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A chief advocate for marijuana reform in Congress is formally throwing his support behind an Oregon initiative to legalize psilocybin mushrooms for therapeutic purposes and is helping to raise money for the campaign.

In an email blast, Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) wrote on Monday said that he supports the measures “because it tackles an important issue in our community, mental health, and it does so in an innovative and responsible way.”

“Measure 109 gives Oregonians who suffer from depression and anxiety the opportunity to overcome their mental health challenges through a program designed for safety and support,” the congressman said. “It’s healthcare policy done right, and it will help thousands.”

“Measure 109 will offer hope in the form of a breakthrough treatment option in Oregon: psilocybin therapy. Research at America’s top universities shows that psilocybin therapy can help people suffering from depression, anxiety, and addiction. Developed with therapeutic and mental health experts, Measure 109 brings this treatment to Oregon through a licensed, research-based system that supports and protects those in urgent need.

One potential benefit is particularly encouraging to me. In Congress, I have worked hard to deliver better end-of-life care to all Americans. Studies are showing that psilocybin therapy can help address the profound end-of-life depression and anxiety that can come with a terminal diagnosis. Anyone who has had to confront that issue themselves or with a loved one understands how devastating it can be. Measure 109 is an opportunity to continue Oregon’s leadership on improving end-of-life care.”

Blumenauer first expressed support for the psilocybin initiative during an interview with Marijuana Moment in January. It’s a notable endorsement considering how few congressional lawmakers have backed psychedelics reform, despite a growing localized movement to decriminalize entheogenic substances in cities across the country.

Rep. Joe Kennedy III (D-MA), who previously stood opposed to marijuana reform but now supports legalization, recently said that he sees potential in the therapeutic benefits of psychedelics.

In the new email blast, Blumenauer said legalizing psilocybin therapy is “an important tool, and it deserves your support.”

“This Measure can win in November, it just needs the resources to educate voters about its benefits and protections,” he said. “To do that, the campaign needs resources.”

While the U.S. might be slow to pursue psychedelics reform at the federal level, the country’s neighbor up north appears more open minded to certain policy changes around the issue.

The Canadian government will have to officially respond to a petition calling for the decriminalization of psychedelics after it recently garnered nearly 15,000 signatures—and there’s legislation in the works that could make the reform happen.

Also in Canada, the health minister this month granted exceptions for four cancer patients to use psilocybin mushrooms for end-of-life care in a landmark decision.

Last year, a Canadian House of Commons committee similarly called for the government to decriminalize the simple possession of all drugs in an effort to address addiction as a public health issue.

In the U.S. last year, Denver became the first U.S. city to decriminalize psilocybin, with the approval of a local ballot measure. Soon after, officials in Oakland, California, decriminalized possession of all plant- and fungi-based psychedelics. The City Council in Santa Cruz, California, voted to make the enforcement of laws against psychedelics among the city’s lowest enforcement priorities in January.

A measure to effectively decriminalize a wide range of psychedelics has officially qualified for the November ballot in Washington, D.C.

The Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies announced last week that it has raised $30 million in donations—including from several notable business leaders outside the drug policy realm—that will enable it to complete a study on using MDMA to treat post-traumatic stress disorder.

Meanwhile, Oregon voters will also see a separate measure on their November ballots to decriminalize drug possession and fund treatment services.

Here’s the full text of Blumenauer’s message on the Oregon psilocybin initiative: 

“This is Congressman Earl Blumenauer and I am writing to encourage you to vote Yes on Measure 109, the psilocybin therapy measure. I support 109 because it tackles an important issue in our community, mental health, and it does so in an innovative and responsible way. Measure 109 gives Oregonians who suffer from depression and anxiety the opportunity to overcome their mental health challenges through a program designed for safety and support.

It’s healthcare policy done right, and it will help thousands.

As an Oregon legislator, a local government leader, and a United States Congressman, I’ve spent much of my public life advocating for better health care—from universal coverage, to better end of life care, to opening up research into the therapeutic benefits of medicines that have been unwisely blocked at the federal level.

Those same values are why I strongly support Ballot Measure 109 and hope you will join me in voting yes.

Measure 109 will offer hope in the form of a breakthrough treatment option in Oregon: psilocybin therapy. Research at America’s top universities shows that psilocybin therapy can help people suffering from depression, anxiety, and addiction. Developed with therapeutic and mental health experts, Measure 109 brings this treatment to Oregon through a licensed, research-based system that supports and protects those in urgent need.

One potential benefit is particularly encouraging to me. In Congress, I have worked hard to deliver better end-of-life care to all Americans. Studies are showing that psilocybin therapy can help address the profound end-of-life depression and anxiety that can come with a terminal diagnosis. Anyone who has had to confront that issue themselves or with a loved one understands how devastating it can be. Measure 109 is an opportunity to continue Oregon’s leadership on improving end-of-life care.

I also appreciate that Measure 109 was carefully and responsibly written by therapeutic and mental health experts, with extensive safeguards and oversight by the Oregon Health Authority.

Measure 109 is an important tool, and it deserves your support. This Measure can win in November, it just needs the resources to educate voters about its benefits and protections. To do that, the campaign needs resources. Contribute to Measure 109 today and help them reach voters with their message of healing.

Thank you in advance for your support—please be active on this measure—it can succeed with your help.

Best,

Rep. Earl Blumenauer”

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Photo courtesy of Wikimedia/Mushroom Observer.

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