Election 2020: Oregon psilocybin and drug decriminalization initiatives guide

Published on July 29, 2020 · Last updated September 23, 2020
Oregon voters could break new ground in drug reform this November, as they will consider a measure to legalize the medical use of psilocybin, and a measure to decriminalize all drug possession. (Illustration: Joshua Titus for Leafly)

Measure 109, the Oregon Psilocybin Program Initiative

Read the full text of the proposal here: Oregon Psilocybin Program Initiative (Measure 109) (therapeutic use of psilocybin)

Measure 110, the Oregon Drug Addiction Treatment and Recovery Act

Read the full text of the proposal here: Oregon’s Drug Addiction Treatment and Recovery Act (Measure 110) (all-drug decriminalization and treatment)

Medical or recreational?


Measure 109 (psilocybin) would legalize the medical use of psilocybin under the care of a licensed facilitator.

Measure 110 (all-drug decrim) would decriminalize all drugs.

It’s unclear whether Measure 110, if passed, would make Measure 109 redundant, as Measure 110 would make possession of psilocybin no longer a criminal act.

What Measure 109 (legalize medical psilocybin) would do

Measure 109, the Oregon Psilocybin Program Initiative, would create a program and screening process for providing psilocybin to individuals 21 years of age or older. Consumption would be supervised by licensed ‘facilitators,’ and the program would exist under the purview of the Oregon Health Authority, as well as an advisory board of 14-16 individuals appointed by the governor. The measure requires a two-year development period for the Oregon Health Authority to lay out regulations for the program.

What Measure 110 (all-drug decrim) would do

Measure 110, Oregon’s Drug Addiction Treatment and Recovery Act is the first measure of its kind to reach a statewide ballot in the United States. It would remove criminal penalties for the personal, non-commercial possession of all drugs listed as Schedule I, II, III, or IV by the federal Controlled Substances Act. Possession of small quantities would be classified as a “violation” similar to a speeding ticket. Penalties would be a $100 fine and/or a health assessment at an addiction recovery center.

Measure 110 would also provide holistic, wide-reaching treatment to drug users, including housing and accessible consultations with social service providers. The proposed program would be funded almost exclusively through $100 million in annual cannabis tax revenue.

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Would sales be allowed and/or licensed?

Measure 109 (psilocybin): Yes. The Oregon Psilocybin Services Program would license and regulate producers, processors, delivery services and possession of psilocybin “exclusively for the administration of psilocybin services by licensed facilitators to qualified clients.’”

Measure 110 (drug decrim): No. Measure 110 removes drug possession as an arrestable offense. There are no provisions within the initiative to allow or regulate the sale of drugs. Measure 110 does not remove or invalidate the state’s current regulations regarding the manufacture and sale of alcohol and cannabis.

Would drugs be taxed?

Measure 109 (psilocybin): Yes. Medical psilocybin would be subject to a 15% excise tax.

Measure 110 (drug decrim): No. Because Measure 110 does not allow or regulate the legal sale of drugs aside from alcohol and cannabis, there are no new taxes involved.

What is psilocybin?

We defer to the experts at the Drug Policy Alliance (DPA), who have the most accurate information available:

Psilocybin is the main ingredient found in several types of psychoactive mushrooms, making it perhaps the best-known naturally-occurring psychedelic drug.

Although psilocybin is considered active at doses around 3-4 mg, a common dose used in clinical research settings ranges from 14-30 mg. Its effects on the brain are attributed to its active metabolite, psilocin.

Psilocybin is most commonly found in wild or homegrown mushrooms and sold either fresh or dried. The most popular species of psilocybin mushrooms is Psilocybe cubensis, which is usually taken orally either by eating dried caps and stems or steeped in hot water and drunk as a tea, with a common dose around 1-2.5 grams.

For more in-depth information, see this Psilocybin Mushrooms Fact Sheet published by DPA.

Leafly’s coverage of psilocybin and the medical uses of psychedelics includes these articles:

How to correctly pronounce “psilocybin”

“Silluh-SIGH-bin.” We’ll go with author Michael Pollan’s pronunciation in this YouTube clip:

What the latest polls say

  • Measure 109, psilocybin: In a Feb. 2019 poll, 64% of Oregon voters expressed support for lawful access to therapeutic psilocybin services. 55% supported reducing existing criminal penalties for possessing psilocybin mushrooms. (DHM Research poll, Feb. 2019)
  • Measure 110, all-drug decrim: Polling not yet available.

Initiative supporters

Measure 109, medical psilocybin legalization: 

  • Yes on 109
  • Oregon Psilocybin Society (Thomas and Sheri Eckert)
  • Sam Chapman, Yes on 109 campaign manager
  • Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D)
  • Dr. Bronner’s Soap Company

Measure 110, all-drug decrim: 

Initiative opponents

Measure 109, medical psilocybin legalization: 

Measure 110, all-drug decrim: 

  • Washington County District Attorney Kevin Barton
  • Oregon District Attorneys Association

5 things to know about Oregon’s Measure 109, medical psilocybin legalization

  • Health insurers will not be required to cover the cost of psilocybin.
  • The Oregon Health Authority must begin accepting applications for manufacturing, service centers, facilitator and testing licenses by Jan 2, 2023.
  • An individual applying for a license can be denied if they are found to be “not of good repute and moral character.”
  • An individual is prohibited from having a financial interest in more than one psilocybin product manufacturer or more than five psilocybin service center operators.
  • To become a licensed ‘facilitator,’ an applicant must pass an examination offered by the Oregon Health Authority at least twice a year.

5 things to know about Oregon’s Measure 110, the all-drug decrim measure

  • The measure requires the establishment and funding of ‘addiction recovery centers’ by October 1, 2021; they would provide drug users with triage, health assessments, treatment, recovery services and more.
  • Additionally, it requires the creation of a statewide temporary telephone Addiction Recovery Center by February 1 2021, which would be staffed 24/7/365.
  • Once treatment centers open, they will also be required to be staffed 24/7/365.
  • The initiative offers individuals caught with a drug the option to choose between a civil infraction punishable by a maximum $100 fine or a referral to a health service provider who can recommend further treatment.
  • An Oversight and Accountability Council, established for the purpose of “determining how funds will be distributed to grant applicants and to oversee the implementation of the Centers,” is required to be made up of qualified individuals representing an extensive list of professions and backgrounds, including physicians, individuals charged with possession of any of the substances decriminalized by the measure, people who have suffered from substance use disorder and individuals specializing in housing services for people with substance use disorders or a diagnosed mental health condition.

Quotes from advocates

Measure 109, medical psilocybin legalization: 

  • “A growing body of evidence demonstrates that psilocybin-assisted therapy is safe and uniquely effective. We think that this novel approach could help alleviate the mental health crisis here in Oregon by addressing costly epidemics like suicide, treatment-resistant depression and anxiety, PTSD, and addiction to drugs, alcohol, and nicotine. Additionally, the measure would open doors for new research, create access to services for those interested in personal development, and reduce penalties for common possession of psilocybin.” Oregon Psilocybin Society
  • “In times like these, we need accessible therapeutic options that can really impact people’s lives. That is what this initiative is all about. We’re honored by the support and faith that so many Oregonians have put into this effort and we’re excited to have made this leap towards qualification.” Sheri Eckert, Oregon Psilocybin Society

Measure 110, all-drug decriminalization: 

  • “Oregonians have always been early adopters of drug policies that shift the emphasis towards health and away from punishment. The idea behind this groundbreaking effort is simple: people suffering from addiction need help, not criminal punishments. Instead of arresting and jailing people for using drugs, the measure would fund a range of services to help people get their lives back on track.” Theshia Naidoo, managing director of criminal justice law and policy at Drug Policy Action
  • “Right now, Oregon is facing an addiction crisis that is not only destroying lives but also fueling many of our state’s most pressing problems, such as homelessness and poverty. Oregon ranks last in the country in access to drug addiction treatment for those who need it. The waitlists to get drug treatment can be too long, and in some rural counties, there is practically no treatment at all. But instead of providing people with the treatment they need, Oregon has recently cut it, reducing general fund money for drug addiction treatment by 89%. We need to do something soon. Every day we wait, more Oregonians need treatment and some die from overdose.” Yes on 110 campaign

Quotes from opponents

Measure 109, medical psilocybin legalization: 

  • “Decriminalize Nature Portland must express our strongest disappointment with the flip-flop in direction taken by the Oregon Psilocybin Society, who have abandoned their original intentions to pass statewide decriminalization in addition to a statewide therapy model. Their original initiative, IP-12, provided for sweeping penalty reduction and decriminalization; their new initiative, IP-34, is a “how-not-to” as it explicitly criminalizes psilocybin possession outside a therapy center.” – Decriminalize Nature Portland

Measure 110, all-drug decriminalization: 

  • “This is a terrible idea. It’s disconnected to what’s best for Oregonians. It will lead to increased crime and increased drug use.” – Washington County District Attorney Kevin Barton
  • “Funding a robust and effective treatment infrastructure is the essential first step toward helping those struggling with addiction. Existing treatment resources are not nearly sufficient to meet the already staggering need. Not only would decriminalization lead to an increase in supply, accessibility and users in all demographics (including our youth), it removes law enforcement as an essential partner in combating what is both a public safety and a public health problem.” Paige Clarkson, President of the Oregon District Attorneys Association

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Max Savage Levenson
Max Savage Levenson
Max Savage Levenson likely has the lowest cannabis tolerance of any writer on the cannabis beat. He also writes about music for Pitchfork, Bandcamp and other bespectacled folk. He co-hosts The Hash podcast. His dream interview is Tyler the Creator.
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