Oregon marijuana raid, Schedule I research recommendations and psilocybin make news

click to enlarge Some in Washington state would like patients to have the "right to try" psilocybin.
Some in Washington state would like patients to have the "right to try" psilocybin.

Last Thursday, Sept. 2, was a rather busy news day in the cannabis and drug policy space, around our region and nationally. Here are three big stories you might have missed.

DRUG RAID IN OREGON

The Deschutes County Sheriff's Office in Central Oregon concluded a long-term investigation with the raid of a large, illegal cannabis grow operation just outside Bend last week. The sheriff's office said in a statement that the operation had nearly 50 greenhouses, nearly 3,000 pounds of processed cannabis and more than 9,000 individual plants.

The sheriff alleges that a Mexican cartel is behind the operation and was using migrant workers at the site as a source of involuntary labor. This is not the first cartel-affiliated cannabis grow operation to be busted in recent months. Officials in California seized $1.19 billion in cartel-grown cannabis this past July.

WHITE HOUSE EYES RESEARCH

The White House Office of National Drug Control Policy presented to Congress recommendations on, well, drug control policy last week. Mostly focused on fentanyl, a synthetic opioid considerably stronger and more dangerous than heroin, the recommendations also concern cannabis. Specifically, research into cannabis and other substances listed in Schedule I of the Controlled Substances Act.

The office is asking Congress to simplify the process researchers must follow in order to legally study substances listed in Schedule I. "The Biden-Harris Administration strongly supports expanding the research of Schedule I substances to help advance evidence-based public policy," the statement says.

PSILOCYBIN ON THE NINTH CIRCUIT

Psilocybin, the active chemical in most psychedelic mushrooms, was on the docket for the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals last week. Lawyers from the Seattle-based Advanced Integrative Medical Science Institute, along with Washington Deputy Solicitor General Peter Gonick, argued that terminally ill patients should have access to psilocybin under so-called "right to try" laws. Those laws allow terminally ill patients access to treatments that are experimental or not fully approved. Washington is one of 41 states to have a right-to-try law on its books.

Interest in psilocybin therapy has grown in recent years. Last fall Oregon voters passed a ballot measure legalizing psilocybin mushrooms in regulated, therapeutic settings. Psilocybin has shown promise in treating anxiety and depression, two issues often seen in terminally ill patients.

The court did not rule on the case at that time. ♦

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