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Two separate drug-related measures pass in Oregon, make national news

The two measures are very different but their common denominator is they put Oregon on the national stage for innovative policies.

PORTLAND, Ore. — It's a good day in Oregon for supporters of Measure 109, the psilocybin therapy measure, and Measure 110, the drug decriminalization and addiction treatment measure.

They are very different drug-related measures that passed easily and made national news for being “firsts” in the nation. “It's all eyes and ears on Oregon in the coming months and years as we roll this program out,” said Sam Chapman, campaign manager for Measure 109.

Chapman says people from across the state voted for the mushroom therapy measure because they understood it's about a highly focused and supervised treatment for anxiety and depression.

“We're incredibly thrilled and humbled that Oregon made history by establishing the first-ever psilocybin therapy program in the country,” said Chapman.

As for Measure 110, supporters were feeling thankful to Oregonians for the win.

“My reaction is one of huge gratitude and a bit more emotional than I anticipated,” said Janie Gullickson.

Gullickson is executive director of the Mental Health and Addiction Association of Oregon, who understands addiction and recovery first hand. She supported the measure because it means many drug users will get treatment and not jail time.

Measure 110 removes criminal penalties for low-level drug possession charges and creates a lot more treatment help instead, paid for in large part by marijuana taxes raised by the state. If you look at the county by county breakdown, while it didn't win everywhere, it did get statewide support.

Gullickson isn’t surprised.

“In small-town Oregon, rural Oregon, frontier Oregon, people are still impacted greatly by addiction. Whether it's themselves, their family their friends or looking around at their coworkers or community.”

Others who led the Measure 110 crusade, say it's a more compassionate and effective way to help people.

“I think that starts here in Oregon, but Oregon can show the rest of the nation that we can lead by example and end harmful policies and implement better ones,” said former defense attorney Anthony Johnson, who along with Gullickson was Co-Chief Petitioner of the measure.

Looking forward, Measure 110 decriminalizes those drug offenses starting February 1, and supporters said they've done a lot of work to get the increased treatment going later on in 2021.

The psilocybin therapy measure will move more slowly. There is a two-year rules-making period, to develop the program.