Five Things to Know Now About Oregon’s Psilocybin Therapy Program

In November 2020, Oregon voters approved Measure 109, the Oregon Psilocybin Services Act (the “Act”), which directs the Oregon Health Authority (“OHA”) to work with the Oregon Psilocybin Advisory Board (the “Board”) to formulate rules and regulations implementing the Act and the use of psilocybin services in Oregon by the end of 2022. While the program has largely been championed due to numerous medical studies illustrating the efficacy of psilocybin as a treatment for a myriad of mental health conditions, the program’s services will not be limited to those individuals who wish to use psilocybin for its medicinal benefits.

While OHA and the Board have only just begun their work, here are a few things that we know now that folks hoping to get in on the action may want to consider:

1. Residency Requirement and Limits on Licenses: Unlike Oregon’s cannabis program, the Act imposes residency requirements and limits the number of licenses an individual or legal entity may hold a financial interest in.

Hopeful licensees will need to have been Oregon residents for at least two (2) years prior to being issued a license. Similarly, for a business to hold a license, at least fifty percent (50%) of the business must be owned by Oregon residents.

Further, Section 21 of the Act limits an individual or business to one psilocybin product manufacturer license and a maximum of five psilocybin service center operator licenses. Vertical integration is allowed and an individual or legal entity may hold both a manufacturer license and a service center operator license at the same or different locations.

2. Service Based not Product Based: You aren’t going to have the opportunity to open up a psilocybin retail shop or dispensary because, unlike Oregon’s cannabis program, Oregon’s psilocybin program is service based rather than product based, meaning that all psilocybin must be consumed on-site at licensed service centers. Because the Act focuses on service rather than product, the Act contemplates four license types: 1) Product Manufacturer License; 2) Service Center Operator License; 3) Facilitator License; and 4) Testing Lab License. These license types may be broken down into further sub-categories as the Board and OHA flesh out the rules and regulations of Oregon’s psilocybin program.

3. 21 & Older: As with Oregon’s cannabis program, hopeful licensees and employees of Oregon’s psilocybin program must be at least 21 years of age.

4. OHA MUST Begin Taking License Applications by January 2, 2023: Section 13 of the Act requires that OHA shall begin receiving applications for all license types “on or before January 2, 2023”.

5. You may Want to Hold off on Buying Your Dream Psilocybin Manufacturing Facility, Service Center, or Testing Facility: While many may be angling to get ahead of the game and lock down property that fits within the Act’s guidelines as the site for their future psilocybin licenses, it is advisable to hold off on making any real estate purchases until the relevant city or county has established its zoning rules and regulations for the various types of psilocybin license sites. Buying property before all applicable rules and regulations have been established may leave you shelling out big bucks on property that cannot be used as the site for your psilocybin license(s).

Last but not least I’ll leave you with my lawyerly “bummer banner”—As with Oregon’s cannabis program, just because psilocybin will be legal under the Act in the State of Oregon, psilocybin is still very much illegal under federal law.

That being said, we have exciting things to look forward to here in Oregon! If you’re looking for advice on steps to take now to begin preparing for the psilocybin program or would like to know more about the program and the Act, please reach out to me at lindsey@gleamlaw.com.