The article Oregon’s Psilocybin Healing Centers: What You Need to Know was originally published on Microdose.
As we inch closer to the holidays and the new year, psychedelic medicine advocates are rapidly approaching their own celebration: the opening of Oregon’s legal psilocybin healing centers.
Despite first voting to legalize said healing centers — where any adult 21 or older will be able to receive psilocybin-assisted therapy — in 2020, it will not be until early 2023 when the first ones open in the beaver state.
Specifically, on January 2nd, 2023, the Oregon Health Authority will begin accepting applications for licenses from companies and other institutions that wish to set up a psilocybin healing center.
Though we don’t know exactly how long it will take for the first healing centers to be approved and set up shop after January 2nd, the process shouldn’t take more than a couple of months. Therefore, we should see the first healing centers providing psychedelic therapy with psilocybin by the end of the first quarter of 2023.
Yet it isn’t all good news for psychedelic advocates in Oregon.
To start, in the 2022 election, 27 counties and approximately 100 localities within Oregon held a follow-up vote to the 2020 referendum, asking if psilocybin therapy centers should be banned in their jurisdiction. Unfortunately, 25 of the 27 counties and many cities voted to not allow healing centers within their borders.
That means only 11 of the 36 counties in Oregon will allow psilocybin healing centers.
Some notable counties that voted against psilocybin healing centers include: Southern Oregon; Central Point; Eagle Point; Jacksonville; Rogue River; Shady Cove; and Cave Junction. Furthermore, four counties that had voted in favor of legalizing psilocybin healing centers in 2020 decided to abort, switching their votes to “no” in 2022. These were Clackamas, Clatsop, Curry, and Tillamook.
Meanwhile, Jackson and Deschutes were the only counties to affirmatively support having psilocybin therapy centers within their borders in the latest referendums.
This means that these two counties, along with the 9 that did not hold a second vote, will be the only areas within Oregon in which it is legal to set up a healing center. The nine counties that chose not to hold a vote are Lane, Benton, Lincoln, Wasco, Hood River, Multnomah, Yamhill, Washington, and Columbia.
Luckily, the question was not on the ballot in the four largest cities in the state: Portland, Salem, Eugene, or Bend. This means that healing centers will likely soon appear in all four.
Oregon psilocybin therapy: how much will it cost?
The next thorny question will be how expensive this treatment is. Everyone who wishes to undergo a psilocybin-assisted therapy session will be required to also have a preparation session, where they will get to know the therapist and learn what to expect in the psychedelic session. Between the preparation session and the 8 hour plus psychedelic session — no integration sessions are required — it is likely that the total cost could be well above $1000, pricing out many who may need the help the most.
Though, of course, we will have to wait and see how expensive the therapy is before getting upset over high prices.
Despite these moderating factors, Oregon is taking an extremely exciting step in the right direction when it comes to drug policy. After decriminalizing many drugs in 2020, giving people access to psilocybin-assisted therapy — even if it is expensive — is a huge step in the right direction.
Following in Oregon’s footsteps, in November of this year, Colorado voters decided to legalize psilocybin healing centers in a ballot initiative. While the bill was similar in many respects, it differed in one key area. While Oregon allowed their counties to hold their own referendums to opt-out of having healing centers, Colorado will not. Therefore, when the first psilocybin healing centers open in that state in several years, counties won’t have the option of opting out like is happening in Oregon.