The City Council voted to establish rules describing when, where and how to grow and use magic mushrooms.
The Medford City Council voted unanimously Thursday to begin crystallizing rules for the implementation of Measure 109, which allows the therapeutic use of the psychedelic psilocybin mushroom starting next year. [123rf.com]
The Medford City Council on Thursday night unanimously approved taking the first steps to allow psilocybin, or magic mushroom, therapy.
“Let’s start working on it now,” said Matt Brinkley, Medford’s planning director.
By January 19, 2023, the city should have regulations outlining the time, place and manner for both mushroom cultivation and therapy sites.
Brinkley said his staff will rely on the preliminary rules from the state of Oregon to help guide the development of regulations in the city.
“The big issue is what happens if the state comes out with different rules,” he said.
Planning staff may need to alter the proposed regulations if the state makes substantial changes to its preliminary regulations.
Because these Oregon Health Authority rules are still in flux, it has caused concern for cities and counties that need to write their own rules about hours of operation, where they can be located, and other rules about how ‘to operate. The rules must be written before the state begins processing licenses in January.
On Aug. 4, the council voted down a proposed November ballot measure that would have asked Medford voters to approve a two-year ban or a permanent ban on psilocybin therapy.
Medford and Ashland allow psilocybin facilities in their respective cities.
Central Point, Phoenix and Jackson County have decided to put a ban on the November ballot.
In November 2020, Oregon voters approved Measure 109, the Oregon Psilocybin Services Act, which allows the manufacture, delivery and administration of psilocybin in licensed facilities. The state will begin processing licenses in January 2023.
Medford voters approved Measure 109 by 201 votes.
In July, Jackson County commissioners approved putting a measure on the Nov. 8 ballot asking voters to ban psilocybin mushrooms despite strong support for psilocybin therapy during a public hearing.
Proponents of psilocybin therapy say it has proven effective in treating post-traumatic stress disorder, addiction, mental illness and other problems.
Some detractors point to the problems associated with legalizing marijuana, which has provided cover for illegal crops throughout southern Oregon.
Supporters say the limited use of psilocybin in a licensed treatment facility would not resemble the legalization of cannabis.
Mushroom cultivation will be done in an indoor facility and should not have the odor associated with cannabis.
The psilocybin law will allow anyone 21 years of age or older to seek treatment at a licensed therapy facility. Unlike cannabis, psilocybin cannot be used at home or recreationally under Measure 109.
The county ordinance would not affect local cities allowing psilocybin in their communities, but the measure, if passed, would bar therapy centers in unincorporated areas of the county.
The city will study two businesses related to psilocybin.
Farm sites will be located in commercial or industrial areas of the city.
Therapy centers will have their own requirements, especially operating hours.
“Ideally, yes, we talk to people who have these centers or grow crops to see what their needs are,” Brinkley said.
Contact freelance writer Damian Mann at email@example.com.