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Madras, Culver and Jefferson County all move to put a permanent ban on the ballot

PHOTO COURTESY DRUG ENFORCEMENT ADMINISTRATION - The drug psilocybin is derived from certain types of mushrooms. This mushroom is called Psilocybe Mexicana.

Voters in Jefferson County and in the cities of Madras and Culver will vote in November whether they want psilocybin production and retail in their communities.

Jefferson County Commissioners voted before an empty audience to put an ordinance banning psilocybin on the November ballot at their July 27 meeting. "I'm surprised no one showed up to comment," said Commissioner Kelly Simmelink. "I've been approached by several people and for interviews on this issue."

Because no one gave testimony, commissioners opted to forego a second hearing on the topic and move directly to drafting the ordinance for the ballot.

"No matter what the testimony is, I'd lean toward letting the public decide," said Commissioner Wayne Fording.

While the statewide vote in 2020 favored psilocybin by 56% to 44%, Jefferson County voters soundly defeated the measure 59% against, 41% in favor.

"It did not pass in Jefferson County," said Fording. "I think it's something constituents should weigh in on."

The Madras City Council also opted for a complete ban over the option to ban medical psilocybin for two years.

City Attorney Jeremy Green advised the council this is their only opportunity to permanently ban medical psilocybin from the city.

"It appears if you want to go forward with the permanent ban, you've got one bite at the apple, which is right now."

Green indicated voters can repeal a permanent ban later, but a temporary ban would allow psilocybin in the county after two years.

The Culver City Council voted to put a permanent ban on the November ballot at their July 18 meeting.

The city of Metolius is holding a special meeting concerning psilocybin Monday, Aug. 8 at 6 p.m. at the Metolius Train Depot.

Psilocybin, derived from mushrooms, has shown promise in treating depression, specifically for people with post-traumatic stress disorder, or end-of-life depression.

The Food and Drug Administration calls psilocybin a break-through therapy, which expedites the process of developing and reviewing drugs.

However, psilocybin is illegal in most states and violates federal law. The Drug Enforcement Administration considers it a schedule I controlled substance with potential for abuse and no currently accepted medical use in treatment in the United States.

The psilocybin law, Ballot Measure 109, does not legalize recreational use, only psilocybin therapy in licensed centers.

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