In November of 2020 Oregon passed Measure 109, which created the nation’s first licensing and regulatory framework for the production of psilocybin and the facilitation of psilocybin services, for adults 21 years of age or older. Measure 109, codified in ORS 475A, contemplates four license types that collectively form the first state-legal psilocybin program whereby trained facilitators can administer and oversee psilocybin services at licensed service centers. Interested parties and future applicants should, among other things, ensure they understand their eligibility to participate as licensees in the program, how to apply for a license and be familiar with the parameters within which they may operate in the future.
The regulatory framework is still being drafted, but the Oregon Health Authority (OHA) intends to adopt final rules to govern this emergent industry before accepting applications for licensure on January 2, 2023. In addition, there may be other requirements established by local municipalities and counties, for those who have not opted out of the program at this next election in November.
Our legal professionals are keeping abreast of the regulatory developments to ensure we are well-positioned to help you navigate through this highly regulated industry. Whether you are interested in training facilitators, starting a psilocybin manufacturing business, or opening a service center, we are here to guide you through the application and licensing process.
The manufacture, distribution, sale, purchase, acquisition, administration, use, or possession of psilocybin, which is listed in Schedule 1 of the Controlled Substances Act (CSA), is unlawful under federal law. Even though such activity will be permitted in limited circumstances under Oregon’s new psilocybin licensing system, federal law trumps any conflicting state law under the Supremacy Clause to the United States Constitution, and we are obligated to inform you that participation in Oregon’s psilocybin licensing program will constitute a violation of federal law subject to federal criminal prosecution. Legal ethics opinions in numerous jurisdictions have established that attorneys may advise clients on compliance with state commercial cannabis licensing laws, even though cannabis, like psilocybin, is a Schedule 1 substance banned under federal law, as long as attorneys advise clients of the federal illegality, and do not take steps to help clients conceal legal violations. Based upon these authorities, we have concluded that it is ethical and appropriate to advise clients on compliance with Oregon’s psilocybin licensing program if we inform clients of the relevant federal laws and do not take any steps to assist in concealing illegal conduct.