Oregon’s Journey: The Implementation of Ballot Measure 109, The Oregon Psilocybin Services Act

Oregon Psilocybin Services (OPS) is housed within the Oregon Health Authority Public Health Division’s Center for Health Protection and is working to implement Ballot Measure 109 (M109), the Oregon Psilocybin Services Act. M109 was passed in November 2020 by Oregon voters and is now codified in Oregon Revised Statutes (ORS 475A). M109 created a two-year development period from January 1, 2021, to December 31, 2022, in which OPS has been working to set up systems and processes for the licensing and regulation of psilocybin products and provision of psilocybin services. OPS will adopt all rules for the section by December 31, 2022, and will begin accepting applications for licenses on January 2, 2023. 

Under M109, a client 21 years of age or older may access psilocybin services. While no prescription or referral from a medical or clinical provider is necessary, a client will be required to complete a preparation session with a licensed facilitator before participating in an administration session. The client will only access psilocybin at a licensed service center during an administration session in the presence of a trained, licensed facilitator. An optional integration session will be made available to each client after an administration session. 

Oregon is the first state in the United States to implement and regulate legal psilocybin services. Implementing a regulatory framework that centers on client safety and access requires us to shift from a drug policy framework rooted in the War on Drugs to a health policy approach that holds promise for healing and wellness. To accomplish this, OPS is working to provide meaningful ways for community members to provide feedback on framework development, with an emphasis on engaging with historically underrepresented communities. This includes communicating in clear and timely ways, so community members can engage in the process and access information that meets their communication preferences. For public listening sessions and public hearings on rules, OPS provides Spanish and American Sign Language (ASL) interpretation as well as Communication Access Realtime Translation (CART) captioning. 

OPS has been working to introduce the M109 framework to community leaders, government partners, organizations, and members of the public who may not yet be aware that psilocybin services will soon be a new option in Oregon, while also working closely with partners that have experience and knowledge with psilocybin. We are faced with the challenge of building trust with communities that have not been well-served by government systems, as well as a focus on working within the statutory container of M109 that sets the boundaries for what we can or cannot do. From public listening sessions to community circles, we are listening and learning from the insights that community partners share. As we work to decrease barriers to access and create pathways into this new body of work, we understand that continuous evaluation and adjustment will be necessary. 

While affordability is important to ensure equitable access to services, OPS does not have the authority to regulate the costs of psilocybin products or services under M109. In addition, OPS is a fee-based section, which means the license fees must cover the costs of administering the work. OPS is committed to equitable licensure fees and will continuously review costs and trends over time to ensure sustainability of the section. OPS anticipates many more robust discussions with partners and the public, as well as subsequent recommendations from the Oregon Psilocybin Advisory Board to find ways to ensure access to psilocybin services within the statutory container of M109.  

Successful implementation also relies on support for licensees. While no additional funds are available for those seeking to be licensed under M109, OPS will provide an educational and technical assistance approach with our regulated community. To help support these small businesses in Oregon, OPS is partnering with the Oregon Secretary of State’s Office of Small Business Assistance to identify business support for future licensees. In addition, training will be provided to licensees after rules are adopted to support a successful launch of M109.

M109 creates additional opportunities for the workforce in Oregon, specifically for licensed facilitators from diverse backgrounds that may support the health of their communities through culturally responsive and equity-centered psilocybin services. Culturally responsive and equity-centered services may reduce harm to clients that have experienced trauma from societal structures that have exhibited control through power and privilege, implicit bias, and institutional racism. 

Over the past year, the OPS team has been working on many facets of implementation— establishing budget authority through the Oregon legislative process; hiring and training team members; developing the Training Program, Licensing, and Compliance (TLC) system for applicant tracking and case management; customizing a psilocybin spore-to-sale product tracking system; establishing safety, equity, and justice centered background checks within the agency’s Background Check Unit (BCU); developing section and program-specific policy and procedures; collaborating with state and local partners; creating opportunities for community partner and public engagement; and working with the Oregon Psilocybin Advisory Board on recommendations for draft rules. While there is much preparation for the January 2, 2023, date, there is also long-term planning work taking place. The team is working to align with agency and division priorities, and build section evaluation processes to measure this alignment. Currently, a team of six people, OPS will soon be welcoming new team members as it builds out the licensing and compliance teams. We are excited to build relationships and cultivate understanding as we move forward in the implementation process. 

Please join us in this journey by visiting the OPS website1. We encourage you to sign up for the OPS Distribution List2 and access important information, such as the Oregon Psilocybin Advisory Board Scientific Literature Review3, Revisión rápida de evidencia y recomendaciones del Consejo Consultor sobre la Psilocibina de Oregon4, the Oregon Psilocybin Services Community Interest Survey5, OPS Public Listening Sessions6, Administrative Rules7, and more. Stay tuned for more information! 

On a personal note, it is such an honor to be part of this movement. Prior to policy work in Oregon, I spent nearly a decade in the non-profit sector working with older adults, individuals experiencing disabilities, refugees, asylees, Veterans, and survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault. Those years taught me that healing is an essential part of experiencing a healthy, joyful life that every person should have access to. As manager of OPS, I have the opportunity of working with an incredible team of dedicated professionals as we open the door to a new option for healing and wellness in Oregon. My hope is that psilocybin services will lead to meaningful improvements in the health of our communities. 

With gratitude, 

Angie Allbee, OPS Section Manager & The Oregon Psilocybin Services Team


1Oregon Psilocybin Services. Oregon Health Authority : Oregon Psilocybin Services : Prevention and Wellness : State of Oregon. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.oregon.gov/oha/PH/PREVENTIONWELLNESS/Pages/Oregon-Psilocybin-Services.aspx 
2The Oregon Health Authority and Department of Human Services. Retrieved from https://public.govdelivery.com/accounts/ORDHS/subscriber/new?topic_id=ORDHS_932 
3 Oregon psilocybin – scientific literature review. Oregon Health Authority : Oregon Psilocybin – Scientific Literature Review : Prevention and Wellness : State of Oregon. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.oregon.gov/oha/PH/PREVENTIONWELLNESS/Pages/Psilocybin-Scientific-Literature-Review.aspx 
4Revisión rápida de evidencia y recomendaciones del Consejo Consultor sobre la Psilocibina de Oregon https://www.oregon.gov/oha/PH/PREVENTIONWELLNESS/Documents/Revisi%C3%B3n%20r%C3%A1pida%20de%20evidencia%20y%20recomendaciones%20del%20Consejo%20Consultor%20sobre%20la%20Psilocibina%20de%20Oregon%2C%207.30.21.pdf
5Oregon Psilocybin Services Section Community Interest Survey Findings: 2022 Report https://www.oregon.gov/oha/PH/PREVENTIONWELLNESS/Documents/OPS-Community-Interest-Survey-Findings-2022-Report-FINAL.pdf
6 Oregon psilocybin – public listening sessions. https://www.oregon.gov/oha/PH/PREVENTIONWELLNESS/Pages/Psilocybin-Public-Listening-Sessions.aspx 
7 Oregon Psilocybin – Administrative Rules https://www.oregon.gov/oha/PH/PREVENTIONWELLNESS/Pages/Psilocybin-Administrative-Rules.aspx

Angela Allbee joined the Oregon Health Authority Public Health Division as Oregon Psilocybin Services Section Manager after working to shape legislative policy for nearly a decade. After serving as Senior Policy Advisor for Oregon Health Authority Government Relations, she served in policy roles with the Oregon Department of Human Services, Oregon Criminal Justice Commission, Oregon House Majority Office, and Oregon Legislative Assembly. Prior to policy work in Oregon, Angela spent nearly a decade in the non-profit sector serving older adults, individuals experiencing disabilities, refugees, asylees, veterans, and survivors of domestic and sexual violence. She recently served on the Board of Advisors for the Voxapod Menstrual Equity Project and worked with community members in rural St. Thomas, Jamaica to secure infrastructure for water through the Access to Safe Drinking Water Project. Angie received her Executive Master of Public Administration degree from the Hatfield School of Government at Portland State University.