HERMISTON — Although Oregon plans to make psilocybin legal statewide in 2023, Hermiston may be voting to prohibit the drug.
Hermiston City Council at its meeting Monday, July 11, discussed a ballot measure that would give Hermiston residents a vote on whether or not to make therapeutic psilocybin legal in town.
The ballot is in response to Measure 109, which Oregon voters passed in 2020 that allows those 21 and older to take psychedelic mushrooms in a therapeutic setting. Psilocybin still will not be available for retail sale.
With the measure, though, comes another option: Cities that do not want legal mushrooms can opt out in November 2022.
“This is basically a use it or lose it opt-out option,” Hermiston Planning Director Clint Spencer said to the council. “This is the one opportunity that we have to pass a prohibition otherwise it becomes legal effective Jan. 2.”
Spencer referenced the voting history of the city often during his presentation. Hermiston voted against marijuana legalization in 2015 and still prohibits the sale or distribution of medical and recreational marijuana in the city.
The council moved to discuss the psilocybin matter further. Hermiston Assistant City Manager Mark Morgan said all signs point toward the opt-out being on the ballot in November.
Umatilla County Board of Commissioners on July 6 voted to place a county law on the November general election ballot to ban psilocybin manufacturing and service centers.
In other council action, the council approved a supplemental budget to staff a city information technology department.
“IT can be viable if it’s turned into a quasi-enterprise,” Morgan said. “For the largest city government in the area, it makes sense. We can shop the service out to other areas.”
Morgan said Morrow County and Umatilla already have deals in place, and the July 11 meeting referenced Stanfield joining in.
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