REASON.COM: "Oregon's Newly Legal Magic Mushroom Industry Could Be Strangled by Restrictive Zoning Regulations"
Local governments are considering rules that could force "psilocybin service centers" to locate near highways and go through expensive, discretionary permitting processes.
November 22, 2022 –
Magic mushrooms are starting to win the war on drugs in Oregon. Now comes the harder task of winning approval from local zoning officials.
Back in 2020, Beaver State voters passed the first-ever ballot initiative allowing adults 21 and up to consume psilocybin (the psychoactive ingredient in magic mushrooms) in special “psilocybin service centers” with a licensed “facilitator” present. Come January, the Oregon Health Authority will start accepting license applications for such centers.
To get ahead of the game, businesses have started acquiring rural properties that could serve as ideal mushroom retreat locations. Existing rural hospitality businesses have also expressed interest in expanding their operations to include psilocybin retreat services.
Many of these would-be operators are now running into a wall of local red tape.
The initiative that legalized magic mushroom businesses allows cities and counties to ban them via ballot initiative. Local governments also retain the power to craft “time, place, and manner” regulations over psilocybin businesses.
This past election, 25 of Oregon’s 36 counties voted to ban psilocybin businesses, including four that voted to legalize psilocybin in 2020. Only two counties that put the questions to voters, Deschutes and Jackson counties, kept these businesses legal.
And this week, those two counties will consider new land use regulations that could severely restrict where newly legal “psilocybin service centers” can set up shop.
That includes Silo Wellness. The Canada-headquartered company already operates one psilocybin retreat in Jamaica, and it plans to open another one on a 960-acre ranch in unincorporated Jackson County.
Mike Arnold, founder of Silo Wellness, has said the property is ideal for his business given its physical beauty and minimal investments needed to make it trip-ready.
But earlier this month, Jackson County’s planning commission almost axed that plan by proposing zoning regulations that would have restricted psilocybin businesses to the county’s handful of “general commercial” zoned properties adjacent to Interstate 5.
“Highway noise and sirens aren’t exactly the best setting for psychedelic therapy,” said Arnold in a statement.
Testimony from Arnold and other pro-psilocybin residents and aspiring entrepreneurs saw the planning commission reverse itself slightly, reported Oregon Business. Following a November 10 meeting, commissioners produce a revised ordinance that would allow psilocybin businesses as home occupations and in rural areas … [READ MORE]