NAMI Endorses Measure 108

NAMI Oregon announces that it endorses Measure 108, which would increases taxes on tobacco and introduce a tax on vape products. Proceeds will fund continued Medicaid expansion in Oregon, which is among NAMI’s top policy priorities. We urge members and allies to vote yes on Measure 108.

We’ve been asked by a number of people and organizations where we stand on three ballot measures this election that impact our population. Because of this, we’re providing the following summary on all three measures.

It is rare that NAMI Oregon takes a position on a ballot measure. For us to declare a position, a ballot measure must clearly impact individuals and families living with mental illness. And the measure must clearly provide a benefit for a yes endorsement or a harm for a no endorsement. If the measure and its impact are muddled, or if there’s legitimate disagreement among membership and allies about a measure, we stay neutral.

NAMI Oregon is neutral on Measures 109 and 110, in part because there are logical arguments in favor and in opposition. A debate within NAMI on these two measures would not produce a clear direction for support or opposition.

Below is a summary of our positions and our rationale.

(Support) Measure 108: Increases tax on tobacco, introduces tax on vape products.

  • NAMI Oregon supports Measure 108 and encourages members and allies to vote in favor.
  • Referred by Legislature as part of financing package to fund continued Medicaid expansion.
  • Maintaining Medicaid expansion is among our top priorities.
  • Tens of thousands of individuals and families with significant behavioral health needs received health insurance coverage due to Medicaid expansion.
  • Without continued funding, those Oregonians could lose coverage and be uninsured.

Measure 109: Legalizes the use of psilocybin, the active ingredient in hallucinogenic mushrooms, for use in treatment of mental health disorders under controlled circumstances.

  • NAMI Oregon is neutral on Measure 109.
  • Measure directs Oregon Health Authority to create program by which psilocybin can be used in specialty clinics for treatment of mental health disorders. Agency does not have expertise in this area.
  • Evidence has shown that psilocybin can be beneficial for treatment-resistant depression and/or major depressive disorder. Was granted “breakthrough” status by Food and Drug Administration to accelerate research in this area.
  • For treatment-resistant depression, psilocybin can be an option after other treatments have failed.
  • Clinical evidence isn’t as strong that it is effective with other disorders. Safety issues are potentially significant.
  • Psilocybin does not currently have generally accepted standards of care that guide its usage.
  • Overall impact on meeting unmet need for mental health services will be minimal.

Measure 110: Redirects tax on marijuana from schools and other programs to fund triage and assessment centers for substance use disorders. Decriminalizes possession of small amounts of illegal substances.

  • NAMI Oregon is neutral on Measure 110.
  • There is disagreement among advocates in recovery community on measure.
  • The good: Measure decriminalizes possession of small amounts of illegal substances.
  • The good: Options for triage and assessment could increase.
  • The bad: Measure takes money from schools, existing mental health programs, cities and counties, and other programs.
  • Unknown: Funding may not actually increase access to ongoing treatment.
  • Unknown: Measure creates another silo of funding, which could impact ongoing health integration efforts.
  • Unknown: Given this new dedicated source of funds, the Measure could impact Legislature’s willingness to use general funds for new investments in other behavioral health treatments and support services.