Psilocybin Mushroom Permitting: What You Need to Know

Back in 2020, Oregon put the legalization of psilocybin – the chemical that puts the “magic” in “magic mushrooms” – on the ballot, and by 55.7% of the vote, became the first state to legalize psychedelic mushrooms. This immediately brings to mind 2014’s Measure 91, which legalized recreational cannabis in the state. However, the implementation of psilocybin will be different than cannabis. With cannabis, anyone over the age of 21 can go to a legal dispensary and purchase cannabis for personal use at home. Psilocybin will only be available in “service centers” and taken under the care of a trained “facilitator.”

Obviously, this means different licensing and permitting requirements for the psilocybin industry compared to the cannabis industry. Unfortunately, the regulatory framework for applications is not quite set in stone yet. The Oregon Health Authority and the Oregon Psilocybin Advisory Board adopted their final rules on December 27, 2022, and applications themselves opened in January 2023.

Entrepreneurs to start up psilocybin retreats and day clinics to attract both in-state clients and out-of-state psychedelic tourists. As such, it’s important to start understanding the application process now, so you can open up for business as soon as possible.

Growing psilocybin mushrooms and manufacturing psilocybin products have a separate application and license from owning and operating service centers, where clients ingest the psilocybin. While there are some difference in the specific requirements, both kinds of applications have crossover requirements:

  • The application requires information such as the name and address of the applicant, the location of the manufacturing or service center, fingerprints to check criminal history, and other such information.
  • The premise must have defined boundaries and cannot be mobile.
  • An individual can’t have financial interest in more than one manufacturer or more than five service centers.
  • An individual can hold multiple service center licenses, and have both a manufacturer and service center license.
  • An application must have a land use compatibility statement (LUCS) attached. The LUCS must first be submitted to the appropriate local (city or county) planning office for approval before being sent off with the psilocybin application.

The LUCS can be a confusing process. Usually, it’s as simple as submitting a single page form to the local government, who stamps it and sends it back. However, it can also involve a ton more paperwork and figuring out what other forms and applications are required by the local jurisdiction. Navigating the requirements of a jurisdiction can be complicated. The specific requirements for both manufacturing and service centers can further complicate the permit process.

Manufacturers must have “endorsements” which state which aspects of manufacturing a business is allowed to engage in. For example, one kind of endorsement would be for actually growing the mushrooms, while another kind of endorsement is for manufacturing edible psilocybin. One can have multiple endorsements, allowing for specialization or generalization. Likewise, a manufacturing license holder can request an endorsement at any time for no additional fee or application. Depending on the nature of the manufacturing going on, a manufacturer may have to apply for more permits. For instance, if making edible psilocybin products (i.e., mushroom chocolate), the premises must be licensed as a food establishment and follow the applicable rules.

Service centers are under stricter rules. They can’t be near a school, and those facilitating a client’s trip have to undergo a state-approved training program. Like with a manufacturing facility, a service center may have to apply for other permits. A retreat, for example, would have to have both a psilocybin license and follow any rules needed for hotels or resorts.

This whole process can become a confusing maze of paperwork and bureaucracy, getting in the way of working on a new business. Depending on the complexities of the project, hiring an experience land use lawyer is a smart investment. Instead of muddling through the permit process yourself, potentially leading to mistakes and rejection the application, a lawyer who is familiar with the permitting process can quickly get through the paperwork. Likewise, if an application is rejection, you have the right to appeal the decision and have a hearing. An experience lawyer is vital in that process.

The laws and regulations surrounding psilocybin are still brand new, and still be navigated. This can leave a business owner in the lurch. Having someone experienced in permitting and licensing can help prevent whiplash and keep your business on track.

Works Cited

  • Acker, Lizzy. “How soon will it be before Oregonians can access legal therapeutic psilocybin?” The Oregonian, 19 January 2022.
  • Harris, Michelle. “Is Oregon Ready for the Coming Psilocybin-Fueled Mushroom Tourism Boom?” Portland Monthly, 17 August 2022.
  • Oregon Administrative Rules 333-333.
  • Oregon Revised Statutes Chapter 475A.

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