Opinion by Dean Silver
The City Manager has placed an item on the agenda for the next City Council meeting (July 19) entitled “Measure 109 Psilocybin Two Year Moratorium Ordinance”. In it, “city staff recommends the City Council refer an ordinance to public vote for a two-year moratorium of the manufacture and sale of psilocybin products within the City of Ashland.”
I urge the City Council to reject any suggestion that Ashland should in any way inhibit the legal use, safe manufacture, delivery and sale of psilocybin products and provision of related services at this time.
Oregon has taken the lead in the country to explore this promising new field of medical treatment. Ashland has the opportunity to lead the state, as we have so many times in the past. This is an exciting field of cutting edge research and treatment that holds the potential for enormous good for many people. Psilocybin has the potential to help solve some of our country’s major health problems: opioid addiction and depression. Previous explorations have shown great promise.
We talk about encouraging new businesses and investment in the city. Let’s practice what we preach. Any moratorium or prohibition would be counterproductive and serve no purpose. The Oregon Health Authority is determining appropriate regulations. There is no need for Ashland to unilaterally and preemptively design its own regulations, or to doubt the ability of OHA to do the job. We do not know enough about these issues. Let us allow the experts to do their work.
Keep in mind that Measure 109 passed with 80.4% in favor, and only 19.6% opposed in Ashland. There is no need to relitigate the question. We have far more important issues to decide.
These suggestion from the League of Oregon Cities serve only to assuage the fears of the more conservative areas of the state. They have no place in Ashland. We are better than that.
Ashland citizens are compassionate, progressive, and intelligent. We have nothing to fear from this natural substance or its use. It could, on the contrary, be highly beneficial not only to many individuals, but to Ashland as a city in many ways.
Please tell your Councilors to reject this misguided recommendation from staff.