Supervised Psilocybin Usage Moves Closer to Reality in Oregon as OHA Issues First Licenses
In 2020, when voters in Oregon adopted Measure 109, the state became the first in the U.S. to legalize psilocybin for supervised use. The measure mandated that the Oregon Health Authority create a set of guidelines for the safe and responsible consumption of psilocybin.
Applicants seeking psilocybin facilitator, service center, manufacturer, and testing laboratory licenses have had to wait two and a half years for the state to process their applications. Clients will soon be allowed to take part in supervised sessions, according to Angie Allbee, manager of OHA’s psilocybin services unit, who recently spoke on OPB’s “Think Out Loud.”
“It might take a little bit of time for service centers to establish their business relationships and hire their employees,” she said. “But we expect service center doors to open in 2023, hopefully sometime in the fall.”
The state granted two manufacturing permits on Monday( April 4, 2023). Service providers, facilitators, and testing facilities have not yet been awarded licenses. Some counties and municipalities have chosen to opt out of the program, and a significant trainer has gone bankrupt during its deployment.
Psilocybin service provider licensing costs may run into tens of thousands of dollars, making entry into the market difficult for certain startups.
“Because we have to have all of our budget covered by the cost of fees, it does strain us,” Allbee said. “We’re looking closely at ways to create more equitable licensing fees. We know that it’s so important to have representation from diverse-lived and professional experience in our regulated community.”
In contrast to the dispensary model for recreational cannabis usage, which was legalized in December, psilocybin will not be available for personal use. Clients may instead participate in sessions facilitated by a certified professional.
All sessions must occur at an authorized facility, and reputable companies must produce and test all psychedelic mushrooms. Allbee said the location, dose, and number of participants in a psilocybin session would decide the pricing of services, which is beyond OHA’s purview to regulate.
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“For those folks who are going into a more urban setting, group administration session [or] lower-dose administration session, it could cost significantly less than those that are coming in for a one-on-one, standard-dosage session,” she said.
Psilocybin remains a Schedule I restricted drug at the national level. This is the most restrictive classification available under federal law. According to Allbee, the psilocybin services division has been in touch with the U.S. attorney for Oregon as mandated by the 2020 legislation.
“There’s so much movement in the psychedelic space nationwide,” she said. “I think that we’ll always provide information and answer any questions from federal partners.”
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