The headlines have been all about mushrooms, but that’s misleading when it comes to “psilocybin therapy,” a subject the Albany City Council wisely decided this week to leave alone.
Psilocybin is a psychedelic substance present in varying degrees in many kinds of mushrooms. From Wikipedia you learn that the type that has the most is called psilocybe cubensis, a skimpy little fungus that some people apparently call magic mushrooms.
But in therapy, you don’t eat mushroom pizza. You don’t ingest any “shrooms” at all. Instead, you swallow a capsule and then you lie down for six to eight hours with your eyes covered while a therapist keeps watch. This is supposed to have a calming effect. The hoped-for result is less anxiety and depression, and people who have done this say it works.
In November 2020, voters in Oregon approved Measure 109. This directed the Oregon Health Authority to authorize and regulate the manufacture of psilocybin and its use in therapy, starting in 2023.
The measure also authorized cities and counties to have another election on whether this should be allowed in their jurisdictions at all, or whether it should be banned for two years.
In Albany, Councilwoman Bessie Johnson wanted a two-year ban. But on Wednesday, none of the other members seconded her motion to adopt an ordinance to call the election that might achieve this.
As a result, there will be no second election in Albany on this topic, and no ban or two-year moratorium. The Oregon Health Authority’s regulations concerning psilocybin can be carried out within the city starting next year.
It’s hard to see why the council even considered getting involved.
If people over 21 want to ingest some substance and then contemplate their lives while lying down for hours at a time in hopes of feeling better – while paying for the privilege, presumably – why should anyone else care? (hh)