A perspective from Oregon’s mid-Willamette Valley

It really wasn’t about actual mushrooms

Written August 12th, 2022 by Hasso Hering

As seen from the audience, Councilwoman Bessie Johnson at Wednesday’s Albany council meeting.

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)

7 responses to “It really wasn’t about actual mushrooms”

  1. Hartman says:

    As the application of non-standard substances threatens the profitability of Big Pharma, and as is well understood, Big Pharma maintains its stranglehold on American prescription drug sales by pouring a pile of cash into politicians up and down the food chain of office holders, perhaps we ought consider what level of influence these companies hold over Albany’s elected officialdom. In many instances, having even a single Pol in one’s pocket might just be the vote Big Pharma needs to protect its profits. As the Albany Favorite, Tucker Carlson says, “Just asking questions.”

    • Michael says:

      For someone “just asking questions” your comment was apparently crafted so that the reader knows what your belief is and what you believe that the reader should believe. Do you always force your opinion into others?

      • Hartman says:

        I never obfuscate the intent of my thinking. The fact that you understood what you seemed to believe is the “hidden meaning” of my post proves the point. As you understood my thoughts, it begs the question: where is there any “force” being applied in the original posting? No one forces anyone to read anything I or anyone else might have to say. Consequently, I am failing to understand your apprehension.

  2. Gordon L. Shadle says:

    Why would the Oregon Health Authority (I love the name) allow only one mushroom species, psilocybe cubenis, to be used?

    Apparently there are at least 200 different types of mushrooms that contain psilocybin.

    Doesn’t the OHA decision limit the potential benefits?

    Unlike Hartman I’m not worried about big Pharma and their “stranglehold” over “Albany’s elected officialdom”.

    It looks like the OHA has banned the chemical synthesis of psilocybin. That stops big Pharma from coming into Oregon with a cheap pill.

    I’m more worried that nobody is looking for the money trail that may lead back to the decision makers at OHA. Another example of America’s institutional breakdown.

  3. centrist says:

    is there a clearly explained basis for this?
    Tobacco never had this attention, but then, it had economic power.
    Alcohol , well , that didn’t work.
    “Abomination” roughly translates as ” not on the revealed list”. Might explain why some folks areHIGHLY opposed to some things.
    Think of this — the Biblican belief is based on things known and understood MANNNY years ago to peoples with limited ( but dedicated) exposure.
    There just might be more to the puzzle


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