depression and other mental health problems, and Oregon as the center for research and development into the therapeutic uses of psychedelics to establish.
Vote Yes! to measure 109.