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Governor appoints board to oversee Oregon's new psychedelic mushroom program

Oregon’s first-in-the-nation program to allow regulated, therapeutic use of psilocybin got underway Tuesday when Gov. Kate Brown announced the members of the Oregon Psilocybin Advisory Board.

The board will create the framework for the program outlined in Measure 109, which Oregon voters approved in November.

The board includes doctors, researchers, therapists and fungi experts, among others, according to a press release.

“Like many, I was initially skeptical when I first heard of Measure 109,” said Brown in the release. “But if we can help people suffering from PTSD, depression, trauma and addiction -- including veterans, cancer patients, and others -- supervised psilocybin therapy is a treatment worthy of further consideration.”

The measure allowed for a two-year implementation process that will begin when the board meets on March 31. According to the release, Brown’s recommended 2021-2023 budget includes $5.6 million for Measure 109 implementation.

The board will be tasked with creating a system that allows people 21 and older who pass a screening the opportunity to experience psychedelic mushrooms. That includes figuring out the licensing process for storing and administering the substance, which remains illegal on a national level.

Another measure that voters approved in November, Measure 110, will decriminalize possession of small amounts of drugs, including psilocybin.

“For decades Black, Indigenous, and Latinx people in Oregon and the United States have suffered disproportionate psychological trauma as a result of the ‘War on Drugs,’ a systemic phenomenon that continues to directly and negatively impact all determinants of health in these communities,” said Dr. Rachel Knox, co-founder for the Cannabis Health Equity Movement and chair of the Association for Cannabis Health Equity and Medicine, in the release.

“Ironically, this criminalized the use of plant substances with notable industrial, medical, and spiritual utility,” Knox said. “Psilocybin has been used in the healing and spiritual practices of Indigenous communities for a long time. Much of what we know about psilocybin comes from Indigenous knowledge, a fact that is too often overlooked.”

Here is the full list of board members:

Public Health Director Designee: Andre Ourso, OHA

State Health Officer Designee: Dr. Tom Jeanne, OHA

Oregon Health Policy Board Designee: Barb Hansen

State Employee w/ Public Health Expertise: Ali Hamade, OHA

Local Health Officer: Dr. Sarah Present, Clackamas City

Addictions Medicine Specialist: Kevin Fitts, Portland

Licensed Psychologist: Dr. Kimberley Golletz, Corvallis

Licensed Physician: Dr. Todd Korthius, OHSU

Academic Researcher: Dr. Mason Marks, Portland

Mycologist: Jessie Uehling, Oregon State University

Harm Reduction Specialist: Angela Carter, Portland

Psychopharmacologic Specialist: Dr. Atheir Abbas, OHSU

OLCC: Nathan Rix

Oregon DOJ: David Hart

Chief Petitioner Designee: Tom Eckert

Public: Stephanie Barrs, Bend

Public: Dr. Rachel Knox, Portland

Psilocybe cubensis, magic mushrooms