A One-Year Update on Oregon’s Legal Psilocybin Program

It’s been over one year since Oregon’s first psilocybin therapy license was approved, and updated news reports are sharing that there aren’t enough customers to go around.

Vital Reset, owned by Heidi Venture, told the Oregon Capital Chronicle that it’s just a matter of time for people to become aware of the opportunity. “We think everybody knows that psychedelics can help them because we’re in this little bubble. But 99% of people have no idea what they could get out of a journey,” Venture said.

The Psilocybin Assisted Therapy Association hosted a one-day conference in May, called “Collaborence,” which was held in Portland, Oregon. Venture, along with more than 100 local psilocybin business owners, gathered together to attend panel discussions on the topic of the mental health crisis both in Oregon and throughout the country. Panelists also spoke about the current issues of their businesses, but also the benefits that they saw their patients.

Voters passed Measure 109 in November 2020, making Oregon the first state to legalize licensed psilocybin treatment centers. The first license was approved in May 2023 for EPIC Healing Eugene, which opened just a month later in June 2023. As of last September, there were 10 licensed service centers (not all of which were operational at the time, as well as four growers, and two lab testing facilities.

Between June 2023-December 2023, an estimated 700 people had taken part in an experience at a psilocybin treatment center. Between June 2023-June 2024, approximately 3,500 people have taken part in a psilocybin therapy session throughout the state’s 25 licensed centers. According to the Healing Advocacy Fund, a nonprofit organization that prioritizes safe and affordable psilocybin access, projects that the number of people who will take part in psilocybin therapy will increase to 7,000 by the end of 2024.

However, in March 2024, one licensed center called The Journey was already forced to shut down due to lack of customers. “I’ve absolutely loved doing this,” said founder Jenna Kluwe. “The numbers just weren’t where they needed to be.”

Commenting on the recent closure, Satori Farms PDX owner Tori Armbrust explained her concern for the Oregon psilocybin industry. “Unfortunately we’ve seen one service center close down. I imagine there will be more, because very quickly it’s going to get over-saturated,” Armbrust said, adding that competition will increase in 2025 when out-of-state businesses will be allowed to open psilocybin therapy centers in Oregon. “Overall, marketing seems to be a big challenge. But places are doing well, and there’s product going out to a lot of people,” Armbrust said.

Chariot owner Courtney Campbell said that her business isn’t profiting, but a reliable number of customers are keeping them in business. 

The Entheogen Institute, which trains students to be licensed facilitators, graduated about 70 people within the last year. However, institute owner Coeli Dwivedi told the Oregon Capital Chronicle that she has only had one paycheck. “I’m looking forward to having a real salary as well,” Dwivedi said.

Many therapy center operators are trying to bring in new customers through discounts, but are limited by rules that prevent psilocybin services from being advertised online. Oregon state law requires that a licensee can’t advertise through TV, radio, billboards, print media, or internet unless they can prove that the ads won’t reach more than 30% of an audience that is under 21. Due to these restrictions, psilocybin centers are primarily focusing on word of mouth and open houses to allow curious customers to learn more.

Facilitators are also running into problems where there aren’t enough openings to allow all of them to work. Currently, there are 325 licensed facilitators in Oregon, but some are finding their own clients and conducting facilitation illegally in homes or in Airbnb rentals. Facilitator Marlin Hofer said that he carries business cards around wherever he goes to promote the opportunity.

Another facilitator, Matthew Wissler, added that he would make his services free for low-income people in need, but Oregon’s law mainly attracts tourists or out-of-state or out-of-country patients instead.

Many service center operators are just pushing through the challenges in hopes that the future will bring more success. “If we just hang in there, stay positive, it will evolve into something we can all be proud of,” said Brain Brew PDX owner Mary Nielsen.

Recently, Gov. Tina Kotek signed Senate Bill 303 into law, which requires psilocybin service centers to collect and submit data to the Oregon Health Authority (OHA). The law is expected to take effect sometime in 2025 in an attempt to collect information about exact numbers of clients served, numbers of those who refused service, total numbers of adverse or severe reactions, and dosing averages, according to an Oregon Public Broadcasting report. “It’s important to remember that our administrative rules are a minimal requirement, and they’re not the best practices,” said OHA Psilocybin Services head Angela Allbee. “They’re there to create guidelines and protect public health and safety, and protect equity and access. It’s up to licensees to create best practices and inform us, so we can evaluate every year.”

The post A One-Year Update on Oregon’s Legal Psilocybin Program first appeared on High Times.


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