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Oregon Attorney General Approves Psilocybin Ballot Measure Language
By Kyle Jaeger - Marijuana Moment
  Saturday December 1, 2018 - 6:25 AM
 
Oregon officials have certified the ballot title for a proposal to let licensed medical professionals administer psilocybin, the main active ingredient in psychedelic mushrooms, for therapeutic purposes. If approved by voters, the state would be the first in the U.S. to allow legal use of the substance, marking a major milestone in the drug policy reform movement.

The title certification is the final step before the campaign is able to start collecting signatures to qualify the measure for the November 2020 ballot. In a newsletter announcing the certification on Monday, the Oregon Psilocybin Society (OPS) said it had to "fight for neutral and accurate wording" from the state attorney general's office, but that the group is now "generally satisfied with the final wording" for the summary of the measure, which would also reduce criminal penalties for psilocybin-related offenses.

There will be a short waiting period before the campaign can obtain the forms to collect signatures. But once they have them, it'll be all hands on deck. The group needs to collect about 140,000 valid signatures from registered voters to qualify for the ballot.

At this point it's not clear where Oregonians stand on psilocybin, but OPS contracted a research firm to survey voters on the issue, with findings expected to be released late next month.

While much of the drug reform movement has focused on marijuana legalization in recent years, there's a smaller but growing call from advocates to loosen restrictions on psilocybin. Studies indicate that the compound can be benefit to people with certain mental health conditions such as depression and addiction.

The Oregon measure, called the Psilocybin Service Initiative, would establish a new program through the state Health Authority that would authorize licensed facilitators to produce, process, deliver, possess and administer psilocybin in a clinical setting. It would also reduce most criminal penalties for unlicensed psilocybin activities.

Here's the official ballot title as approved by the Oregon attorney general:

Via OPS.

"We're excited to gather signatures in support of establishing a community-based service framework, in which licensed providers, along with licensed producers of psilocybin mushrooms, can blaze new trails in Oregon in accordance with evolving practice standards," OPS co-founder Tom Eckert said in a September press release.

A campaign based in Denver is also hoping to get psilocybin decriminalized locally. City officials cleared the initiative in October, and organizers have until January 7 to collect about 4,700 signatures to qualify for the ballot. In California, a similar measure failed to qualify for the 2018 statewide ballot.

Photo courtesy of Wikimedia/Mädi.

RELATED TOPICS:FEATURED UP NEXTBernie Sanders Blasts Marijuana Prohibition In New Book DON'T MISSNew Jersey Lawmakers Approve Marijuana Legalization Kyle Jaeger Kyle Jaeger is Marijuana Moment's Los Angeles-based associate editor. His work has also appeared in High Times, VICE and attn.YOU MAY LIKE Sessions blocks another cannabis vote—this one on 280E (Newsletter: Nov. 29, 2018)

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Oregon psilocybin ballot measure language approved (Newsletter: Nov. 28, 2018)

POLITICSPete Sessions And Republicans Block Another Marijuana AmendmentPublished 3 hours ago on November 29, 2018 By Tom Angell Anti-marijuana Rep. Pete Sessions (R-TX) may have lost his reelection bid in the midterms, but for another few weeks he still has the power to prevent cannabis amendments from advancing as chairman of the House Rules Committee—and that's just what he did on Wednesday.

This time, Sessions, who has overseen the blockage of more than three dozen separate cannabis-related proposals from even being considered on the House floor during the 115th Congress, shot down an amendment to ensure tax fairness for legal cannabis businesses.

The measure, filed by Rep. Jared Polis (D-CO), who is also leaving Capitol Hill soon after winning an election earlier this month to be Colorado's next governor, would scale back the reach of the federal tax provision known as 280E.

Originally enacted in the 1980s, the policy was meant to stop drug cartel leaders writing off yachts and expensive cars from their tax returns. But today its plain language means that growers, processors and sellers of marijuana—still a Schedule I substance under federal law—cannot take business expense deductions that are available to operators in other sectors, even if they fully comply with state law. As a result, they are forced to pay effective tax rates that can approach 70 percent.

Polis's amendment, which he was seeking to attach to a broader package of tax reforms being pushed by Republicans, would have amended the provision so that it would not apply to any "trade or business [that] consists of marijuana sales conducted in compliance with State law."

But in a move that has come to be seen as expected for cannabis measures over the past several years, the Rules Committee refused to make the amendment "in order" and clear its path for a vote by the full House.

Legalization supporters are optimistic about their chances of getting 280E and other marijuana reforms to the House floor soon, though. In addition to Sessions losing his fight for reelection, the Democrats won control of the chamber in the midterms.

And Rep. James McGovern (D-MA), the incoming Rules Committee chairman, has already pledged that he will allow marijuana amendments to be considered by the full body when he takes over the panel's gavel in January.

CONTINUE READING POLITICSNew Michigan Bills Would Help People Convicted Of Marijuana OffensesPublished 16 hours ago on November 28, 2018 By Kyle Jaeger Michigan lawmakers have introduced two new pieces of legislation that would help people convicted of marijuana-related offenses get out of prison and clear their records.

The bills were filed in both the state Senate and House on Tuesday.

The House proposal would "provide for the release of prisoners convicted of certain offenses from imprisonment"—namely those convicted for the "use, possession or distribution" of marijuana—and also establish a system through which those incarcerated for cannabis-related offenses can appeal their convictions.

On the Senate side, separate legislation would enable individuals convicted for certain marijuana offenses to get their records "set aside," according to the bill text.

That bill states that the change to Michigan's penal code would only apply "if the Michigan Regulation and Taxation of Marihuana Act is not approved by a majority of the qualified electors of this state voting on the question at an election to be held on the November regular election date in 2018." Which, of course, it did pass—56-44 percent.

The newly proposed legislation comes just days before Michigan's adult-use cannabis system goes into effect on December 6.

— Marijuana Moment is currently tracking more than 900 cannabis bills in state legislatures and Congress. Patreon supporters pledging at least $25/month get access to our interactive maps, charts and hearing calendar so they don't miss any developments.

Learn more about our marijuana bill tracker and become a supporter on Patreon to get access. —

Michigan Governor-elect Gretchen Whitmer (D) has also talked about the need to free and expunge the records of people who've been convicted of offenses that have been legalized under state law. She's said that she would support legislation to that effect, or accomplish it through executive action.

"I think that the people of Michigan have said that for conduct that would now be legal, no one should bear a lifelong record for that conduct," Whitmer said shortly after the midterm elections.

Photo courtesy of Nicholas C. Morton.

CONTINUE READING POLITICSBrazilian Lawmakers Approve Medical Marijuana BillPublished 19 hours ago on November 28, 2018 By Kyle Jaeger A key Senate committee in Brazil approved a bill to allow the use and cultivation of marijuana for medical purposes on Wednesday.

The measure, which was brought about in response to an online citizen-led petition that received about 119,000 votes, would remove criminal penalties for growing, possessing and consuming cannabis for patients who receive prescriptions from doctors.

Senado Federal ? @SenadoFederal Comissão de Assuntos Sociais aprova descriminalização do cultivo da cannabis para uso pessoal terapêutico (PLS 514/2017). Medida segue para Comissão de Constituição e Justiça.

183 8:28 PM - Nov 28, 2018 Twitter Ads info and privacy 78 people are talking about this Twitter Ads info and privacy The Senate's Social Affairs Committee signed off on the legislation, but before the full Senate gets to vote, it will also have to pass in the Commission on Constitution and Justice. Then, if the Senate does approve the bill, it must be reviewed by the Chamber of Deputies.

Of course, even if the bill does make its way past all legislative hurdles, it could face another hurdle: Brazil's president-elect, Jair Bolsonaro, who is against legalization and has pledged to enforce harsh anti-drug laws.

You can read the initial text of the legislation (in Portuguese) here:

Brazil decriminalization bill by Marijuana Moment on Scribd

In a letter expressing support for the bill, Sen. Marta Suplicy (MDB-SP) said evidence demonstrates that cannabis can effectively treat a wide range of conditions—from pain to epilepsy—and she stressed the importance of taking the issue seriously.

"We cannot relegate the issue to mere political discussion," she said, according to a translation. "More than anything, we need to empathize and put ourselves in the place of the other. In this way we can, as legislators, defend the true essence of health care, which is to mitigate human suffering."

Brazil loosened its marijuana laws in 2006, but possession is still punishable by community service and participation in a drug education program, regardless of whether cannabis is used for therapeutic purposes.

Separately, the leader of Brazil's Workers' Party in the lower House chamber introduced a bill earlier this year that would fully legalize cannabis in the country. That legislation would establish a commercial marijuana market and allow individuals to grow up to six plants for personal use.

"We're excited to gather signatures in support of establishing a community-based service framework, in which licensed providers, along with licensed producers of psilocybin mushrooms, can blaze new trails in Oregon in accordance with evolving practice standards," OPS co-founder Tom Eckert said in a September press release.

A campaign based in Denver is also hoping to get psilocybin decriminalized locally. City officials cleared the initiative in October, and organizers have until January 7 to collect about 4,700 signatures to qualify for the ballot. In California, a similar measure failed to qualify for the 2018 statewide ballot.

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