Oregon Is Seriously Considering Legalizing ‘Magic’ Mushrooms

Organizers hope to put the initiative on the 2020 ballot

Photo by eskymaks/Getty Images

Oregon could soon be on its way to legalizing psilocybin mushrooms, following the Secretary of State approving language for a 2020 ballot initiative. Should activist accumulate 117,578 signatures to qualify for the ballot, Oregon voters could decide to decriminalize “magic mushrooms” and allow for their growth with a license.

“The intent of the 2020 Psilocybin Service Initiative of Oregon is to advance a breakthrough therapeutic model currently being perfected in research settings at top universities around the world,” chief petitioners Tom and Sheri Eckert wrote. “We envision a community-based framework, where licensed providers, along with licensed producers of psilocybin mushrooms, blaze trails in Oregon in accordance with evolving practice standards.”

Oregon is not alone in their efforts to legalize psilocybin mushrooms. Organizers in both California and Denver, Colorado rallied to include initiatives that would decriminalize psychedelic mushrooms on the 2018 midterm ballot, though their efforts ultimately fell short.

Currently, psilocybin mushrooms are classified as a Schedule I drug by the FDA, the same category as heroin and cannabis. To be a Schedule I drug means the substance in question holds no medicinal value. As researchers find mushrooms have a positive effect on anxiety, treatment-resistant depression, and Seasonal Affective Disorder, that could change.

In addition, researchers at Johns Hopkins University have endorsed the use of magic mushrooms in mental health treatments and advocated for the federal government to re-schedule the drug. They just might be listening, too. For the first time in U.S. history, the FDA fast-tracked research on psilocybin from U.K.-based Compass Pathways. The move could open the door for clinical trial of magic mushrooms to begin as soon as 2021.

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