Oregon officials announced on Wednesday that an initiative petition to legalize psilocybin for therapeutic use has received more than enough signatures to qualify for the ballot. The measure, known as IP-34, will come before voters in this November’s general election.
Organizers with the Oregon Psilocybin Society have been busy collecting signatures for the initiative for more than a year. In all, the campaign collected nearly 165,000 signatures in support of the measure, of which more than 132,000 were certified as valid and accepted by the Oregon Secretary of State Elections Division. A total of 112,020 verified signatures were required to qualify the measure for the ballot.
“We are thrilled that Oregon voters have come together to tackle mental health and depression by qualifying this ballot measure for the November election,” said Tom Eckert, a licensed psychotherapist and co-chief petitioner for the initiative bid. “Oregonians deserve access to psilocybin therapy as a treatment option — and now we officially have a chance to win it.”
If passed, IP-34 would legalize psilocybin for use in a clinical and therapeutic setting, but the recreational use or cultivation of magic mushrooms would still not be permitted under the measure. The initiative establishes a two-year timeline to plan and develop regulations and licensing procedures to create clinical facilities for the administration of psilocybin-based psychotherapy.
Psilocybin Shows Clinical Potential
Psilocybin mushrooms and their active ingredients have received great interest in recent years for their potential as a therapy for several serious mental health conditions including treatment-resistant depression and anxiety. A study of terminally ill cancer patients conducted at Johns Hopkins University in 2016 investigated the effect that psilocybin had on anxiety and depression. Dr. Roland Griffiths, a professor of behavioral biology, said that researchers found that psilocybin treatment can result in a significant improvement in the mental health of patients.
“The most interesting and remarkable finding is that a single dose of psilocybin, which lasts four to six hours, produced enduring decreases in depression and anxiety symptoms, and this may represent a fascinating new model for treating some psychiatric conditions,” Griffiths said at the time.
Six months after the psilocybin treatment, 80 percent of the patients in the study showed significant decreases in anxiety and depression. Increases in well-being were reported by 83 percent of patients and two-thirds said the treatment session was one of the five most meaningful experiences in their lives.
Election Campaign Begins
With the official notification that IP-34 has garnered enough signatures to appear on the ballot, organizers are now gearing up to gain the support of voters in November. Sheri Eckert, Tom’s wife and co-chief petitioner for the initiative, expressed her gratitude to those who have worked on the campaign so far.
“We want to thank the thousands of volunteers and the over 160,000 Oregonians that made this ballot measure possible, and we look forward to talking with voters over the next four months to share the research and show why psilocybin therapy is a part of our collective answer to the mental health crisis our state faces,” she said. “This careful, regulated approach can make a real difference in people’s lives and we’re looking forward to bringing this program to the state.”