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The west coast has taken on the role of leader for the rest of the country when it comes to dismantling the failed War on Drugs. California was the first state to legalize medical cannabis, and after Colorado legalized cannabis for adults, California, Oregon, and Washinton all quickly followed suit.
This time, it’s Oregon taking an impressive first step that mirrors efforts earlier this year in Denver, Colorado, and California. The Oregon Secretary of State has approved the language for a ballot initiative in the 2020 election. This ballot initiative will allow registered voters to determine whether or not Oregon should legalize the possession and use of psilocybin mushrooms and create a licensing program for people in the state to grow them.
Activists have been working towards this goal for some time in Oregon, and now, pending the collection of 117,578 signatures, it appears they will finally put the issue in front of the voters. However, it’s important to note that the signature gathering process is what ended the Californian psilocybin legalization effort, which also kept voters from Denver from getting to vote on this issue.
Considering how much evidence has accumulated in recent years about the potential of psilocybin and other psychedelics to aid in mental health care, it is likely that the existing, relatively broad base of support in Oregon for psilocybin legalization will only increase over the next two years.
Local activists in Oregon will almost certainly receive support from organizations like MAPS. MAPS, the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies, has been leading the way on establishing a medical use for psilocybin through research. By 2020, California and Denver may have already voted on psilocybin, and Oregon activists may have less of an uphill battle.
It is possible that state activists in Oregon will not be able to collect enough signatures. It is also possible that voters won’t be ready to pass this initiative in 2020. However, early cannabis legalization initiatives struggled to gain support in many markets. Simply receiving state approval for inclusion on the ballot is a major step forward. It shows how much progress our country has made regarding the War on Drugs.
While there is much work to be done, more people every day are realizing that prohibition doesn’t work. Others are discovering the medical benefits and uses of so-called Schedule I drugs that the government claims have no real medical use. As more people become more educated, policy changes and more ballot initiatives will come more quickly and pass more easily.
For previous Ladybud articles about psychedelics, click here.
Photo Credit: Mädi – Eigenes Werk via Wikimedia Commons under CC BY-SA 3.0