On Election Day in 2020, Oregonians voted to make some dramatic changes to our state’s drug laws. Measure 109, which passed with 56% of the vote, legalized the medicinal, therapeutic use of psychedelic mushrooms, also known as psilocybin.
A few cities across the country had taken similar steps in recent years, but Oregon became the first state to do so. This move comes in the wake of Oregon’s successful move to decriminalize cannabis. Attorney Michael R. Hughes was at the forefront of the movement to legalize and commercialize cannabis products and is well-positioned to assist psilocybin growers, retailers, investors, medical practitioners, and users with their legal needs.
History Repeats Itself
Psilocybin has a rich and storied history. In the Tassili Plateau in Saharan Algeria, cave rock drawings dating from 10,000 BC include pictures of psychedelic mushrooms. Similar drawings have been found throughout Europe, some of them over 6,000 years old.
In the Americas, the famous Mayan ‘Mushroom stones’ — dancing figures wearing mushroom caps — were carved sometime between 1000 and 500 BC. Early Spanish explorers documented the ritual and spiritual use of mushrooms before attempting to stamp it out. While use was diminished, mycelium is resilient.
An uptick in interest in psilocybin during the counterculture movement of the 1960s and 70s inspired the government to crack down on its use. Today, psilocybin is classified as a Schedule I substance under the Controlled Substances Act. Schedule I drugs, which include heroin and LSD, have a high potential for abuse and serve no legitimate medical purpose in the United States.
Criminalization cut off scholarly research on psilocybin. It is only in the last few years, as the public has grown weary of the “war on drugs” and policymakers have pushed for a way to end opioid abuse, that serious research on psilocybin has resumed.
Preliminary research suggests psilocybin, which according to the DOJ is not addictive and has no documented, negative, long-term side effects, deserves a second look by medical practitioners and policymakers. If you feel like you have heard this story before, it’s because this mirrors the history of cannabis.
Attorney Michael R. Hughes, who is also a hemp farmer, has been an advocate for the reexamination of laws regulating substances, like cannabis and other illegal intoxicants his entire life. He has raced to keep pace with changes in the cannabis industry, providing advice and counsel to advocates, growers, retailers, and users in Oregon and across the country. His experience in the cannabis industry is an asset as he helps those interested in psilocybin walk the same path.
Psilocybin Is Still A Schedule I Drug
Psilocybin is a Schedule I drug. This means it is a federal crime to possess, use, or attempt to sell psychedelic mushrooms. In November 2020, Oregonians voted to legalize the medicinal, therapeutic use of psilocybin in a therapeutic setting. The tension between these conflicting laws is something anyone who wants to use, administer, produce, or invest in psilocybin is going to have to navigate.
Those of us in the cannabis industry have been threading this needle for years. As a producer, and as the attorney for many in the industry, Michael R. Hughes is familiar with the careful steps one must take to respect complex and at times conflicting local, state and federal rules and laws.
Hughes draws on his business savvy, political connections, and criminal defense skills to craft legal solutions for those in the cannabis industry. He is putting this same skill set to work for those involved with the psilocybin industry.
Emerging Regulatory Landscape for Psilocybin
Over the next few years, as policymakers craft a system for regulating the use of psilocybin, Attorney Michael R. Hughes will advocate for common-sense measures that benefit more than just the bureaucrats.
He has been working with the Cannabis Law Section of the Oregon State Bar as a founding member. As part of this work the section has just received approval to encompass Psilocybin and rename themselves the Cannabis and Psychedelics Law Section of the Oregon State Bar.
As psilocybin regulations are implemented, those in the industry can rely on Hughes to help them comply with the law. His experience in the cannabis industry means he knows how to take advantage of Oregon’s policies — even when they conflict with federal law — while minimizing legal risk and boosting public acceptance and profitability.
Growing With the Industry
As the Oregon cannabis industry has grown and changed, Attorney Hughes has helped lead the way forward. Both his law practice and his farm have adapted as policy changes have altered the legal landscape. Hughes’ focus on the future has allowed him to stay a step or two ahead, and his clients have benefited from his foresight and preparation as much as his hard work.
The psilocybin industry is following a similar path. Until uncertainty and risk are reduced, growers, retailers, investors, medical practitioners, and users need an attorney they can count on to help them find a way forward, and bail them out of trouble when they stumble.
An Attorney Who Understands Your Side
Voting to legalize the medicinal, therapeutic use of psychedelic mushrooms was just the first step. Attorney Michael R. Hughes is ready to help growers, retailers, investors, medical practitioners, and users in Oregon and throughout the nation navigate the path forward.
Hughes provides comprehensive legal and psilocybin business consulting services on matters as varied as land use, zoning, and water rights; to banking; to criminal defense. He has the business savvy, political connections, and legal knowledge to represent you, no matter what your role in the psilocybin world. Reach out today to schedule an initial consultation.