Oregon is gearing up for the first legal US psilocybin journeys outside of medical trials later this year: The state just licensed its first legal growers and facilitators, who graduated from approved training programs. The last time they were legally available in a non-research setting was over half a century ago.
The Oregon Health Authority announced earlier this month that Satori Farms, owned by Tori Armbrust, was the first to receive a manufacturer license. She welcomed the opening up of a legal medicinal market for magic mushrooms.
“It’s incredibly exciting,” Armbrust, a gourmet mushroom producer by trade, told DoubleBlind. “I’ve seen people go to extreme lengths to access [psilocybin], so it’s great we can provide it here. But the only way it will work over the next decade is if we make it accessible.”
“Many of the people who need it aren’t going to be able to afford insane amounts of money. I hope the service fees drop in the coming years.”
She’ll supply one center, which is aiming to charge $500 per session. The award of the license follows a 10-week bureaucratic process. Armbrust expects to spend about $20,000 per year in regulatory fees and associated costs—all incurred before she grows any psilocybin mushrooms.
“Nobody knows what the demand is going to be,” she added. But her goal is to have enough supply for two centers within two months. “We’re going to start small: costs and prices are all up in the air.”
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More than 200 license and worker permit applications have been filed to Oregon Psilocybin Services (OPS) since the process began in 2020. That year, Oregonians legalized the guided use of psilocybin via a 2020 ballot vote in November of the same year. Licenses for service centers and labs are expected to be issued soon.
“We congratulate Tori Armbrust of Satori Farms PDX LLC for being issued the first psilocybin license in Oregon’s history and for representing women leading the way for the emerging psilocybin ecosystem,” said OPS section manager Angie Allbee.
It is unclear when the first legal trips will take place, but it could be within a couple of months, once companies have established fully licensed operations.
Dave Naftalin, the Drop Thesis chief service center operator, hopes he may be able to open within 90 days. He was among the first to graduate from the first round of accelerated facilitator courses at the Changa Institute, which he said charged $9,500 for a 10-week fast-track course.
“I’ve been a psychedelic facilitator for a long time,” he told DoubleBlind. “It’s really nice to get its above board and make this medicine acceptable for everyone. Everyone deserves this and should have access. We’re just fortunate enough to be in a state that allows us to do that.”
Naftalin, whose organization also just received manufacturing approval, said the cost per center and for a state license was $12,000 a year. “The state and county have been incredibly supportive throughout this process,” he said. “They’ve been all for it. I couldn’t give them more praise.
“The most important thing for accessibility is to get psilocybin out of schedule one federally so healthcare can start covering it.”
Angie Allbee, OPS manager, told the Associated Press: “The graduation of the first cohort of students from approved psilocybin facilitator training programs is a significant milestone for Oregon. We congratulate Oregon’s future facilitators and the training programs they are graduating from on this incredible and historic moment in psilocybin history.”
However, it’s not been all plain sailing in the Pacific Northwest. Earlier this year, Synthesis Institute, which was reportedly training more than 200 prospective facilitators, went bankrupt. The program became unable to pay employees earlier this month—leaving students scrambling for refunds and alternative plans.
“People put their trust in Synthesis Institute to change their lives and their careers […] and Synthesis really just has ripped the rug out from under us for a lot of people,” Cori Sue Morris, a student, told Psychedelic Alpha.
Earlier this year, senator Elizabeth Steiner introduced a new bill to the Oregon state legislature that would require service centers to provide intimate personal data to a state database. It has divided opinion, with some arguing it is necessary to chart effectiveness and what demographics are accessing the system.
But Mason Marks, a legal scholar at Harvard Law School and FSU College of Law, has said that psychiatrists and doctors do not routinely send patient information to state agencies.
“The names and detailed information of every psilocybin client would be stored with OHA, where it would be an easy target for federal law enforcement, hackers, and others who might like to get their hands on the information,” he told Lucid News.
With many details still contested, the rollout could take longer than expected. But Armbrust spoke for many campaigners, farmers, facilitators and clients when she expressed her enthusiasm about the developments. “Hopefully, it’ll be available for everyone nationwide soon,” she added.