Oregon regulators have approved the nation’s first license for a psilocybin service center where people will be able to use the psychedelic in a supervised and facilitated environment.
The Oregon Health Authority (OHA) awarded the license to EPIC Healing Eugene. With this development, Oregon has now officially approved at least one license for each of the four business categories created by the state’s psilocybin law.
“This is such a historic moment as psilocybin services will soon become available in Oregon, and we appreciate the strong commitment to client safety and access as service center doors prepare to open,” Oregon Psilocybin Services (OPS) Section Manager Angie Allbee said in a press release.
The infrastructure for Oregon’s psilocybin services program has been coming together quickly in recent weeks, as the OHA moves to approve a variety of licenses and permits as the state moves to open the service centers.
Last month, OHA accepted the nation’s first state-licensed facilitators to administer psilocybin to adults at the regulated facilities, as well as a testing laboratory for the psychedelic. Regulators also approved the first-ever state-issued license for a psilocybin manufacturer in March.
The agency said that while it has now officially approved all four license types, “it may take time for licensees to set up operations.”
The Oregon Psilocybin Services (OPS) Section has issued the state’s first psilocybin service center license.
— OR Health Authority (@OHAOregon) May 6, 2023
“Each licensed service center, and the licensed facilitators who work for or with them, will set their own costs while managing their operations and communications,” OHA said.
Officials were tasked under the historic voter-approved initiative to begin issuing licenses for the manufacturing, testing and administering of psilocybin by January 2, 2023.
OHA has also approved 84 psilocybin worker permits so far. A total of 342 worker permit and license applications have been submitted to the state as of Friday.
The agency said that it “expects to issue more licenses and worker permits in the coming months.”
OPS has issued three manufacturer licenses, one laboratory license, five facilitator licenses, and 84 worker permits. OPS expects to issue more licenses and worker permits in the coming months.
But the implementation of the psilocybin initiative in Oregon hasn’t gone without hiccups.
There’s a major question about local access, for example, as more than 100 cities across the state have enacted two-year moratoriums or bans prohibiting the service centers from being established in their jurisdictions.
Also, the Netherlands-based Synthesis Institute that invested heavily in creating a training program for facilitators to administer psilocybin at the future centers recently disclosed that it ran out of funding.
The rulemaking process has proved contentious at times, too. Some advocates have raised concerns over the perception that regulators were prioritizing for-profit corporations to manage the psilocybin services program over community-based organizations and indigenous groups.
Meanwhile, the Oregon Psilocybin Advisory Board has promoted research into the therapeutic potential of the psychedelic. Members released an initial report in 2021 that looked into the science, and the board also approved a research team that year to develop a more comprehensive overview of the science, history and culture of psilocybin.
Two years after Oregon’s move to legalize psilocybin services, Colorado voters passed a ballot initiative to legalize a wide range of psychedelics while also providing regulated access to psilocybin.
On Tuesday, Colorado lawmakers sent a bill to the governor to create a regulatory framework for legal psychedelics under the voter-approved measure.
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These developments come amid a surge of legislative efforts to reform state laws governing psychedelic substances.
A California bill to legalize the possession of certain psychedelics and facilitated use of the substances is heading to the Senate floor under an accelerated process that is allowing it to skip further committee consideration.
The Minnesota House recently passed an omnibus health bill that contains provisions to create a psychedelics task force meant to prepare the state for possible legalization.
Last month, a Republican North Carolina lawmaker and a bipartisan group of cosponsors filed a bill to create a $5 million grant program to support research into the therapeutic potential of psilocybin and MDMA and to create a Breakthrough Therapies Research Advisory Board to oversee the effort.
A Washington State bill to promote research into psilocybin and create a pilot program to provide therapeutic access to the psychedelic for mental health treatment is heading to the governor’s desk following final approval in the Senate.
A Nevada Senate committee approved a revised bill last month that would create a new working group to study psychedelics and develop a plan to allow regulated access for therapeutic purposes.
The Hawaii Senate approved a bill last month to create an advisory council to look into possible regulations to provide access to federal “breakthrough therapies” like psilocybin and MDMA.
Meanwhile, National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) Director Nora Volkow told senators on Thursday that there is emerging evidence that psychedelics carry “significant potential” as therapeutic treatments for certain mental health conditions, and it’s a topic of “great interest” for researchers.
An analysis published in an American Medical Association journal last year concluded that a majority of states will legalize psychedelics by 2037, based on statistical modeling of policy trends.
A national poll published in March found that a majority of U.S. voters support legal access to psychedelics therapy and back federally decriminalizing substances like psilocybin and MDMA.
Photo courtesy of Wikimedia/Mushroom Observer.