In a sigh of relief for Oregon’s burgeoning psilocybin industry both Deschutes and Jackson County voters shot down local psilocybin opt-out measures. Both counties are potential hot spots for psilocybin service centers and retreats. Several counties and local municipalities in Oregon did however vote to ban psilocybin businesses in their jurisdiction, which is unsurprising as these localities voted heavily against Ballot Measure 109.
According to Oregon Public Broadcasting, counties voting in favor of opt-out measures include: Coos, Curry, Douglas, Klamath and Josephine. The following counties did not refer opt-out measures to local voters, and thereby automatically enrolled into the Measure 109 program: Benton, Columbia, Hood River, Lane, Lincoln, Multnomah, Wasco, Washington, and Yamhill.
The result from Jackson County is a major victory for several well-known and capitalized psilocybin ventures that secured real estate prior to the opt-out election results. Several municipalities within Jackson County however did approve their own local bans or moratoriums, which includes Central Point, Eagle Point, Jacksonville, Rogue River, and Shady Cove. Accordingly, even if your proposed business is not located in an opt-out county, you must ensure that there is not a ban at the municipal level if you plan on opening a business within city limits.
Stay Apprised of TPM Restrictions
Even if your proposed business location is not located within an opt-out jurisdiction, you must remember that local governments are still working to develop local time, place, manner (TPM) regulations for psilocybin businesses. Most local governments will likely not promulgate psilocybin specific land use and zoning regulations until after the Oregon Health Authority (OHA) finalizes their administrative rules at the end of the year.
Psilocybin businesses as part of their license application to OHA must include a land use compatibility statement (LUCS) from their local jurisdiction confirming that the siting of the proposed business allowable as a permitted or conditional use within the zoning designation where the land is located. This creates a gray area for how localities will regulate psilocybin businesses in the time between the opening of license applications at the beginning of 2023 and finalization of local TPM regulations.
Until promulgation of psilocybin specific TPM restrictions, many local governments will likely regulate psilocybin business the same way they regulate businesses “similar in nature.” This was the proposal discussed at a recent meeting of the Multnomah County Planning Commission. A memo from the meeting explains that psilocybin production and processing facilities could be regulated the same as agricultural and farm processing establishments, and that psilocybin service center and testing sites could be regulated as professional service businesses.
The election results give some clarity to where psilocybin businesses can open shop in Oregon. Prospective entrepreneurs must however keep a look out for local TPM regulations and should be wary of investing in real estate until there is certainty that the proposed location will receive LUCS approval from the local government.