Tag: Sam Chapman

The Oregon Psilocybin Advisory Board’s First Meeting is March 31st

While I found them extremely frustrating at times (okay, a lot of the time), it was an honor to participate on Oregon’s state advisory boards that made recommendations for both the medical dispensary and adult-use cannabis programs. It is a difficult task to educate state bureaucrats and policymakers when they lack experience or may even harbor ill-feelings toward the very subject at hand. On cannabis, the committees included prohibitionists who didn’t want cannabis legalized at all, making it hard to reach a consensus. And while legalization and regulation is certainly a better policy than prohibition, it’s hard not to lament how things could have been structured better, especially to benefit local small businesses and mom-and-pops. It’s a testament to a lot of hard work that a few craft cannabis boutiques like Kind Leaf have managed to survive and thrive.

From my experience, I don’t envy the members of the Oregon Psilocybin Advisory Board, who will help the Oregon Health Authority (OHA) develop rules for medical psilocybin mushrooms over the next two years. At least with cannabis, the OHA already had a registration system established for patients, caregivers, and growers. While not super supportive to say the least, OHA at least had some experience with cannabis since voters passed the Oregon Medical Marijuana Act back in 1998. Now, the state is starting from scratch with the first medical mushroom system in the nation, as The Portland Mercury reported:

That’s where the Oregon Health Authority’s (OHA) Oregon Psilocybin Advisory Board comes in. Made up of 17 Oregonians who are OHA officials, medical and legal professionals, academics, and advocates, the board is tasked with advising the OHA on how to regulate therapeutic psilocybin use. Its first meeting is Wednesday, March 31.

“The immediate first step [for the board] required by Measure 109 will be to compile all academic research on psilocybin therapy,” said Sam Chapman, Measure 109’s campaign manager. “This research will act as the foundation for the board’s work over the next two years.”

Chapman recently founded the Healing Advocacy Fund, a nonprofit that Chapman said aims to “ensure the measure’s implemented in ways that remain true to the measure that passed in November.” He said that on top of logistical concerns—regulating and labeling the actual substance, and setting safety standards for building codes—the main focus of both the advisory board and his organization will likely be figuring out how to make psilocybin therapy accessible for all Oregonians, “regardless of where they live or their ability to pay.”

If the establishment of the cannabis industry is any guide, one of the biggest challenges will be keeping licensing fees affordable and regulations limited so that smaller entities can compete and psilocybin can be available to patients battling poverty. While Oregon has the most affordable cannabis and cannabis products in the nation, and retailers like Kind Leaf provide discounts for registered OMMP patients, too many patients can be left behind, especially those on fixed incomes that can’t afford their complete medicine supply, especially if they need modalities such as full extract cannabis oil. If you are interested in keeping up on progress and helping keep psilocybin from being over regulated, so it can be accessible to the masses, I urge you to support the efforts of the Healing Advocacy Fund.

The OHA’s bulletin announcing the first meeting:

Oregon Psilocybin Advisory Board meets March 31

What: A public meeting of the Oregon Psilocybin Advisory Board.

Agenda: Opening remarks, purpose of board, update on the OHA Psilocybin Services Program and board tasks and assignments.

When: Wednesday, March 31, 1—4 p.m. No public comment period available.

Where: Via Zoom meeting: https://www.zoomgov.com/j/16051729334, meeting ID 160 5172 9334.

Established by Ballot Measure 109 (2020), the Oregon Psilocybin Advisory Board makes recommendations to OHA on available scientific studies and research on the safety and efficacy of psilocybin in treating mental health conditions, and makes recommendations on the requirements, specifications and guidelines for providing psilocybin services in Oregon.

The Board will also develop a long-term strategic plan for ensuring that psilocybin services will become and remain a safe, accessible and affordable therapeutic option for all persons 21 years of age and older in this state for whom psilocybin may be appropriate; and monitor and study federal laws, regulations and policies regarding psilocybin.

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Oregon Psilocybin Advisory Board Now Taking Applications

Oregon’s cannabis community set the stage for our great state to take the lead on eliminating the harms of the Drug War by laying the foundation for change decades ago. Oregon has either been first, or among the first states to pass a few important drug policy reforms, dating all the way back to 1973, when the Beaver State was the first to decriminalize personal amounts of cannabis. Fast forward to 2020, and not only has Oregon legalized cannabis, but has become the first state to vote to decriminalize personal possession of all drugs and legalize psilocybin treatment.

The monumental mushroom measure, Measure 109, won with a strong majority at the ballot box with a smart campaign that educated voters with research and moving testimonials, especially from veterans that have been helped by psilocybin. Additionally, 109 called for a deliberate approach where the Oregon Health Authority would have a full two years to develop regulations for the licensed psilocybin system where adults can seek supervised treatment from trained facilitators.

The Oregon Health Authority has started accepting applications. Marijuana Moment caught up with Measure 109 campaign manager Sam Chapman, who I am proud to call a friend and colleague: “This is the beginning of the two-year process to ensure that Oregon creates a safe, effective and equitable psilocybin therapy program that effectively addresses the needs of Oregonians who are suffering from depression and anxiety. I look forward to working with the governor, legislature and the Oregon Health Authority to ensure that the therapy is affordable and that those who need it have access.”

If you have what the Oregon Health Authority is looking for, I urge you to apply. It is important that our state regulators have input from everyday Oregonians. Today is another day that I’m reminded that I am so fortunate to live in Oregon.

From OHA’s website:

November 30, 2020

The Office of Governor Brown is seeking applicants for the Oregon Psilocybin Advisory Board.

Established by Ballot Measure 109 (2020), the Oregon Psilocybin Advisory Board makes recommendations to the Oregon Health Authority on available scientific studies and research on the safety and efficacy of psilocybin in treating mental health conditions, and makes recommendations on the requirements, specifications and guidelines for providing psilocybin services in Oregon.

OHA invites applications from people who meet the following criteria:

  • Local health officer.
  • Representative of a federally recognized Indian tribe.
  • Member of the OHA Addictions and Mental Health Planning and Advisory Council.
  • Member of the OHA Health Equity Policy Committee.
  • Member of the OHA Palliative Care and Quality of Life Interdisciplinary Advisory Council.
  • Individual who represents individuals who provide public health services.
  • Psychologist licensed under ORS chapter 675 who has professional experience engaging in the diagnosis or treatment of a mental, emotional, or behavioral condition.
  • Physician licensed under ORS chapter 677 who holds a degree of Doctor of Medicine.
  • Naturopathic physician licensed under ORS chapter 685.
  • Expert in the field of public health who has a background in academia.
  • Person who has professional experience conducting scientific research regarding the use of psychedelic compounds in clinical therapy.
  • Person who has experience in the field of mycology.
  • Person who has experience in the field of ethnobotany.
  • Person who has experience in the field of psychopharmacology.
  • Person who has experience in the field of psilocybin harm reduction.
  • Person representing the Oregon Liquor Control Commission who has experience working with the system developed and maintained by the commission under ORS 475B.177 for tracking the transfer of marijuana items.
  • Person representing the Oregon Department of Justice.
  • Member of the public.

To apply, submit the following documentation to executive.appointments@oregon.gov by Jan. 1, 2021:

  1. A completed executive appointment interest form, which is available on the Governor’s office website.
  2. A resume or brief biographical sketch.
  3. A brief statement of interest.

For more information, email oha.psilocybin@dhsoha.state.or.us or contact André Ourso, OHA Public Health Division, at 971-673-0404.

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