Psilocybin Retreats in Oregon: Real or a Mirage?

With legalization afoot, psilocybin retreats in Oregon are having a moment. Various new laws and legal changes are, um…mushrooming, nationwide. Reminiscent of the patchwork mess of municipal and state regulations for cannabis, it appears that psychedelic compounds will be subject to a similar patchwork.

So what is going on in Oregon?

Oregon Becomes First State to Legalize Magic Mushrooms…Sort Of

Before you scream “YIPPEE” and toddle off to Portland, hold on a sec. This legalization is probably not what you think it is.

Psilocybin in Oregon took center stage in November 2020, where its ‘legalization’ was put to a vote by Oregonians in that year’s elections. Ballot Measure 109 passed, thanks to more than 1.2 million residents, or 55.7% of voters in Oregon, voting in favor of “legal” psilocybin. Most people would read “legal” and think that this means mushrooms can now be purchased at 7-11. However, Psilocybin in Oregon is only legal in a clinical setting.

Psilocybin in Oregon is Only Legal in a Clinical Setting

Ballot measure 109 did NOT legalize psilocybin use, possession or sale thereof, in any other context.

This partial legalization is the result of Measure 110, the law that derived from the legalization ballot measure. Having gone into effect on February 1, 2021, it decriminalizes possession of small amounts of “street drugs.” Thus, recreational use of psilocybin is still illegal in Oregon. While possessing a small amount of magic mushrooms (over 2 grams) is still a crime, an offender won’t face jail time. The person will be fined $100 instead (and in practice, likely will not receive any punishment whatsoever). Cannabis remains the only fully drug that is fully legalized for recreational use in the state. 

It only gets more confusing from here. The aforementioned ballot measures pertain only to state law. By federal law, psilocybin mushrooms are still fully illegal and classified as a Schedule I drug. Thus, Oregon state law is in direct conflict with federal law (as is cannabis in states and cities across the US). Typically this is only an issue when trying to transport a legal drug across state lines (even if it is legal in the other state). It can be hard to keep track of these reform laws as they are updated; check out this psychedelic drug reform policy map to stay current!

So what did “legalizing” psilocybin in Oregon actually accomplish if anything?

Therapeutic Psilocybin Retreats are Coming to Oregon

The Oregon Health Authority’s therapeutic psilocybin infrastructure exists on paper. This allows the state to set up a regulatory framework that will enforce regulations and licensing of state-approved clinics. As of January 2 2023, Oregon has begun accepting applications for “…manufacturing, laboratory, service centers and facilitators…” of psilocybin production, quality control and therapy. On the supply end, prospective psilocybin growers will have to apply for a license and pay an annual $10,000 licensing fee.  

Psychedelic assisted-therapy training in Oregon can cost between $9,000 and $11,000 per applicant. However, the provision of this training has been hit and miss, with one of the major providers collapsing into bankruptcy in 2023. Despite psilocybin therapy clinics being legal, as of early April 2023, there is not a single one open and doing business yet. Oregon is yet to approve a production facility, service center or facilitator. Rural areas of Oregon are making the rollout even choppier. With a lingering bad taste in their mouths from cannabis legalization, 25 of Oregon’s 36 counties have decided to opt-out of the provision of psilocybin therapy.

Once the demand for producers and facilitators is met, the ease of using psilocybin in Oregon should allow clinics to blossom across the state. 

Walking Into Psilocybin Therapy Like…It’s a Bar?

As the law is written, access to psilocybin therapy will work quite similarly to laws governing bars. The clients do not need a prescription or a medical referral, so the age requirement (21 and over) is the lone hurdle. However, the cost is another matter. Since no clinics have yet opened, the cost of psilocybin assisted therapy in Oregon remains unclear. Given the need to have a trained therapist participating in the therapy, expect treatments to be priced similarly to a course of ketamine treatments.  

Psilocybin Retreats Oregon: Stay Tuned

Did anyone reasonably think that the rollout of legal psilocybin-assisted therapy would be smooth and easy? Fortunately for the other 49 states who may follow, Oregon is laying all of the groundwork.

It would be surprising if at least one psilocybin clinic does not open in Oregon in 2023. Stay tuned to see what happens. Maybe in the near future psilocybin retreats in Oregon will be a booming business. And on that note, it’s best to consult our everything to do with psilocybin retreats guide.

A reminder: just because something is decriminalized or legal, it doesn’t mean it’s safe or without risks. It’s important to have knowledge about a substance and its potential risks, and to use it with caution. It’s also essential to seek professional help if you have any concerns about your mental health.

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About the Author

While I am originally from Chicago, I call Austin, TX home (which coincidentally led me to my first Ayahuasca retreat) with stops along the way in places like the everglade state of Florida and Spain. An active participant in the psychedelic community, I've had the privilege and opportunity to hear a range of expert speakers speakers, including Anthony Bossis, Jamie Wheal, Dennis McKenna and Roland Griffiths. In my spare time I hike national parks, enjoy abusing my passport, listen to the Flaming Lips and read Joseph Campbell, Jung, Graham Hancock, Alan Watts and Montaigne. As my beloved Bill Hicks said, “It’s just a ride."

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