A November ballot measure could upend plans for a psilocybin retreat — so the company is hedging its bets
Silo Wellness, Oregon’s only publicly traded psychedelics company, announced plans Thursday for a joint venture that would allow the company to use a Southern Oregon ranch for psylocibin retreats.
In a Thursday-morning press release, Silo said it has executing a binding agreement with New Frontier Ranch, a 960-acre property in Jackson County east of Ashland. According to the release, the ranch could potentially accommodate hundreds of guests at a time in log cabins and campsites.
The venture is not set in stone, and could be upended by the results of November’s election.
Swings at the New Frontier Ranch. Credit: New Frontier Ranch
Next month Jackson County voters will vote on a ballot measure that would prohibit the establishment of psilocybin manufacturers and service center operators in unincorporated parts of the county.
Jackson County voters voted for Measure 109, which legalized the therapeutic use of psilocybin mushrooms, but the result was close, with just 51.19% of the county’s voters supporting the measure.
In the company’s press release, Silo Wellness founder and CEO Mike Arnold said psilocybin advocates are spending too much time addressing the merits of psychedelic therapy and not enough time focusing the potential revenue and operational impact psilocybin tourism could have on rural communities. The company already operates retreats in Jamaica.
“Based on the conversations we have had with local voters, the efficacy of mushrooms is not their point of contention. They are most worried about the impact on their neighborhoods,” Arnold said in the release. He added that Jackson County voters feel they have been “sold a bill of goods” with Oregon’s controlled substances ballot measures.
Arnold says rural residents have not seen the economic benefits promised by cannabis legalization beyond employment, since Oregon’s recreational cannabis ballot measure didn’t allow county governments to tax cannabis farms, only dispensaries.
He acknowledged rural voters’ frustrations with Measure 110, passed in 2020, which decriminalized possession of small quantities of hard drugs, including heroin and meth. The measure diverted funds from cannabis tax dollars toward drug rehabilitation programs, but the state drew criticism for being slow to distribute funds to eligible programs. (Last month the Oregon Health Authority announced that it has disbursed the first round of funding raised under the measure.)
Measure 110 has also been inaccurately characterized in national media as a full drug legalization measure.
“Since Oregon has been slow to implement the treatment that was promised in that ballot measure, many rural Oregonians believe they have suffered from increased crime resulting from the now more open and notorious use of hard drugs in their communities,” Arnold said.
The release also said Silo Wellness leaders are considering other locations for a retreat as it awaits the final psilocybin rules from the Oregon Health Authority and the outcome of the local Measure 109 opt-out elections. (Umatilla County voters will also decide on an opt-out law this fall.)
“Silo Wellness intends to be able to drive down the lodging costs for psychedelic retreats. New Frontier Ranch may allow us to significantly undercut some of the out-of-state competition who may come to Oregon with the goals to make huge margins on expensive retreats,” Arnold said in the release. “This is the people’s medicine and shouldn’t be held hostage in pharmacies or by out-of-state interests attempting to upsell Oregon’s natural beauty.”
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