PORTLAND, Ore., April 27, 2020 /PRNewswire/ -- Initiative Petition 34 (IP 34), the measure that would bring a licensed and supervised psilocybin therapy program to Oregon, announced today that the campaign had gathered more than 130,000 signed petitions. This positions IP 34, also known as the Psilocybin Therapy Initiative, as well on its way to a goal of 145,000 signatures needed to ensure IP 34 will qualify for the ballot in November.
The imminent signature-gathering deadline of July 2, however, comes at a particularly challenging time for the democratic process in Oregon and around the country, as COVID-19-related social distancing requirements have prevented campaigners from engaging in face-to-face conversations and other traditional in-person signature-gathering methods.
"Even before COVID-19 hit, Oregon was dealing with sky high rates of mental illness—which is why we started campaigning to advance this uniquely effective therapeutic option," said Tom Eckert, a psychotherapist and one of the two Chief Petitioners for IP 34. "The stressors associated with the pandemic will undoubtedly push those rates even higher, which further highlights the importance of this initiative. The pandemic also presents real challenges for our campaign in collecting the remaining signatures we need to make the ballot in November. Thankfully, our networks and supporters are energized and mobilizing—they understand what is at stake here, and we're counting on that enthusiasm to overcome the obstacles we face."
Rising to the challenge, IP 34 petitioners will use alternative outreach methods to attempt to gather the remaining petition signatures needed. These methods will require more diligence from voters than if they were asked for their signatures in person. Mail-in and online petitions, group video chat organizing calls, texting networks, social media communications, as well as old-fashioned phone calls will all be used instead of face-to-face in-person signature gathering. Petitioners are committed to getting the word out and encouraging voters to send in petitions despite the lengthier and more burdensome process.
"Qualifying for the November ballot will require a concerted effort from a broad base of volunteers and partners, as well as from Oregon voters who will have to step up and put a little more time in than would typically be necessary to sign this petition," said Sheri Eckert, Co-Chief Petitioner of IP 34 and a therapist. "We've been working for years to build a formidable coalition of healthcare professionals, veterans, and advocates of all kinds who believe that this psilocybin therapy initiative offers an important therapeutic option for many Oregonians and we will not let the current challenges discourage our efforts."
A broad-based consensus is emerging that sees IP 34 as a critical therapeutic option for Oregonians living with trauma, depression, and other mental health challenges, some of which have been caused or exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic. Various consequences of this pandemic—including prolonged isolation and confinement, unemployment, loss of loved ones, and uncertainty about the future—can pose mental health challenges for many, making access to licensed psilocybin therapy important now more than ever.
"The Oregon initiative is so critically important. It's time to create the structures within society for safely using psilocybin in a responsible manner for maximum benefit, as this is a uniquely powerful tool for healing," said famed mycologist Paul Stamets, who sits on IP 34's Advisory Board.
During this unprecedented time in Oregon electoral history, organizers of the Psilocybin Therapy Initiative are relying on the commitment of Oregon voters to assert their participation in the democratic process in new and creative ways. For more information on how voters can download and sign the IP 34 petition, visit: www.YesonIP34.org.
About IP 34
IP 34 will give those suffering from depression, anxiety and trauma a new treatment option by creating a licensed and supervised psilocybin-assisted therapy system. Rigorous studies at leading medical research institutions such as Johns Hopkins, UCLA, and NYU show that psilocybin therapy is uniquely effective in treating depression, anxiety, PTSD, and addition. This promising research has prompted experts in Oregon to advance IP 34 for the November 2020 ballot. IP 34 will create a licensed psilocybin therapy program so Oregonians in need have the best treatment options available.
SOURCE IP 34 Campaign