Commissioners heard from several people Wednesday during a public hearing session about the use of psilocybin mushrooms and what that could look like in Deschutes County.
Voters approved the Oregon Psilocybin Services Act, legalizing supervised psychedelic mushroom use statewide in November 2020.
Now counties and cities are trying to figure out what that might look like.
Measure 109 Permits licensed service providers to administer psilocybin-producing mushroom products to those 21 years of age or older.
With more than 2 million votes on the measure in Oregon, it passed with more than 55% in favor of the drug.
Deschutes County Commissioners heard several testimonies in support of the use of psilocybin mushrooms.
“You support our communities by allowing psilocybin therapy to be used as a much needed tool in that mental health toolbox,” said co-owner of an outpatient practice group in Sunriver Joe Zeimentz said. “Our residents here really need as many resources as possible.”
Commissioners heard from a variety of speakers from psychologists, to veterans speaking from their own experiences, to those who help run mental health clinics.
“Psilocybin holds out the possibility of new and impactful treatment that can lead to long term changes in mental health in a relatively short time without long term maintenance therapies,” said psychologist Ray Gertler.
“This type of treatment is saving lives. I’ve been on the receiving end of it and access to it is very important,” said Terrebonne veteran Jeff Labowski.
“We have these patients that are very open to the experience and are very well read on it and they understand that this is sort of the next revolution in psychiatric medicine,” said Nurse Practitioner and Clinical Director at Evolve Health in Bend Allison Jones.
Commissioners will decide on July 20 if they will adopt ordinances that prohibit issuing service center and manufacturer licenses.
If that happens, it must be approved by voters during the next general election.
If the ordinance does not pass in the general election, the Oregon psilocybin services will continue to issue licenses.
“The rest of the world is sort of watching us and how we do this and I think that it is important that we do it well,” said Jones.