Crook County drafting similar ordinance, sets hearing; Jefferson County not yet decided
BEND, Ore. (KTVZ) — The new psilocybin program gearing up in Oregon has been a heavy topic of debate as of late. As supporters of regulated psilocybin production share its benefits for those struggling with mental illness, giving voters the choice, under Measure 109, to “opt out” of the ordinance will prevent its use.
Deschutes County commissioners decided Wednesday to put the proposal on the November ballot, allowing voters’ to determine whether psilocybin production and treatment will be banned in rural areas of the county. They and others have expressed concern about how the details of land-use rules will work out, as state regulations are still being fleshed out, just months before the January start of the program.
In a 2-1 vote Wednesday morning, Commissioner Phil Chang voted against voters being sent the “opt out” measure, while commissioners Patti Adair and Tony DeBone voted in support.
Overwhelming support for psilocybin use at a recent county hearing centered around testimony from several veterans challenged with post-traumatic stress disorder, expressing how psilocybin improves their state of well-being. Commissioners also heard from doctors who support the drug’s efficacy for treatment.
Crook County officials decided this week to draft a similar ordinance, in advance of a hearing set for Aug. 3. The Jefferson County clerk said they’ve have quite crossed that bridge yet, and there’s still discussion to be had on how to move forward.
NewsChannel21’s Bola Gbadebo plans to speak with Deschutes County commissioners to find out more about what influenced their voting decisions, and how this will impact the public moving forward.
Her report will be on KTVZ at 5.
Here’s a release from a group supporting the psilocybin program, reacting to Deschutes County’s decision:
Statement from Sam Chapman of the Healing Advocacy Fund Following Deschutes County Decision on Psilocybin Therapy
“We are disappointed at the Deschutes County Commission decision today to ignore the will of the voters and block access to psilocybin therapy. Deschutes County voters expressed their support of psilocybin therapy when Measure 109 passed in the county two years ago. Despite the promising results of psilocybin therapy in studies from leading universities across the country, County Commissioners, as the Local Mental Health Authority, have voted to delay and even block a therapeutic option to address depression and end-of-life anxiety. The truth is that veterans, terminally ill Oregonians and others who can benefit from psilocybin therapy will suffer because of this decision.
The Commission voted 2-1 to send the opt-out referral to the voters, and we thank Commissioner Phil Chang for his advocacy to increase mental health access in unincorporated Deschutes County.”
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