Taking a Look at Oregon’s System, Adults Dosing at Consumption Lounges.
The hallucinogenic, schedule one controlled substance psilocybin, aka magic mushrooms, has been decriminalized in a handful of municipalities around the country, including Detroit and Ann Arbor. The entire state of Washington has removed criminal penalties as well. But so far, only Oregon has legalized them for recreational adult use. In November of 2020, Oregon Measure 109 was passed ($55%). This measure legalized the manufacture, delivery and administration of Psilocybin mushrooms, pursuant to rules of the Oregon Health Authority (OHA). Oregon will be the first recreational mushroom state, and the proposed rules that define what the program will look like are fascinating.
Consumption of the Mushrooms Must be at a Licensed Administration Area
Mushrooms will not be available for package sale in the same way that marijuana and alcohol are. Instead, they will be purchased, distributed and used by adults only at specially designated consumption establishments called Client Administration Areas. The drug will be consumed by the client during the administration session.
The Administration area must be an appropriate and comfortable setting for clients to experience the effects of consuming psilocybin products. They must be free of any conditions or objects that could pose a risk to the clients while under the influence. These guidelines reference what the facility looks and feels like: operators of such a facility might pay special attention to the inclusion of music, videos, furniture, and aesthetically pleasing decor in their administration area.
There is a minimum length of time that a user must remain on-site, which depends upon the size of the administered dose. For instance, if a client receives a dose between 35 mg and 50 mg (the largest dose allowed) the session will last a minimum of six hours. On the other hand, if the dose is between 5mg and 10 mg, the minimum session length is one hour.
A service center may host sessions for groups of up to 25 clients at any given time, regardless of whether they came in as a group or individual.
There are, of course, a lot of rules. For instance, a client cannot leave with any mushrooms, and the area cannot operate in the same location as a marijuana or liquor facility. Administration sessions can be video recorded, with client consent.
All Sessions Must be Guided By a Facilitator
A licensed facilitator is an individual licensed by the OHA who shall monitor the entire session, as well as prepare the client for administration. Facilitation means the provision of services to a client by a licensed facilitator during the preparation, administration or integration session. They must be present at all times during an administration session and shall continuously monitor any client participating in the session. There is a facilitator-to-client ratio, which depends upon the amount of the drug consumed. For clients consuming between 40mg to 50 mg (the maximum dose), the facilitator-to-client ratio is 1 to 1. For clients consuming up to 5 mg, the minimum facilitator-to-client ratio is 1 to 16. Facilitators must complete 120 hours of education and pass an exam that tests their knowledge about the administration and effects of psilocybin, adverse reactions, cultural equity, health equity, intervention, facilitative touch and responsible referral and support.
A facilitator has a duty to put a client’s interest above their own. They must not engage in dishonest conduct or make any misrepresentations to their clients, and they must be able to recognize the typical side effects of consuming psilocybin and medical emergencies.
There Must be A User Preparation Session
In preparation for the session, clients must fill out a form which discloses information that is important to have on hand during the session, including health information, their relationship with the facilitator, and whether any assistance may be necessary. Clients must also sign a waiver and informed consent documents, review a transportation plan following the session, and review and sign a Client Bill of Rights which explains that include they will be free from physical, sexual, psychological and financial abuse before during and after the session. All users must agree to stay in the service administration area.
A Transportation Plan Must Be Prepared For the User to Get Home Safely
The facilitator must create a transportation plan for every client, which the client must sign and agree to. This plan will describe how the client will access safe transportation from the service center at the conclusion of the administration session.
“Supportive Touch” is Permissible From a Facilitator
Facilitators may provide “supportive touch” during a session with prior written consent which is placing their hands on a client’s hand or shoulder. A facilitator shall not use any other forms of touch. They must not engage in any romantic relationships, sexual contacts or sexual intimacy with clients, a client’s partner or immediate family member for a period of one year following the last administration session in which they participate. They may not engage in any financial transaction, except for the payment of the administration services rendered.
Outdoor Administration is Permissible
An outdoor area is allowed as long as it is free from any falling hazards, drowning hazards and any other condition that could pose a safety risk to clients. The client must consume the drug inside and they must have the opportunity to return into an indoor setting should they wish to move indoors during the session.
How to Obtain a License in Oregon
The license application process is similar to obtaining a commercial marijuana license. Applicants will undergo extensive background checks, and social equity plans are mandated. To obtain a license, at least 50% of the ownership must be an Oregon resident(s) (until 2025). The license fee is $10,000.00.
Because Psilocybin is a schedule one controlled substance, the federal implications and prohibitions are similar. For instance, they will be subject to IRS Code 280e which will prohibit the deduction of most business expenses. Banking will still be a big problem. Regarding fees, there does not appear to be any limit on the amount permitted to be charged to clients. It will be very interesting to see how the fees are set.
When are Legal Psychedelic Mushrooms Coming To Michigan?
The legalization of psychedelic mushrooms looks as though it will follow a path similar to marijuana. First, the substance will be decriminalized, then legalized shortly thereafter. It is important to consider that there is no medical use or authorization for homegrown mushrooms, at least in Oregon – but Michigan was an early adopter of both medical and recreational marijuana. Mushrooms will most likely come in the form of another ballot initiative, perhaps as early as the November 2024 presidential election. I am on board to assist with that movement, just as I did with recreational marijuana. We have seen from the spread of marijuana legalization that other states will copy and perhaps slightly deviate from rules where they believe it is appropriate. Michigan’s legalization plan may end up looking different than Oregon’s, but it will certainly be interesting to observe how state regulators make the rules.