Real Healing. Real Change.

Press

September 20, 2019

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

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Psilocybin Service Initiative of Oregon Begins Signature Drive for 2020 Ballot Measure

Top-Selling Brand of Natural Soap Announces Donation of $150,000 in Matching Funds

PORTLAND, OR – David Bronner, CEO of Dr. Bronner’s, family-owned maker of the top-selling natural brand of soap in North America, is in Portland today to join Tom and Sheri Eckert, local therapists and chief-petitioners of Oregon’s statewide ballot initiative to legalize psilocybin assisted therapy, as they welcome famed mycologist Paul Stamets and special guests for an event at the Newmark Theatre at 7:30 PM. At this sold-out event, The Psilocybin Service Initiative of Oregon (PSI 2020) will announce the beginning of the signature drive for the campaign and David Bronner will announce his company’s matching contribution of $150,000 to the initiative.  Psilocybin therapy has the potential to offer relief for the increasing number of Oregonians struggling with depression, anxiety, and addiction who have found little or no relief from pharmaceuticals. For more information, go to: http://psi-2020.org.

“The intent of the 2020 Psilocybin Service Initiative of Oregon is to advance a breakthrough therapeutic model currently being perfected in research settings at top universities around the world. The service model involves a sequence of facilitated sessions, including assessment and preparation, psilocybin administration, and post-therapy integration. We envision a community-based framework, where licensed providers, along with licensed producers of psilocybin mushrooms, blaze trails in Oregon in accordance with evolving practice standards,” explains Sheri Eckert, co-founder of the Oregon Psilocybin Society.

Highlights of the Oregon Psilocybin Services Act include:

  • Safety, practice, and ethical standards for trained and competent facilitators
  • Services open to anyone who is not medically contraindicated
  • An affordable framework outside the medical / pharma system
  • Establishment of an advisory board to work with state and federal officials
  • An extended development period so OHA can successfully roll out the program
  • Prohibition of cannabis-style branding and marketing of psilocybin products

“The Bronner family is no stranger to severe depression and anxiety. We share the frustration of most Americans that current treatments don’t work and that pharma drugs are a mere band-aid, often with terrible side effects.  We yearn for better solutions, and we firmly believe that the integration of psilocybin therapy, to which the FDA recently granted a special “breakthrough designation,” is crucial to healing epidemic rates of depression, anxiety, and addiction,” says David Bronner, Cosmic Engagement Officer (CEO) of Dr. Bronner’s. “This therapy enables people to process difficult and traumatic emotions and experiences, break destructive patterns of thought and behavior, and love, integrate and forgive themselves and each other. People connect to the deeper spiritual ground of their being and to the miraculous living natural world we are one with.  This therapy can also help people wake up to and grapple with the massive social and environmental problems we are facing,” continues Bronner.

 

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About The Psilocybin Service Initiative of Oregon (PSI 2020):

PSI 2020 is a ballot initiative campaign in support of passing Measure 34, the “Oregon Psilocybin Services Act,” which will legalize psilocybin assisted therapy in the state of Oregon. Psilocybin therapy has the potential to offer relief for the increasing number of Oregonians struggling with depression, anxiety, and addiction who have found little to no relief from pharmaceuticals or other treatments. A growing body of evidence demonstrates that psilocybin assisted therapy is safe and uniquely effective. This novel approach could help alleviate the mental health crisis in Oregon. Additionally, the measure would open doors for new research and create access to services for those interested in personal development. For more information, go to: http://psi-2020.org.

 

 

 

August 23rd, 2019

STATE OF THE CAMPAIGN

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Oregon’s ballot initiative campaign to legalize psilocybin assisted therapy has quietly strengthened. With a new ballot title on the way from the Attorney General, another chapter is culminating. Let’s clarify where we are, and how we got here.

Back in 2015, before psilocybin initiatives existed in this country, the Oregon Psilocybin Society set in motion a very big vision. It started with a website and a dream – one that few people believed was possible at the time.

We wanted to bring psilocybin assisted therapy above ground. We wanted to advance a modality capable of addressing the root causes of suffering. We wanted to penetrate the mental healthcare system and help address the mental health crisis here in Oregon.

We wanted to put psychedelic therapy on solid ground – surrounded by safety, best practices, and ethical standards, yet decidedly outside of the pharma-driven medical system.

And we wanted to reduce penalties for possession of usable amounts of psilocybin.

The goal was to bring real healing and real change to Oregon in 2020, using the ballot initiative. We drew up a detailed framework, worked with the Legislative Counsel, and ultimately submitted the first legislative language of its kind. We attained a Certified Ballot Title and began mobilizing volunteers.

We held inspiring events big and small, including a successful benefit at the Portland Art Museum earlier this year. Around that time, we were approached by Portland’s Emerge Law Group, who now serve as legal advisors to the campaign.

Emerge voiced some concerns with the text of the initiative. The concerns were unrelated to the therapeutic modality, which they supported wholeheartedly. The concerns had to do with what might happen if the measure passed. Dave Kopilak and his team wanted to make sure that the Oregon Health Authority, tasked with regulating a schedule I drug, could successfully roll out the proposed program and avoid legal interference.

Their points were valid and important, perhaps vital for long term success. But the thought of revising the language was hard to digest. It would mean starting the process over, including ballot titling and signature gathering. We were resistant.

During that timeframe we also connected with Dr. Bronner’s Magic Soaps – one of the great activist companies in the world. They had been tracking us for some time. We immediately clicked with David Bronner and Les Szabo, as well as their close confidante Graham Boyd of the Psychedelic Science Funders Collaborative. We began teleconferencing and strategizing. They too saw benefit in revising the language, for the same reasons as Emerge did.

With the clock ticking, and a potential rewrite in the works, we conveyed that we’d need some assurances of financial support to help knock out the required 112,200 valid petition signatures on time. David provided those assurances.

Meanwhile, we learned that the Drug Policy Alliance (DPA) is exploring possible ballot measures to decriminalize possession for personal use of all drugs in several states, including Oregon. We support their powerful vision of addressing drug use through a health approach instead of treating it as a criminal problem. So, we made up our minds. Rather than duplicate the same effort as DPA, we would produce a new and improved bill to legalize psilocybin assisted therapy and drop the decriminalization aspect.

We had our marching orders. We hunkered down with Emerge and teleconferenced with David and Graham, and, over the course of a couple months, we drafted the most complete and dialed-in revision imaginable to legalize psilocybin therapy – a unique, world-class document. Much of the content reflects the earlier version, only cleaner, including:

  • A framework for accessing psilocybin services
  • Safety, practice, and ethical standards
  • Services open to anyone who is not medically contraindicated
  • An affordable, community-based framework outside the medical / pharma system
  • Trained and competent facilitators (without requiring previous credentialing)
  • Use of organic materials (mushrooms), not just synthetic psilocybin

Other inclusions were either new or augmented the previous provisions, while addressing a variety of concerns from the community. Some new highlights include:

  • A strengthened Advisory Board, with directives to work with state and federal officials to create an environment of cooperation
  • An extended development period so that the OHA can successfully roll out the program
  • Prohibition of cannabis-style branding and marketing of psilocybin products
  • Iron-clad protections against big corporate influences, including limiting business entities to a single production facility of limited size, or maximum five service centers (no big chains)

In short, Measure 34 advances the same therapeutic modality and framework as its predecessor, but it’s a vastly stronger bill. It’s stronger because it better protects the original spirit of the initiative. It’s a “massive improvement,” according to our friend and advisor Paul Stamets. Check it out for yourself.

Did we mention that the new language makes it impossible for pharma and big corporations to overrun this emerging space? We think that’s worth repeating over and over, because disinformation is so rampant right now, often perpetuated by otherwise psychedelic friendly folks. We get it – social media banter is confusing, often divorced from reality… and, perhaps not surprisingly, there is a dedicated disinformation campaign being waged against us.

But let’s be very clear about this. The way we talk about this initiative has real implications for the future of mental healthcare. This is not a game. The current system is broken, and real lives are at stake. If you carelessly perpetuate disinformation about the Oregon campaign, you are, wittingly or not, doing the work of those who would deny psilocybin assisted therapy to those who are suffering and are desperately in need of help.

The truth is, this campaign is philosophically sound and very much on track, with firepower behind it… and for good reason. The impact of the Oregon Psilocybin Services Act will be magnitudes greater than anything seen in this nascent space. The horizon here in Oregon is unprecedented. All we need to do is stay on point.

We have impeccable legislative language and a ballot title forthcoming. We’ve got amazing allies. Soon we’ll hire General Counsel, appoint other key positions, and select a professional firm to collect 112,200 valid petition signatures, with the help of our awesome volunteers.

My friends, the dream of putting psilocybin assisted therapy on the statewide ballot is firmly within our shared grasp. Hallelujah. Let’s get it done!

 

With all sincerity and respect,

 

Tom & Sheri Eckert

Founders, Oregon Psilocybin Society

Directors, PSI 2020

Chief Petitioners, Oregon Psilocybin Services Act (Measure 34)

 

 

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Most recent press releases:

March 11th, 2019

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

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Oregon’s 2020 Psilocybin Service Initiative Raises $79,370

The Oregon Psilocybin Society and the PSI 2020 ballot initiative campaign raised $79,370 in support of legalizing access to psilocybin assisted therapy in Oregon. The fundraising effort came in association with a benefit gala held on March 3rd at the Portland Art Museum. The sold-out event brought together leading scientists, grassroots policy reformers, and local leaders of an evolving coalition.

Said Tom Eckert, who, with his wife Sheri, serves as Chief Petitioner of the ballot initiative: “I think the Benefit was a significant step for this campaign, not just financially but also because it started a conversation between different aspects of the movement. We are excited to see how this unfolds.”

The fundraising effort came after the release of polling numbers that showed a slim majority of Oregonians favoring the proposed legislation.

The Benefit was keynoted by Robin Carhart-Harris, who is the Head of Psychedelic Research at the Imperial College of London, and Mark Haden, who is the Executive Director of Canada’s Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS).

Said Chief Petitioner Sheri Eckert, “It was definitely a boost to have these great voices – who are now friends of ours and friends of the campaign – speak at a fundraising event for psychedelic policy reform in our home state. Oregon has become ground zero for what could be a worldwide psychedelic policy reform movement.”

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February 1st, 2019

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

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Oregon “Psilocybin Services” Ballot Measure Has Significant Support, Poll Shows

PORTLAND, Oregon – PSI 2020, a campaign committee in Oregon, has released scientific polling showing that Oregon voters are currently split on the Psilocybin Service Initiative of Oregon, a ballot initiative measure aiming to legalize access to psilocybin assisted therapy in 2020. The measure would also reduce penalties for the possession of psilocybin “magic” mushrooms. Participants in the survey, conducted by DHM Research, were given a clean look at the Certified Ballot Title (as it would appear on the ballot in 2020) and were then asked how they would vote if the election were held today. 47% voted in favor (“yes” or “leaning yes”). 46% were opposed (“no” or “leaning no”). 7% were undecided.

When the measure’s two primary elements were clarified, support was much higher. According to the poll, 64% of Oregon voters support lawful access to therapeutic psilocybin services. 55% support reducing existing criminal penalties for possessing psilocybin mushrooms.

“These early numbers show that the campaign is viable and the possibility of success is real,” says Tom Eckert, who, with his wife Sheri Eckert, co-founded the effort and serve as Chief Petitioners. “But we have our work cut out for us.”

Sheri Eckert adds, “Support rises significantly when people know what is actually in the measure, which means that educating the public is critical.”

According to the Eckerts, the campaign is focused on statewide signature canvassing (they need 112,200 valid signatures from Oregon voters by June of 2020) and educational outreach throughout 2019. “All of this takes money, so fundraising is key,” says Tom Eckert, noting that the Oregon Psilocybin Society – the educational arm of the campaign – is holding a benefit fundraiser at the Portland Art Museum on March 3rd. The Benefit includes dinner, special guests, and a keynote from Dr. Robin Carhart-Harris, Head of Psychedelic Research at the Imperial College of London.

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September 10, 2018

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

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Oregon “Psilocybin Services” Campaign to Announce Launch of 2020 Ballot Initiative

The Psilocybin Service Initiative of Oregon (PSI 2020), a ballot initiative campaign aiming to legalize access to psilocybin assisted therapy, is now gathering petition signatures for the 2020 ballot.

Chief petitioners and Portland-area psychotherapists Tom and Sheri Eckert will make the official public announcement at “Envision Oregon,” a sold-out event celebrating the science of psilocybin at the Newmark Theatre in Portland on Thursday, September 20, 2018. The Eckerts will open the event with an address in support of the initiative, followed by a lecture from renowned mycologist, author and inventor Paul Stamets. The event is presented by PSI 2020 in conjunction with the Portland Psychedelic Society.

“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” said Tom Eckert.

At the federal level, psilocybin is a Schedule I drug—meaning it has no accepted medical value or use—despite a growing body of scientific evidence showing safety and efficacy coming from research institutions like Johns Hopkins, New York University, the University of California at Los Angeles Medical Center and the Imperial College of London.

“To be clear, there’s no scientific basis for psilocybin’s continued inclusion on Schedule I,” says Angela Bacca, a strategist for the campaign. “It is imperative we change the law to match the reality and science because people are suffering who could otherwise benefit from this safe and uniquely effective service.”

“Oregon has one of the worst rates of mental illness in the country,” says Sheri Eckert. “Depression and addictions not only take a terrible human toll, but also represent the two biggest drags on our state economy. Oregon can turn this around by taking the lead on psilocybin.”

The Envision Oregon event featuring Paul Stamets sold out in less than a week, but there is limited press availability. For media passes or inquiries please contact the Eckerts at (971) 275-2590. Visit www.psi-2020.org to learn more about the ballot initiative campaign.

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