Oregon has taken a groundbreaking step by licensing its first legal psilocybin mushroom growers and facilitators, paving the way for the therapeutic use of psilocybin in the state.
The state of Oregon is poised to launch the first legal psilocybin journeys in the United States outside of medical trials later this year. To prepare for this, the state has recently granted licenses to its first legal growers of psilocybin mushrooms (aka “magic mushrooms”) and psilocybin session facilitators.
Satori Farms, owned by Tori Armbrust, and Satya Therapeutics, owned by Andres Met, have become the first people to receive a psilocybin manufacturer license from the Oregon Health Authority. Speaking to Doubleblind, Armbrust revealed that she plans to supply one center that will charge approximately $500 per session, but hopes to eventually have enough supply for two centers. However, at this time costs and prices are still uncertain.
The facility will manufacture magic mushrooms to supply future psilocybin service centers where individuals can safely receive the psychedelic under supervision.
Although there are research institutions authorized by the DEA to cultivate psilocybin mushrooms for research, the recent development in Oregon is groundbreaking because the license is granted at the state level for the general administration of psilocybin mushrooms to those who believe they could benefit from the psychedelic substance. This marks a noteworthy achievement for Oregon. The last time psilocybin mushrooms were legally available in a non-research setting was over 50 years ago.
Oregonians legalized the guided use of psilocybin via a 2020 ballot vote. Licenses for service centers and labs are expected to be issued soon. Licenses for labs where psilocybin mushrooms will be produced and service centers where psilocybin sessions will take place are expected to be issued soon, although it is unclear when the first legal trips will take place. Companies will first need to establish fully licensed operations, which could happen within the next few months.
There have been some challenges in implementing the psilocybin initiative in Oregon, however.
The graduation of the first cohort of students from approved psilocybin facilitator training programs is a significant milestone for Oregon. Over 100 would-be facilitators recently graduated from the InnerTrek program, which is just one of 22 certified training programs.
As a result, questions have been raised regarding the high number of facilitators compared to licensed service centers, with many wondering how facilitators are going to find placements and what kind of pay they can expect to receive for facilitating psilocybin sessions.
Business lawyer Vincent Sliwoski predicts that the number of facilitators will likely exceed that of service centers through 2023 at least and that facilitators may not receive much pay. According to Sliwoski, this may be worrying news for facilitators who paid upwards of $8,000 for training fees and another $2,000 for licensing.
Another potential issue may be the apparent shortage of laboratories for testing these psilocybin mushrooms. So far, only two laboratories have applied, one of which failed to complete its application. Sliwoski warns that this lab shortage could lead to problems, including testing delays, price inflation, testing integrity issues, and geographic access issues.
On the subject of access, over 100 cities in Oregon have imposed a two-year moratorium on the establishment of service centers within their jurisdictions. This could be a problem for those individuals seeking access to legally guided psilocybin sessions that live in one of the cities that have enacted a ban on service centers.
In addition to potential access issues, there is another concern surrounding the collection of personal data. Earlier this year, Senator Elizabeth Steiner introduced a bill to the Oregon state legislature that would require service centers to provide intimate personal data to a state database.
The bill has been controversial. Some have argued that providing this data is necessary in order to measure user demographics and how effective Oregon’s system of guided psilocybin sessions will be for them. On the other hand, some legal scholars have warned that this requirement could potentially compromise the privacy of psilocybin clients.
Overall, the legalization of guided psilocybin sessions in Oregon is a significant milestone in the use of psychedelics for beneficial purposes. However, it is important to note that the Oregon Health Authority program for legal psilocybin use may face some initial challenges, such as slow implementation and potential access issues for users, particularly those with socioeconomic or geographic limitations, while there are further concerns regarding lab scarcity and the high number of facilitators compared to licensed service centers.
It remains to be seen how the legalization of guided psilocybin sessions in Oregon will develop in the coming months and years.
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