- Philosophy and Psychedelics: On Connectedness and Alienation - September 22, 2021
- Patenting Nature or Protecting Culture? Ethnopharmacology and Indigenous Intellectual Property Rights - September 21, 2021
- Indigenous Worldview, Property and Extractivism in the Psychedelic Renaissance - September 14, 2021
April 25 and 26 2020, 9 am to 6 pm PST
CONFERENCE REPLAY NOW AVAILABLE
Were you not able to make it to the Psychedelic Liberty Summit? You can access all sessions on all 3 tracks for just $60 here.
If you attended the conference and want to re-watch any of the sessions, just click the link above, enter your email and they will send you a link to view it for free.
In response to the current coronavirus situation, we have decided to make the Summit entirely virtual. In light of the societal crisis we are now facing, it feels more important than ever to explore these topics, and how sacred plants and psychedelics can help us envision new models for personal and collective healing and transformation. This will likely be the largest virtual psychedelics conference ever! We hope you can join us from your homes anywhere in the world!
This Summit will bring together experts from around the world to discuss the legal, cultural, and political issues around the emerging psychedelic renaissance. Efforts to decriminalize or legalize psychedelics have picked up steam around the United States, with Denver recently decriminalizing psilocybin mushrooms and Oakland decriminalizing all natural psychedelics. In addition, advocates in Oregon are planning a statewide ballot initiative to regulate psilocybin in 2020. The topics addressed will include: the process of applying for religious exemptions with the DEA; psilocybin decriminalization initiatives; the right to ameliorate pain and suffering; cognitive liberty; drug use and human rights; ibogaine bills; the upcoming FDA regulation of MDMA and psilocybin; psychedelic harm reduction; licensed health care providers and psychedelic-assisted therapy; the paradoxes of cannabis regulation and NIDA monopoly for research cannabis; conservation of endangered species; human’s relationship to sacred plants and nature; the continuities and discontinuities between recreational, therapeutic and religious use of drugs; the future legal markets; and the commercialization of psychedelics. The Summit aims to discuss the future of psychedelic practices in the US, including decriminalization, legalization, and medicalization. Finally, Chacruna will officially launch the Council for the Protection of Sacred Plants at the Summit. The Council is an initiative of the Chacruna Institute that advocates for the legality of sacred plant medicines among indigenous peoples and non-indigenous communities, encourages legal harm-reduction practices that protect those who use them, educates about conservation of plant species, documents relevant legal and social issues, and consults on legal cases.
Presented by: Chacruna
– 2-Day Full Virtual Conference Ticket – $100
GET YOUR TICKETS HERE
Chacruna reserves a selection of scholarship tickets for those with limited financial means. For Psychedelic Liberty Summit, priority is being given to people of color, however everyone is encouraged to apply. If you would like to apply for a scholarship ticket, please send us a brief statement (250 words max) describing your interest in attending the conference and why you should receive a scholarship ticket. Scholarship Applications now closed.
To read the contents from each panel click on the arrow ► icon to expand the details ▼.
Saturday, April 25th
Morning Moderator: Julie Holland
9:00am – 10:00am – Taita Juan, Celina De Leon, Josh Meadow and Bia Labate – Opening Remarks
10:00am – 10:50am – Sandor Iron Rope – Sacred Peyote Conservation
I will explore how society can honor and respect the Indigenous peyote way of life and this particular medicine in the context of legal, political, and cultural shifts of today. The presentation will focus on exploring peyote conservation issues from an Indigenous Native American Church perspective. This sacred plant is at the center of a way of life that has a particular place and role on this continent. As Indigenous Tribes continue for the quest of preservation of their culture, sacred land, and social sovereignty, modern developments continue to establish itself in this world, so too does Indigenous plant sovereignty wish to thrive.
10:50am – 11:40am – Sean McAllister – Denver Psilocybin Initiative: Update on Implementation and Implication for Future Psychedelic Decriminalization Initiatives
Sean will review the strategy behind the campaign that decriminalized psilocybin mushrooms in the city of Denver. He will discuss the ongoing issues with its implementation, including the impacts of the Denver Psilocybin decriminalization campaign on public safety and health. As a member of the Denver Psilocybin Review Panel, he will assess the Review Panel’s work and recommendations regarding psilocybin policy going forward. Implementation issues consisting of educating police and the City Attorney’s Office on personal possession limits for psilocybin, monitoring arrests, carrying out the Psilocybin Review Panel with City Officials, and public education campaigns around harm reduction and psilocybin will be analyzed. Next, Sean will assess the current status of the Decriminalize California campaign and contrast the various efforts to decriminalize psychedelics around the country. Finally, Sean will discuss the many lessons from cannabis legalization that apply to psychedelic campaigns. In particular, Sean will review the advantages and disadvantages of decriminalization initiatives, and contrast the Denver model with other initiatives.
11:40am – 12:10pm – Break
12:10pm – 1:00pm – Monnica T. Williams – Psychedelic Psychotherapy is Coming: Who Will be Included?
Recently, there has been much excitement in the potential of psychedelic-assisted psychotherapy to address a multitude of mental health conditions, including depression, posttraumatic stress disorder, addiction, end-of-life anxiety, and others. The non-profit organization Multidisciplinary Association of Psychedelic Studies (MAPS) has been funding studies to demonstrate the efficacy of psychedelics for mental health, including MDMA-assisted psychotherapy for people with PTSD. Thanks to these efforts, FDA approval of MDMA for the treatment PTSD may soon become a reality. However, not everyone has been included. People of color have not been well-represented as researchers or participants in psychedelic clinical studies worldwide. They have been underrepresented in psychedelic therapist training programs. As psychedelics move toward becoming commercially available, factors uniquely impacting access for people of color include prohibitive costs, negative stereotypes about people of color and drug use, and stigmas due to criminalization of people of color through the War on Drugs. Addressed are initiatives being taken to reduce these disparities and next steps for creating a culture of inclusivity in the psychedelic community.
1:00pm – 2:00pm – Lunch
Afternoon Moderator: Zara Snapp
2:00pm – 2:50pm – Jag Davies – Psychedelics and the War on Drugs: What Can We Learn from Cannabis Legalization and Other Social Justice Movements?
How do we account for the multi-generational, ongoing harms of psychedelic criminalization—and how do we begin to repair those harms? In what ways does the War on Drugs continue to drastically limit the scope of scientific research? What are some of the key limitations of the medical model for psychedelics? Where do efforts to decriminalize psychedelics fit within the broader context of criminal justice and public health reform, especially current campaigns to implement Portugal-style drug decriminalization? How can we best maximize the effectiveness of emerging psychedelics-specific policy reform efforts? What can we learn from cannabis legalization and other recent criminal justice reforms? What are some viable non-commercialized models for legalization, such as Spain’s cooperative social clubs for cannabis? What are the strategic and ethical risks of psychedelics “exceptionalism”? How can we ensure that psychedelics aren’t just profitable and legally accessible for a privileged few; all while poor, black, brown, and indigenous people involved with psychedelics continue to be socioeconomically marginalized and harshly criminalized?
2:50pm – 3:40pm – Amy Emerson and Alia Lilienstein – Status of MDMA – Assisted Psychotherapy Development Program
The MAPS Public Benefit Corporation is in the midst of our Phase 3 study to investigate the benefits of MDMA-Assisted Psychotherapy to treat PTSD. As clinical trials progress in the United States, Canada, Israel, and the European Union, the potential for MDMA-assisted psychotherapy for PTSD to become an approved prescription treatment looks more and more promising as one model for bringing MDMA as a tool for healing into the mainstream. We will discuss the way that MAPS PBC is creating a psychedelic drug development company that is not based in profit, but in the public benefit. Those interested in new treatment options for PTSD can learn about the treatment design and published study outcomes and consider how MDMA-assisted psychotherapy might serve patient populations. We will share, summary data from the Phase 2 studies, and the possibilities for broader inclusion under Expanded Access and post-approval.
3:40pm – 4:10pm – Break
4:10pm – 5:50pm – Panel moderated by Brian Anderson with Victoria Hale, Greg Kearns and Ronan Levy – Psychedelic Medicalization: Unpacking the Landscape of Drug Development and Commercialization
The psychedelic renaissance is in full swing and there are substantial sums of money lining up to “get in the game”. Meanwhile, there is palpable (and growing) tension in the psychedelic community around for-profit vs. not-for-profit business models. In order to ensure a fair debate about the pros & cons of various corporate structures, this session will start with a basic education on what drug development entails, providing an overview of the existing and emerging models for drug development, production and distribution. This will include a focus on the various components of the drug development process, and the challenges involved with developing schedule 1 substances. Recognizing the tax-status of any given entity dictates the methods by which it may raise capital to support development expenses – the panelists will attempt to unpack the concerns that exist regarding the underlying obligations, motives, actions and behaviors that come alongside for-profit vs. not-for-profit business structures. These concerns will be discussed through the lens of the learnings and understandings that may result through the use of psychedelic medicines. This includes a particular emphasis on compassion and concern for the wellbeing of all living beings that drives the widely shared belief that the medicines should be affordable and accessible to all who can benefit from them. To that end – the audience won’t want to miss the discussion of whether there is any role for “big-pharma” to play in the process of commercialization to reach large, global populations in the post-approval phase.
5:50pm – 6:20pm – Break
6:20pm – 7:30pm – Panel moderated by Ariel Clark, with David Bronner, Kevin Matthews and Ryan Munevar: A Nuts & Bolts Discussion of Psychedelic Law Reform
Various legal frameworks for decriminalization, legalization and regulation of psychedelics are being advanced in cities and states across the country. In practical terms, what do these different legal frameworks look like? What legislation is being advanced by policy reformers and why? What are the issues the different proposals seek to address? Where is there crossover and where is there contrast? This discussion will unravel various efforts at psychedelic law reform. We will examine the national decriminalization movement, California’s and Oregon’s statewide initiatives, and we will discuss what implementation looks like post-decriminalization (de-prioritization) in Denver. We will get specific on the proposed models for regulation and decriminalization and what psychedelics and society can look like post-implementation.
Saturday, April 25th
Morning Moderator: Claudia Schwarz
10:00am – 11:40am – Annie Oak, Eleonora Molnar and Mariavittoria Mangini: How Can We Learn From The Experiences of an Established Psychedelic Community Led by Women?
Since 2007, members of the Women’s Visionary Council (WVC) have been organizing gatherings of activists, researchers, healers and artists from diverse psychedelic communities in the US and Canada. The WVC has hosted eleven years of the Women’s Visionary Congress and prevailed in its advocacy of greater inclusion of women in public discussions about psychedelics. This breakout session will address strategies that the WVC is using to amplify the voices of people of color, teach effective risk reduction, and transfer knowledge among generations and cultural traditions. The conversation will be informed by the WVC’s current focus on the ethics and practices of psychedelic assisted therapies and businesses, and the safety of participants in psychedelic ceremonies. Maria, Annie, and Eleonora will also consider topics that will be important for future research such as the use of psychedelics in the dying process and the training of psychedelic therapists.
11:40pm – 12:10pm – Break
12:10pm – 1:00pm – Scott Bernstein: The Regulation Project – Envisioning the legalization of psychedelics and other drugs
In recent years, progress toward medicalizing psychedelics and broader drug policy reforms has spurred advocacy aimed at reducing the criminalization of psychedelic substances. Recently, dozens of jurisdictions have begun considering decriminalizing some psychedelics; others have issued exemptions for religious use of psychedelics. Although these piecemeal approaches provide improved access for some, they ultimately fall short of addressing the problems of equity, health, safety, and sustainability inherent in a prohibitionist framework. Legally regulating psychedelics could allow access to a broad array of substances for non-medical use while also supporting desired health, safety and human rights outcomes. This presentation will introduce an innovative international collaboration called the Regulation Project that seeks to engage various stakeholders, including public health professionals, drug consumers, government, youth, and media in a discussion about different models for how we might legally regulate psychedelics and other drugs. Using innovative strategies such as a board game, the Regulation Project is seeking to overcome barriers to meaningful drug policy reform discussions, engage the public on issues that matter to them, educate people and hear their opinions on models of legal regulation they support.
1:00pm – 2:00pm – Lunch
Afternoon Moderator: Patricia Kubala
2:00pm – 3:40pm – Jack Silver, Robert Heffernan and J. Hamilton Hudson: Should Groups Petition the DEA for a Religious Exemption for Psychedelics?
The use of ayahuasca and other psychedelic medicines have expanded quite a lot in the US since the Supreme Courts favorable ruling in the UDV’s case in 2006 and the Santo Daime Case in OR 9th Circuit in 2009. After these rulings the DEA created a petition process for receiving a religious exemption based on the Religious Freedom Restoration Act. Should medicine using groups consider engaging in this petition process? There are a variety of perspectives on this: What is the need to at this time given that the government appears not to be pursuing and prosecuting ayahuasca? Would it protect groups that are well situated and further extend the precedents? Does the DEA actually have regulatory authority to determine exemptions? Is ayahuasca basically legal with the government needing to show why there is an issue with a given groups use? Should various congregations form an association get together and negotiate with the DEA? What about groups that use multiple medicines? Would groups who use substances like LSD or MDMA qualify for an exemption? Would they face any unique obstacles? Join us as we have a lively discussion exploring these and other views.
3:40pm – 4:10pm – Break
4:10 – 5:50pm – Greenheart and NiCole T. Buchanan: How Can We Strengthen the Role of People of Color in Psychedelic Advocacy?
In a cultural and advocacy space that has historically been lead by mainly white men it’s time to ensure that diverse voices are recognized and represented as Decriminalization and the unfolding psychedelic movement ramp up. Given the psychedelic revolution happening now, we need to ensure that POC are considered, protected, and ensured safe and equitable access as policies and laws shift in favor of decriminalization, legalization and regulation. That means we need to look at how POC have historically been engaged in the psychedelic movement and what needs to change going forward to strengthen the role of POC in psychedelic advocacy. To this end, we will open up a discussion to dive into questions we need to be asking ourselves and each other, for instance: Where are POC voices missing in the various psychedelic advocacy movements? And why is this? What are the key factors keeping people of color out of key roles in psychedelic advocacy? And how do we overcome them? How do we de-stigmatized psychedelic use and practices so that people of color openly embrace and engage psychedelics as a tool for healing and expansion of consciousness and then openly advocate for their safe and equitable use? Which psychedelics are approved for clinical testing right now, and how can access without stigma be assured for POC? What educational events, spaces and communities can we create to attract people of color, where they feel safe, welcomed, engaged and a sense of belonging, where they feel seen, heard and understood, where they feel comfortable speaking up and out and getting involved? Ask yourself if you are in a leadership or highly engaged role within the psychedelic movement what are you doing to invite POC to the table and hear their voices? What are you prepared to do differently going forward to get people of color more involved in the organizations, communities and movements you’re involved in?
Saturday, April 25th
Morning Moderator: Emily Williams
10:00am – 11:40am – Alli Feduccia, Todd Youngs, Matthew Johnson and Brian Anderson – How Can We Support Psychedelic-Friendly Addiction Recovery Groups that are Accessible, Inclusive, and Affordable?
A growing number of people are intentionally using psychedelics to disrupt harmful patterns of substance or alcohol use. While the psychedelic experience may reduce withdrawal symptoms and provide new insights into how to make positive changes in one’s life, the weeks and months following are a critical period to actualize new ways of thinking and being in the world for long-term success. Drawing from traditional peer recovery groups, such as Alcoholics Anonymous (AA), but incorporating psychedelic integration, harm reduction, and health and wellness practices will address the needs for an expanding number of individuals and families seeking psychedelic modalities for recovery. In this breakout session, we will discuss preliminary information collected in the Psychedelics in Recovery: Outreach and Service (PROS), a community-engaged public health initiative supported by the non-profit Project New Day. Discussion topics will be centered around current challenges to implementing widespread adaptation of community support models, including legal and ethical issues that may arise for group facilitators and participating individuals. Are there general parameters that can be agreed upon? Can we develop new models and guiding principles to ensure safety and long-term positive outcomes? What are the advantages of a community model versus a medical model? What are the essential factors for community groups to be accessible, inclusive, and affordable?
11:40am – 12:10pm – Break
12:10pm – 1:00pm – Kevin Feeney – Peyote as Commodity: An Examination of Market Actors and Access Mechanisms
Access to the peyote cactus, a religious sacrament of the Native American Church (NAC), has been regulated since 1965. However, during the last 40 years, the regulated peyote market has shown signs of decline despite reported growth in NAC membership during the same period. This market decline raises questions about the ecological impacts of harvesting practices, as well as levels of consumption of a very limited natural resource. Protecting access to peyote for NAC religious practices and conserving the viability of natural peyote populations are both important goals; goals that should be addressed simultaneously, if possible. In order to determine whether biological, economic, regulatory, or other factors are responsible for the decline in the regulated peyote trade, Access Theory is used to map the various commodity chains that make up the peyote supply network and to identify the primary factors responsible for reduced access to this sacrament. Avenues for bolstering access deficiencies in the peyote supply network are considered, as well as some possible conservation options.
1:00pm – 2:00pm – Lunch
Afternoon Moderator: Kyle Buller
2:00pm – 3:40pm – Bob Otis, Diana Negrín, Martin Terry, Anya Ermakova, Ruth Valdizon and Miriam Volat: How Can We Ensure Respectful, Safe, Ethical, Inclusive and Sustainable Sourcing for Psychedelic Plants and Materials?
This breakout session will respectfully engage open discussion around ethics and sustainability for accessing and working with sacred plants in diverse current, decriminalized and regulated contexts. Recognizing that there are varying opinions within and across individuals and groups from impacted locations, we will ask if it is possible to respect and support sacred plant related traditions and locations while engaging ethical plant practices in diverse societies, potentially on global levels. Many questions emerge in this discussion. How are Indigenous cultures being consulted on plant medicine use? How are modernized “Westerners” being respectful to these practices while giving first rights to those Indigenous cultures who use these plant medicines? Are there plants and practices that should be strictly avoided by many or most individuals or groups? Is it possible for individuals from cultures that have largely been disconnected from sacred plants to be a sacred plant ally? How can we ensure sustainability of access? How might decriminalization impact wild populations of sacred plants? Are there ethical and sustainable plant alternatives to venerated / vulnerable sacred plants? Representatives from diverse indigenous and impacted groups will be present, as will an invited table of related sacred plants to admire, respect, consult, share presence with.
3:40pm – 4:10pm – Break
4:10pm – 5:00pm – Joseph Rhea – Psychedelic Integration: Administrative Law and Criminal Law Implications for Practitioners
This presentation will first discuss first the history of psychedelic integration, and it’s re-emergence in the current psychedelic renaissance. The discussion then moves on to the possible legal issues facing practitioners with and without professional licenses. All practitioners need to be mindful of the law of conspiracy to distribute controlled substances, such as LSD and DMT. Because psychedelic integration is not a recognized modality in any state, licensed practitioners (doctors, therapists) need additionally to be mindful of the administrative law rules governing their services. Finally, every person working in this groundbreaking area needs to explore for herself the line between legal prudence and excessive (i.e. self-limiting) caution. Psychedelics offer exciting new possibilities for healing and the legal component of this need not be stressful — so long as we are mindful of the issues in advance.
5:00pm – 5:50pm – Daiara Tukano – What Are Indigenous Concerns about the Globalization of Ayahuasca?
This breakout session reviews diverse indigenous views and concerns about the globalization of ayahuasca and asks for open and respectful hearing and discussion. Since 1630 when the Yepá Mahsã people, better known as the Tukano, made contact with the Portuguese, the medicinal plant kahpi, classified as Banisteriopsis caapi by Richard Spruce in 1851, has passed from demonization to globalization. Today we indigenous peoples who know and practice the uses and knowledge of ayahuasca are a minority compared to its global consumption. The indigenous ayahuasca conferences held in Brazil over the last three years have brought together numerous indigenous spiritual leaders to debate strategies to protect and strengthen the cultural heritage of each people, manage the planting of medicines, guarantee the right to ceremonial practices, combat the criminalization of ayahuasca and shamans, and address the growing concern with good use of the medicines and with the ‘economy’ that has sprung up around them – both in the countries where ayahuasca is legal and where it is illegal. This breakout session discusses the paradox of the globalization of ayahuasca, as it simultaneously represents major opportunities and threats to indigenous peoples. Several questions emerge for discussion: How can we mediate the different paradigm conflicts that are emerging around the globalization of Ayahuasca? How can we ensure respect for the rights of the peoples who represent the original custodians of the medicine? Is it possible to form supportive alliances and if so, how?
Sunday, April 26
Morning Moderator: Ariel Clark
10:00am – 10:50am – Troy – Peyote and the Eagle in Comanche Culture
In this presentation, I will talk about Peyote and the Eagle in our culture, and the work we do to preserve them. Eagles take our petitions to the almighty, “on the wings of eagles” as we place them in the four directions. We honour the rhythm of nature in an indigenous cultural ceremony with a drum of husi water leading the way. We humble ourselves before the smallest plant on the desert floor – “nuu me pu e quen tse” (poor pitiful us) – and we pray up thru the grandfather peyote. Through the puha – the healing energy created thru the feathers, songs and the sacrament – we become one. When at dawn the fireman throws the door of the tipi open and the first ray of light hits the altar, the sun and crescent moon come together, and we see the macro and the micro working as one. How can we best preserve Peyote “Husi” and the Eagle “Kwihnia” for future generations? I will share some of the work of our tribal organization, Sia, which promotes research, education and preservation of the Eagle in Indigenous culture. We thru the “Essential Species Repository” are disseminating legally molted feathers and parts for indigenous ceremonies for all indigenous tribes of the United States. I will also address what Comanche Native American Church thinks about cultivation of peyote, and non-indigenous use of peyote.
10:50am – 11:40am – Dawn D. Davis – Habitat Loss, Decriminalization, Conservation and Legalization Frameworks of Peyote
The peyote cactus [Lophophora williamsii],which is ingested for its medicinal qualities, has been a conservation concern for peyotists and members of the Native American Church (NAC) since 1976. Since 2009, the International Union for the Conservation of Nature has identified peyote as a vulnerable species across its range within the United States and Mexico. The primary threat to long-term conservation is overharvesting due to increased demands by members of the NAC, in addition to improper harvesting techniques of peyote distributors, and large-scale land conversion. This presentation includes not only an examination of the spatial distribution of peyote as it relates to course scale fragmentation of habitat; it will also discuss the intersection of decriminalization, legalization, and conservation. Inclusion of an Indigenous ecological perspective in these conversations allows for inter-Tribal and community-based conservation, co-management, and enactment of sacred ecology. It is important that peyote, as it relates to a bona fide religion recognized by the Supreme Court of the United States, is acknowledged and afforded respect.
11:40am – 12:10pm – Break
12:10pm – 1:00pm – Kufikiri Imara – Decriminalization in Oakland: A One Year Retrospective on Outreach, Education, & Access
This presentation will speak to the experiences of a local, grassroots collective in Oakland that managed to pass the June 4th 2019 resolution to decriminalize access to working with entheogenic plants and is influencing the course of drug decriminalization efforts in different cities across the country. The benefits that decriminalization offers of a shorter, cheaper, and more accessible path to working with entheogenic plants will be highlighted in his presentation. Next, he will provide a snapshot of the current status, ongoing progress, and challenges in Oakland following the city council’s unanimous vote of approval. A few of the central topics to the movement will be presented, such as: What are the impacts of the resolution language? What are the intentions and specific actions emerging from Oakland City Council and the Decriminalize Nature Oakland group? What is the mandate of Decriminalize Nature Oakland’s “Outreach, Education and Access” committee? What are some specific recent and next actions coming from Oakland in this area? What challenges have emerged and how are they being addressed? How can you get involved? This will be a great opportunity to learn from Decriminalize Nature Oakland’s experience at the heart of this transformative decriminalization and educational movement.
1:00pm – 2:00pm – Lunch
Afternoon Moderator: Ismail Ali
2:00pm – 2:50pm – Peter Hendricks – Psilocybin as medicine: Abuse potential and future regulation
With an eye toward the regulation of psilocybin as an FDA-approved medication, this presentation will review the abuse potential of medically-administered psilocybin according the 8 factors of the Controlled Substances Act (CSA). It will discuss how psilocybin, like other serotonin 2A agonists (ayahuasca, mescaline, peyote) has limited reinforcing effects, with a few lifetime use occasions being normative among users. It will also discuss the potential harms of medical psilocybin, including dangerous behavior in unprepared, unsupervised settings, and the exacerbation of mental illness among those predisposed to psychosis. This presentation will show placement in Schedule IV may be appropriate if psilocybin is approved as a medicine, psilocybin can provide therapeutic benefits that may support the development of a New Drug Application, and the adverse effects of psilocybin are manageable when administered according to risk management approaches. Time allowing, this presentation will also share preliminary findings from his ongoing trial of psilocybin-facilitated treatment for cocaine dependence.
2:50pm – 3:40pm – Brad A. Bartlett – Religious Exercise and Controlled Substances: Navigating the U.S. Legal Framework for Sacramental Use of Psychedelics
There are hundreds of groups using ayahuasca in ceremonial contexts in the United States, and many more exercising a brand of therapeutic and mystical uses of psilocybin, peyote, and Sonora Desert toad serum. They all dream of future legalization and the ability to use psychedelics as a religious sacrament or in the exercise of religious activities without fear of criminal prosecution. However, currently, only a handful of religious adherents have received exemptions to U.S. criminal prohibitions on psychedelics. This presentation will discuss legal mechanisms the U.S. government has in place for such situations; a rather complicated scenario that, as currently constituted, seemingly disfavors religious free exercise. Specifically, the author will focus on the history of religious exercise vis-à-vis controlled substances, current policies of the Drug Enforcement Administration requiring petitioning and registration by religious adherents, and possible reforms to the current legal framework.
3:40pm – 4:10pm – Break
4:10pm – 5:00pm – Bennet Zelner – The Pollination Approach: Delivering Psychedelic-Assisted Therapy in Community Systems
Scientific research has demonstrated psychedelic-assisted therapy’s unparalleled ability to treat mental and behavioral disorders such as depression and addiction in a clinical setting. As psychedelic medicines move closer to legalization, more attention is being focused on the design of real-world approaches to delivering care. The current dominant approach, which promotes the use of pharmaceuticals for treatment, views depression and addiction as a constellation of biologically-based symptoms, deemphasizing the role of psychosocial influences. But a growing body of evidence links rising global rates of depression and addiction to the alienating influence of the current economic paradigm’s individualistic beliefs and practices, which have disrupted the functioning of community social and economic systems. The Pollination Approach to delivering psychedelic-assisted mental healthcare explicitly seeks to repair these systems, complementing and contributing to individual healing. It is rooted in the ecological principle that the production of wellness depends on the continual renewal and recirculation of system resources. Treatment sites offering psychedelic-assisted therapy may serve as pollinators of a community’s human resources by creating close partnerships with local organizations, broadening access to psychedelic therapy and providing channels for those who have received treatment to become reintegrated into community systems. Other aspects of treatment site design – such as local ownership, multistakeholder governance, and financial structures that place shared prosperity over shareholder returns – also promote the production of wellness through the renewal and recirculation of community resources.
5:00pm – 5:30pm – Chacruna Team – Closing Remarks
Sunday, April 26th
Morning Moderator: Liana Gillooly
10:00am – 11:40am – Steve DeAngelo, Dale Gieringer and Allan Steiner: What Lessons Can Psychedelic Advocates Learn From Cannabis Regulations and Industry?
If I knew then what I know now… There is value in learning what to do, what not to do, and what to expect from those who have been in the trenches of cannabis policy reform, commercialization, legalization, and decriminalization. While cannabis and psychedelic advocates and ecosystems are siloed in some sense by virtue of politics, law, culture, history, and various levels of cannabis and psychedelic exceptionalism, these lines continue to blur, and knowledge-sharing needs to occur. This session will be facilitated by veteran change-makers in the cannabis sector to discuss lessons learned from cannabis laws and regulations and the cannabis industry/ecosystem. We will get specific on what to consider during the rule-writing and policy-change process, including drafting considerations for laws and regulations, the importance of public education, and best-practices/non-binding regulations. The national conversation on psychedelics is happening at a lightening-speed, let’s learn from our cannabis-industry allies and past work as we set the stage for psychedelics.
11:40pm – 12:10pm – Break
12:10pm – 1:00pm – Raquel Bennett and Alex Belser: The Economics of Ketamine: Issues of Money and Medicine in Treatment
Ketamine is an inexpensive, generic medication with profound dissociative and psychedelic properties. Ketamine was originally developed as a human surgical anesthetic, but has received tremendous interest recently as a highly efficacious treatment for some kinds of depression. Despite the low cost of the medication itself, ketamine treatment is currently very expensive for most patients, often costing hundreds or thousands of dollars for each in-office session. In this talk, Dr. Bennett and Dr. Belser will do a deep dive into the economics of ketamine treatment. They will talk about ketamine infusion centers, ketamine-facilitated psychotherapy, and ketamine in the underground. They will also discuss the FDA approval process and the systemic flaws that make it nearly impossible to get approval or medical insurance coverage for generic ketamine treatment for depression. These flaws have opened the door for Big Pharma to come into the picture and create a ridiculously expensive filtered ketamine product (esketamine or Spravato) that is no more effective than generic ketamine. The presenters will also talk about the business ownership laws that are biased against clinicians who want to work with psychedelic medicines. Finally, they will end with commentary on how the coronavirus is re-shaping the landscape of therapeutic ketamine by forcing an abrupt switch to at-home ketamine treatment. Ketamine is slightly ahead of other psychedelic medicines because it is already in Schedule III, and therefore legal to use in certain cases. But much of what is happening in the field of therapeutic ketamine is directly relevant to the medicalization of psychedelic experiences and the growing interest in other sacred medicines within the context of unbridled capitalism.
1:00pm – 2:00pm: Lunch
Afternoon Moderator: Mike Margolies
2:00pm – 3:40pm – Kat Conour and Liana Gillooly: How Can We Create Models for Psychedelic Businesses that are Ethical and Equitable?
The number of people suffering from mental health indications is staggering and the need for breakthrough treatments has never been more profound. The immense need for healing – alongside the passionate dedication of the pioneers in the psychedelic movement – has ushered in the medical and commercial era of psychedelics. Used properly, psychedelics have the potential to catalyze a revolution in our collective understanding of trauma and how we deliver healing on a mass scale. However “business as usual” poses the risk of prioritizing the lifetime value of a patient over the restored value of their lifetimes. This breakout session explores models for psychedelic business oriented around a set of guiding principles, a North Star, to focus on delivering equitable and affordable access to psychedelic-healing for all.
3:40pm – 4:10pm: Break
4:10pm – 5:00pm – Mareesa Stertz and Troy Dayton: How Can Community Building Create a Shared Sense of Ownership to Guide the Psychedelic Movement? Psychedelic Leadership Team Build Workshop
Research, legislation, commercialization, and medicalization are giving birth to new system models, countless businesses, and various forms of psychedelic treatments. As this explosion of dynamic energy arrives on the scene, the question is raised: How can we as leaders (organizers, content creators, facilitators, etc) work together to embody the lessons inherent in psychedelics? How can we operate collectively and help the world integrate these tools? This series of exercises are designed to build the connection, understanding, and relatedness needed to fortify our community as we move about in the world. We’ll be utilizing techniques pulled from multi-disciplinary sources that build cohesion and intimacy in a group of world changers for the challenges ahead.
Sunday, April 26th
Morning Moderator: Emma Stamm
10:00am – 11:40am – Amy Rising, Ian Benouis, Jesse Gould and Matt Kahl: How Can We Advance Veterans Rights for Access to Psychedelics and Plant Medicines?
From being the target population of major clinical trials to working directly with legislators consulting on future policy, the veteran community holds an important role in the psychedelic movement. Join this breakout session of leading veteran psychedelic activists to discuss the fundamental role military veterans have played in changing perspectives around the therapeutic use of cannabis and all aspects of drug policy reform from the veteran perspective. This breakout session will discuss experiences working with veterans and plant medicines, feedback from interacting with a variety of demographics from across the country, and direct work with local and national legislators. It will also promote a reflection on how healing with plant medicines and psychedelics might impact views on critical aspects of the American industrial military complex.
11:40pm – 12:10pm – Break
12:10pm – 1:00pm – Mike Margolies and Danielle Negrin: How do we Replace the War on Drugs with Education and Community?
To end the drug war, we need to build a new model that makes it obsolete. What does that new model look like? Instead of drug policy based on coercive restriction, how can we build a system that honors individual liberty and self-regulation, while also keeping people safe? The new model needs to be centered on Education and Community. People will be empowered to make their own informed decisions. Community will support both risk reduction and benefit maximization through preparation, best practice sharing, finding and vetting providers, and integration. In this session, we will share current efforts around psychedelic education and community including Psychedelic Societies around the world, educational media platforms, and harm reduction practices. We will then open up a discussion brainstorming ideas around what the future might look like after the drug war. Beyond medicalization and legalization/regulation, what community models will we need? What does the world look like with open sharing of information and best practices, and demonstration and invitation to participate in healthy models? What educational programs do we need to implement to keep these practices resilient and community based?
1:00pm – 2:00pm – Lunch
Afternoon Moderator: Diana Negrín
2:00pm – 3:40pm – Dawn Davis, Christine Diindiisi McCleave, Wahleah Johns and Belinda Eriacho – What do Native American Women Voices Have to Tell Us about Peyote and Traditional Plant Medicine Ceremonies?
This breakout session will delve into personal accounts and history of medicinal use of peyote and other traditional plant medicines used by various North American Tribes from the perspectives of Native American women. The feminine beauty we carry is our sacred responsibility and communicated in our discussion on the plant medicines, the connection to our ceremonies, the importance of recognizing the political battles of our Native communities in fighting for ceremonial rights, and why Native American inclusion on plant medicines and ceremonial topics is critical. As Indigenous plant medicines are becoming more mainstream, we feel it is important to discuss and share some questions such as: How are our ceremonies misunderstood? What are our concerns for ethical use? What are the appropriation and the spiritual dangers for misuse of sacred plants? What are the impacts to Indigenous communities for access, cultivation, policy, federal law, decriminalization, and harvesting rituals by the increased interests of Westerners?
3:40pm – 4:10pm – Break
4:10pm – 5:00pm – Miguel Evanjuanoy and Riccardo Vitale – How is Malpractice and Commercialization of Yagé Hindering Indigenous peoples’ defense of the Amazon Rainforest and their Cultural Resistance?
Elderly sages from the Amazon rainforest are saying that yagé (ayahuasca) medicine can only be practiced by indigenous people taught within their own traditions. How should the psychedelic movement and civil society respond to this demand? In November 2019, seven organizations representing indigenous people from nine Amazonian countries signed a statement denouncing the commercialization and malpractices of ayahuasca medicine. According to this document, traditional indigenous property and practices are being, once more, usurped, trivialized, packaged, and sold for the sake of Western markets. The document also states that the consequences of this are dire for both indigenous people and consumers alike. The purpose of this breakout session is to discuss perspectives of cultural appropriation, starting from the point of view of indigenous communities for whom yagé/ayahuasca is an important cultural practice connected to the defense of their territories, peacebuilding, and social reconstruction.
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Speakers Line up:
Ismail Lourido Ali is Policy & Advocacy Counsel for the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS), where he supports the development and implementation of strategies to create legal access to psychedelic substances in medical, sacramental, and personal contexts. Ismail presently sits on the Advisory Committee of the Ayahuasca Defense Fund and has previously served as Chair of the Students for Sensible Drug Policy (SSDP) Board of Directors, and has worked for the ACLU of Northern California’s Criminal Justice & Drug Policy Project, as well as for the International Human Rights Law Clinic at the University of California, Berkeley, School of Law, where he received his J.D.
Brian T. Anderson is a psychiatrist at the University of California San Francisco where he studies psychedelic medicines. Brian has also been a member of the Núcleo de Estudos Interdisciplinares sobre Psicoativos (NEIP) since 2006 and currently is a member of the Board of Directors of the Chacruna Institute for Psychedelic Plant Medicines. Over the past decade he has conducted ethnographic research with ayahuasca religions, 12-Step recovery groups, and other communities of substance users in North America, South America and Europe.
Brad Bartlett is a seasoned attorney with a long career as a business lawyer, litigator, legal and policy advisor, and law professor and lecturer. Brad pioneers legal strategies and services for the cannabis industry; handles complex land-use and environmental matters; and advises American Indian Tribes and tribal communities on governmental, regulatory and business matters. Brad recently served as senior attorney at McAllister Garfield, P.C., a prominent cannabis business law firm, and before that served as an assistant professor at the University of Denver’s Sturm School of Law in the Environmental and Natural Resources Law Program. Over his extensive career, Brad has worked with impacted tribal communities, including Native American Church members, on a wide variety of complex tribal and environmental justice matters. Brad is also a seasoned litigator and has brought numerous cases in the public interest addressing government accountability and overreach. Brad graduated the University of Colorado School of Law’s environmental and American Indian law program in 1998 and is an enrolled tribal member of the Sault Ste. Marie Band of Chippewa Indians of Michigan. Brad is a member of Chacruna’s Council for the Protection of Sacred Plants where he works to advance the dialogue around Controlled Substances Act prohibitions on psychoactive plants and its intersection with state’s rights and religious and medical freedoms.
Taita Juan Bautista Agreda Chindoy is the current governor of the Kamentsa indigenous community located in the Sibundoy Valley of the Alto Putumayo of Colombia. He is a life-long practitioner of yagé shamanism, who is recognized both within and beyond his native Colombia as a traditional healer and an indigenous authority.
Dr. Alex Belser is a licensed psychologist and psychedelic researcher at Yale University and New York University. His research with psilocybin and MDMA focuses on developing psychedelic treatments to treat depression, anxiety, obsessive-compulsive disorder, addiction, and trauma. Dr. Belser is the Co-Investigator of a study investigating psilocybin-induced neuroplasticity in the treatment of major depression at Yale. He also serves as the Co-Investigator of a study investigating the neural correlates of the effects of psilocybin in OCD. In 2006, Dr. Belser was a founding member of the Psychedelic Research Group at New York University, and he is a qualitative researcher on NYU’s Psilocybin Religious Leaders Study. He is study therapist for the MAPS Phase 3 trial of MDMA-assisted psychotherapy for the treatment of severe PTSD. Dr. Belser completed his clinical and research training in psychology at Bellevue Hospital, New York Psychiatric Institute at Columbia University Medical Center, and Mount Sinai Beth Israel Hospital. He is a graduate of Georgetown University, New York University, and the University of Cambridge. His practice website is https://www.centerforbreakthroughs.com/ and his website site is: http://alexbelser.com/
Raquel Bennett, Psy.D. is a psychologist and ketamine specialist from Berkeley, CA. She primarily works with people who are living with severe depression, bipolar disorder, and/or suicidal ideation. She is fascinated by the antidepressant properties of ketamine, and has been studying this since 2002. She also has a long-standing interest in the psychedelic and mystical properties of ketamine, and the potential for this medicine to be used for spiritual exploration. Dr. Bennett is the founder of KRIYA Institute and the organizer of KRIYA Conference, which is an annual and international event devoted to understanding the uses of ketamine in psychiatry and psychotherapy. You can learn more about her work at www.kriyainstitute.com.
Ian Benouis, JD, is the General Counsel of Veterans for Natural Rights (VNR), a 501c3 dedicated to veteran healing and reintegration. He is a West Point graduate, former Blackhawk helicopter pilot, former US Army officer and combat veteran who participated in Operation Just Cause in the Republic of Panama the biggest operation in history directed towards the War on Drugs. He has been healing himself for over 25 years with natural earth medicines, a spiritual practice, and as a student and practitioner of ethnobotany. He has organized and participated in numerous trips with veterans to Mexico, Peru and other locations for ethnobotanical healing. This work has been captured in documentaries including From Shock to Awe and Soldiers of the Vine.
Scott Bernstein is Director of Policy with the Canadian Drug Policy Coalition, where he leads the organization’s work on legal regulation of drugs, decriminalization, and international drug policy and leads the MAPS Canada Drug Policy Committee. Prior to joining CDPC, Scott practiced as a lawyer and through his own legal practice and with Pivot Legal Society in Vancouver Scott has participated in strategic litigation focused on advancing human rights of people who use drugs, including challenging municipal anti-harm reduction bylaws, advocating for access to prescription heroin treatment, and defending Insite, North America’s first sanctioned injection site in the Supreme Court of Canada and lower courts. He also served as a program officer with the Global Drug Policy Program of Open Society Foundations in New York, where he supported collaboration within a global reform movement targeted at the 2016 UN General Assembly Special Session through grant-making, policy expertise and strategic planning, as well as supporting a nascent drug policy reform movement in Africa. Scott has a MS in environmental studies from the University of Wisconsin and a JD from the University of British Columbia.
David Bronner was born in Los Angeles, California in 1973 and earned an undergraduate degree in biology from Harvard University. He is Cosmic Engagement Officer (CEO) of Dr. Bronner’s, the top-selling brand of natural soaps in North America and producer of a range of organic body care and food products. He is a grandson of company founder, Emanuel Bronner, and a fifth-generation soapmaker. Under David and his brother Michael’s leadership, the brand has grown from $5 million in 1998 to over $130 million in annual revenue in 2019. David and Michael established Dr. Bronner’s as a sustainable leader in the natural products industry by becoming one of the first body care brands to formulate with hemp seed oil in 1999 and to certify its soaps, lotions, balms, and other personal care products under the USDA National Organic Program in 2003. Both actions resulted in high-profile litigation with government agencies, DEA and USDA respectively, that Dr. Bronner’s ultimately won, cementing Dr. Bronner’s activist orientation in the natural products marketplace. Over the years, David and Dr. Bronner’s have been key leaders in fights for high-bar regenerative organic, animal welfare and fair trade standards, cannabis and psychedelic reform, and a fair minimum wage. His primary passion is the responsible integration of cannabis and psychedelic medicine into American and global culture and he is a board member of the Multi-Disciplinary Association of Psychedelic Studies. Dr. Bronner’s financially supports several organizations and efforts in this space, including both scientific research around the therapeutic potentials of psychedelics, and psychedelic law reform. David’s activism embodies the company’s mission — which encompasses a commitment to making socially and environmentally responsible products of the highest quality, and to dedicating profits to help make a better world.
NiCole T. Buchanan, Ph.D., is an Associate Professor of Psychology at Michigan State University and Clinical Director and Founder of Alliance Psychological Associates, PLLC in East Lansing, MI. She is a member of Chacruna’s Racial Equity and Access Committee and a trainee in the MAPS MDMA-assisted psychotherapy training for communities of color and anticipates offering MDMA-assisted psychotherapy when clinical trials are completed. Dr. Buchanan is a fellow of the Association for Psychological Science, four separate divisions of the American Psychological Association, and has received numerous national and international awards for her research, teaching, clinical work, and professional service. She is an accomplished speaker, writer, and scholar with more than 70 journal articles, book chapters, and research reports, and her work has been highlighted in hundreds of media outlets, including CBS News, the Huffington Post, and Essence Magazine, and she has been a featured speaker for several programs, including TEDx and National Public Radio (NPR).
Kyle Buller, M.S., is the co-founder of Psychedelics Today, an education/media platform and weekly podcast that explores the science and culture of the emerging psychedelic field. Kyle earned his B.A. in Transpersonal Psychology from Burlington College, where he focused on studying the healing potential of non-ordinary states of consciousness by exploring shamanism, Reiki, local medicinal plants and plant medicine, Holotropic Breathwork. Kyle has been studying breathwork since October 2010 with Lenny and Elizabeth Gibson of Dreamshadow Transpersonal Breathwork. Kyle also earned his M.S. in Clinical Mental Health Counseling with an emphasis on Somatic Psychology. Kyle’s clinical background in mental health consists of working with at-risk teenagers in crisis and with individuals experiencing an early-episode of psychosis and providing counseling to undergraduate/graduate students in a university setting. See more at psychedelicstoday.com and ettingsunwellness.com
Ariel Clark is a founding partner of Clark Howell LLP, a women-owned and run law firm focused on the cannabis and hemp industries. The firm represents established and emerging cannabis businesses across the supply chain and provides advice on corporate governance, financing, business transactional matters, entity formation and operation, and local and state permitting and regulatory compliance. She has served in leadership in a variety of drug policy reform and cannabis and hemp business organizations including the Los Angeles Cannabis Task Force, Cannabis Business Council of Santa Barbara County, California Native American Cannabis Association, California Grower’s Association, and California NORML. Ariel has received many kind distinctions; she was named by Rolling Stone as one of 18 “women shaping the culture of tomorrow,” as one of the top 75 “most important women in cannabis” by Cannabis Business Executive, 30 “most powerful litigators” by MG Magazine, by National Law Journal with a Trailblazer award, and was included in Entrepreneur’s “top 100 cannabis leaders” in 2018. Ariel is very honored to be a member of Chacruna’s Council for the Protection of Sacred Plants.
Kat Conour is a psychotherapist, facilitator, and experiential educator currently being trained in Ketamine Assisted Psychotherapy and with MAPS to become an MDMA for PTSD therapy provider through Sage Integrative. With a background in non-profits, philanthropy, corporate consulting, and community organizing, Kat is passionate about supporting individuals and organizations in the psychedelic community turn their values and vision into aligned action. An Emergent Strategy fangirl, Kat recognizes that a movement is only as strong as the relationships upon which they are built. She currently serves as an Advisor to Auryn Fund which recently launched We Will Call It Pala, and focuses on ensuring that equity, ethics, and accessibility are embedded in practice within the scaling of psychedelic medicines. She also sits on the Advisory Board of the Chacruna Institute for Psychedelic Plant Medicines.
Jag Davies is a political and communications strategist with nearly two decades of professional experience advocating for equitable health-centered policies and ending mass criminalization. He is currently Director of Communications for the Fines and Fees Justice Center, which works to break the cycle of punishment and poverty in the United States. Jag previously served for ten years as Director of Communications Strategy and in other positions at the Drug Policy Alliance, the nation’s leading organization working to end the war on drugs, where he helped implement dozens of groundbreaking local, state and federal reforms. He also previously served as Director of Communications and in other positions at the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS) and as Policy Researcher for the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU). He is regularly quoted in a wide range of media outlets and his writings have appeared in the New York Times, Washington Post, New York Daily News, Playboy, The Hill, STAT, HuffPost, CNN.com, and numerous other publications.
Dawn D. Davis is a mother, a wife, and a PhD student at the University of Idaho in the Natural Resources program. Her current research uses GIS as one tool to analyze the environmental and anthropogenic issues that surround the revered peyote (Lophophora williamsii) plant, which is integral to her spiritual practice as a Shoshone-Bannock Tribal woman. She is a twice awarded National Science Foundation recipient as a fellow under the Integrative Graduate Education Research Traineeship and as an Indigenous Science Technology Engineering and Math scholar. Dawn has shared her research among Native American, academic, ethnobotanical, and psychedelic audiences nationally and internationally. Dawn is also Co-Editor for the Journal of Native Sciences and a Founding Director with Source Research Foundation.
Troy Dayton has spent his life building community and studying how people come to experience connection and belonging. He co-founded Students for Sensible Drug Policy which is now on more than 300 college campuses. Troy co-founded and until 2019, served as CEO of The Arcview Group, the first and largest consortium of cannabis investors. He is the former Director of Development at MAPS. Troy’s been leading workshops at Burning Man on creating immediacy and leading connection exercises to bond campmates at camps like Bumblepuss, Miscellaneous Heathens, Playa Alchemist, and others. He blogs about personal growth and Burning Man at Burner Love. Troy also co-founder Burner Map, social network of more than 100,000 Burning Man participants.
Celina De Leon is the director of Circle of Sacred Nature 501(c)3 church. She has long-standing relationships with the Kamentsa indigenous community of the Upper Putumayo of Colombia, with on-going partnerships spanning the past 10 years. Her work is dedicated to bridging indigenous wisdom to contemporary contexts while also fostering sustainable reciprocity. She is also a Stanford graduate, a Fulbright scholar, and she has a Masters in Divinity from the Graduate Theological Union.
Steve DeAngelo is a globally recognized cannabis leader who was dubbed “the father of the legal industry” by former Speaker of the California Assembly Willie Brown. As a lifelong activist, author, educator, investor, and entrepreneur, he has spent more than four decades on the front lines of the cannabis reform movement. His most notable business achievements include co-founding Harborside-one of the first six dispensaries licensed in the United States-now a publicly-traded company on the Canadian Securities Exchange; Steep Hill Laboratory, the first cannabis analytics company; and Arcview Group, the first dedicated cannabis investment network. He is author of The Cannabis Manifesto and an originator of the wellness approach to understanding cannabis. Media projects include the starring role in Weed Wars, produced by the Discovery Channel in 2011; Ask Steve DeAngelo, available on Green-Flower.com; and extensive appearances on CNN, FOX, MSNBC, CNBC, and The New York Times. Steve speaks widely on the topic of justice and believes that a profitable, ethical, politically engaged industry will be the most powerful force in spreading cannabis reform to every corner of the planet. As Founder of the Last Prisoner Project, he will not rest and will not stop until the last cannabis prisoner is free.
Amy Emerson is the Executive Director and Head of Clinical Development and Regulatory Affairs at the MAPS Public Benefit Corporation (MAPS PBC), a wholly owned subsidiary of the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS), a 501(c)(3) non-profit. As the Executive Director, Amy has lead the growth and development of this new subsidiary and is responsible for overall global regulatory strategy and implementation of research programs with a focus on the MDMA-assisted psychotherapy program within MAPS PBC. Amy started as a pro bono consultant at MAPS in 2003, and since then has built MAPS’ clinical department while managing the MDMA Clinical Development Program with a focus on the PTSD indication. In 2014, MAPS Public Benefit Corporation was incorporated to focus on psychedelic drug development, therapist training programs, and future sales of prescription psychedelics prioritizing public benefit above profit. Amy brings decades of pharmaceutical development and research experience in Phase 1 through Phase 3 Randomized Controlled Trials including supporting three successful regulatory approvals for new biologics. Her professional experience at Novartis, Chiron and other pharmaceutical companies (1993-2009) spans various fields including immunology, oncology and vaccines. Pursuing her love of science and nature cultivated while growing up in the woods of Alaska she earned her B.S. in genetics and cell biology from Washington State University in 1992 to prepare for a career in research. Amy is passionate about being a mother and the work of bringing the potential of psychedelics for healing further into the consciousness of the world, leaving a better world for the following generations. She has a lifelong love of travel, living abroad with her husband, exploring in nature and cooking with her family.
Belinda Eriacho is a from the Diné (Navajo) and Ashwii (Zuni Pueblo) lineages. Her maternal clan is “One-Walks-Around” and she is born for the Zuni people. Belinda was born and raised on the Navajo reservation in Arizona. She holds degrees in Health Sciences, Public Health, and Technology. Belinda participated in the MDMA Therapy Training for Communities of Color in August, 2018. Belinda has journeyed through her own inner and physical healing to find her gifts as a Healer and Wisdom Keeper.
Anya Ermakova has a motley background and broad research interests combining nature conservation, ethnobotany, neuroscience and psychiatry, interweaving and connecting these diverse paths through psychedelic science. Anya worked at the forefront of psychedelic research as a science officer at the Beckley Foundation, and has provided psychedelic welfare and harm reduction services with PsycareUK and Zendo.Deep love for nature and wildlife has motivated Anya to study biology at the University of Edinburgh, while a quest to understand altered states of consciousness has prompted her to specialise in neuroscience and later continued during her PhD in psychiatry at Cambridge, where she investigated the origins of psychosis. She then worked for the NHS, developing and trialing a new psychosocial intervention for psychosis. After a brief stint as a clinical trial manager, she had decided to pursue her passion for nature, by studying Conservation Science at Imperial College London, where she is currently studying peyote conservation in Texas.
Miguel Evanjuanoy Chindoy is a member of the Inga people from Putumayo, Colombia. He was born in a beautiful hilltop village part of an indigenous territory named Yunguillo, where the local cosmovision and collective work are the pillars of community life. Miguel is a community leader and environmental engineer and has been devote follower of yagé (ayahuasca) medicine since his childhood years. He acts as a spokesperson for the Union of Indigenous Yage Medics of the Colombian Amazon (UMIYAC). Specifically, his work focuses on the role that indigenous spirituality plays in territorial defence and environmental conservation. He is also interested in how yage medicine practiced by local, indigenous traditional healers contributes to peacebuilding, the improvement of community health, and the reconstruction of the social fabric in war torn rural Colombia. Recently Miguel has been speaking internationally about the impact that development models based on extractive economy and on the depletion of earth’s vital resources are having on the Amazonian biocultural ecosystems. On behalf of his organization and community, he is also taking a stand against cultural appropriation and the indiscriminate commercialization of indigenous practices and sacred plants, with the claim that this “marketed spiritualty” is negatively impacting both indigenous peoples and urban users alike.
Alli Feduccia, PhD is a neuropharmacologist, psychedelic researcher, and a builder of virtual and in-person communities. She is the Co-Founder and Director of Psychedelic.Support and Project New Day. In these roles, Alli facilitates the spreading of evidence-based knowledge, connection to resources, and strategies for communities to maximize the potential therapeutic benefits of psychedelics through safe and responsible practices. In 2009, she earned a PhD in Neuropharmacology from the University of Texas at Austin studying the effects of MDMA on behavior and neurochemical release. She was a postdoctoral researcher at the University of California, San Francisco and at the National Institutes of Health where she investigated treatments for substance use disorders. Her work at MAPS Public Benefit Corporation (2015-2020) focused on MDMA protocol designs, data analyses, scientific writing, and public education and outreach. Alli remains open to the unfolding of lessons of psychedelics and strongly believes plant medicines are an integral part to the evolution of our human species.
Kevin Feeney, PhD, JD, is a cultural anthropologist and lawyer currently working as a Program Director and Instructor in Interdisciplinary Studies – Social Sciences at Central Washington University. His primary research interests include examining legal and regulatory issues surrounding the religious and cultural use of psychoactive substances, with an emphasis on peyote and ayahuasca, and exploring modern and traditional uses of Amanita muscaria, with a specific focus on preparation practices. During the 2000s he served as Board President and as a general board member for Compassion Center, a medical marijuana clinic working to implement Oregon’s medical marijuana program in a manner that would maximize patient access and health outcomes. His experiences combined with his legal background led him to co-write Medical Marijuana Law with Richard Glen Boire in 2007. His research has also been published in the International Journal of Drug Policy, Journal of Psychoactive Drugs, Human Organization, and Curare, among other books and journals. He is a member of Chacruna’s Council for the Protection of Sacred Plants.
Dale Gieringer has been the state coordinator of California NORML (National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws) since 1987. He is also a member of the national NORML board of directors, and director of the Drug Policy Forum of California (DPFCA). Dr. Gieringer was one of the original co-authors of California’s medical marijuana initiative, Prop. 215, and the proponent of Oakland’s Measure Z cannabis initiative in 2004. He has published research on medical marijuana usage, marijuana smoke harm reduction, potency testing, marijuana and driving safety, and drug urinalysis, and has testified before the legislature and in court on issues concerning personal use of marijuana. He also co-sponsored a psychedelic summit to celebrate the 50th anniversary of LSD in 1993, with MAPS and Cal NORML.
Liana Gillooly is an accomplished activist and movement builder, who is dedicated to liberating the healing potential of psychedelics and ending the war on drugs. She is currently Development Officer at MAPS where she leads fundraising efforts. Liana is also the co-founder of Auryn Project, and founder of North Star, the first trade association for the psychedelic field, focused on the ethical stewardship of psychedelic commercialization. Liana actively advises multiple efforts in psychedelic decriminalization, drug policy reform, as well as startups, non-profits, and conferences operating in the realms of psychedelics, mental health and consciousness. Prior to MAPS, she helped grow the leading investment network for the emerging cannabis industry, The Arcview Group, where she also advocated for legalization, lobbied congress on behalf of the National Cannabis Industry Association, and supported the Marijuana Policy Project. Earlier in her career, Liana founded a visionary art gallery in Los Angeles, helped launch a non-profit providing psychedelic therapies to special forces veterans suffering from PTSD and TBI, and launched a conference bridging the realms of psychedelics and cryptocurrencies. Liana has been a featured speaker at TEDx, SXSW, Summit Series, Future Frontiers, Boom Festival, Symbiosis, Awakened Futures, and multiple documentaries and podcasts. She is trained in psychedelic peer support, death midwifery, and permaculture design, and attended Boston University where she studied International Relations.
Jesse Gould, Founder of Heroic Hearts Project, was born in Santa Fe, New Mexico and grew up in New Smyrna Beach, FL. In 2009 he graduated from Cornell University with a degree in Economics. After working in investment banking for a short time he enlisted in the Army and became an Airborne Ranger for four years and three combat deployments. After struggling with severe anxiety for many years, he finally decided to go to an ayahuasca retreat which has had a profoundly positive effect on his anxiety and daily life. During the week-long retreat, he instantly saw the healing potential of the drink and knew that it could be a powerful tool in healing the mental struggles of his fellow veterans. This experience inspired him to found Heroic Hearts Project, an organization that connects veterans in need of healing with ayahuasca therapy. Since its founding, Heroic Hearts Project has quickly become one of the most prominent veteran voices pushing for psychedelic based therapies.
Nicolle Greenheart is a Practice and Integration Facilitator and Community Steward for Sacred Garden Community. She is a co-founder and former Board Member of Decriminalize Nature, the non-profit that spearheaded the passing of the decriminalization Resolution in Oakland in June 2019. As an advocate for the use of sacred medicine for self-healing work Nicolle is working to de-stigmatize psychedelics and supports safe and equitable access to all who seek healing and transformation. As someone with a deep desire and calling to hold space for and support others on their self-discovery and personal healing journeys, Nicolle is especially committed to doing her own ongoing remembrance and healing work, with the intention of radical self-love, transformation, and awakening for the benefit of the collective consciousness.
Dr. Victoria Hale is a pharmaceutical scientist/executive and global health social entrepreneur. She is a member of the Board of Directors of MAPS. She served as founder & CEO of two successful nonprofit pharmaceutical companies, OneWorld Health (2000) and Medicines360 (2009). OneWorld Health was the first nonprofit pharmaceutical company in the US, focused on leishmaniasis, malaria and cholera; Meds360 developed a hormonal IUD for contraception. She has raised $230M in philanthropic funding, primarily from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. She has partnered with global pharmaceutical companies for drug discovery, manufacturing and commercialization of global health products. She is a MacArthur Fellow, was inducted into the US National Academy of Medicine, has been recognized as an outstanding global social entrepreneur by Skoll, Ashoka and Schwab Foundations. Her drug development experience was obtained at the FDA and Genentech, Inc. She earned her PhD in Pharmaceutical Chemistry from UCSF and is presently Adjunct Professor of Bioengineering and Experimental Therapeutics at UCSF. She lives in San Francisco and has raised two 20-somethings.
J. Hamilton Hudson is an attorney in the U.S. practicing in blockchain and psychedelics. He was born and raised in Hong Kong and lives in Chicago. He earned his JD with an MS in international development from Tulane University in New Orleans and his BA magna cum laude in anthropology from the University of Colorado, Boulder.
Rob Heffernan is an independent researcher and activist who has been involved in the vegetalismo, Santo Daime and other syncretic traditions since 2000. He has been involved with legal issues and organizing efforts in the Santo Daime and ayahuasca community for the last 12 years and has recently begun to speak and write about these matters publicly. He is part of Chacruna’s Council for the Protection of Sacred Plants. He is involved with integration work as a certified Shamanic Breathwork facilitator and a certified Integrative Sound and Music Practitioner (sound healing). This is complimented by a long term involvement with Buddhist Dharma. He has recently begun to write and speak about the integration of Buddhist Dharma and medicine work.
Christine Diindiisi McCleave, enrolled citizen of Turtle Mountain Ojibwe Nation, is Executive Director for the National Native American Boarding School Healing Coalition. McCleave was the Coalition’s first employee and has grown the organization since 2015. McCleave’s grandfather attended Marty Catholic Indian Boarding School in SD and Haskell Indian Boarding School in Kansas and her great grandfather attended Carlisle Indian School where he played football with Jim Thorpe. Boarding school’s inter-generational impacts on her personal life and children’s lives led McCleave to complete her Master of Arts in Leadership thesis on the spectrum of spiritual practices between traditional Native American spirituality and Christianity. Her research examined the legacy of Indian boarding schools on spiritual activities today, including peyote ceremony in the Native American Church, historical trauma, indigenous rights, and Indian activism today. McCleave also has a Bachelor of Science in Communication Studies from Northwestern College. She lives in Minneapolis, MN with her family.
Peter Hendricks, Ph.D., is Associate Professor in the Department of Health Behavior of the School of Public Health at the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB). He is a native of the Washington, D.C. area and graduated from the University of Virginia in 1998 with a bachelor’s degree in Psychology/Sociology. He received his doctorate in Clinical Psychology from the University of South Florida in 2006. As a doctoral student, Dr. Hendricks’ research focused on the treatment of cigarette dependence. Following a one-year clinical internship at the Durham Veterans Administration Medical Center, Dr. Hendricks completed a postdoctoral fellowship in Drug Abuse Treatment and Services Research at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF). While at UCSF, Dr. Hendricks continued to focus on the treatment of cigarette dependence, and extended his line of work to include both alcohol and cannabis use. Dr. Hendricks joined the faculty in the Department of Health Behavior of the School of Public Health at UAB 2010. Since this time, his research has centered on the development of novel and more effective treatments for substance dependence, with specific areas of focus on cigarette, cocaine, cannabis, opioid, and polysubstance dependence in vulnerable populations (e.g., individuals in the criminal justice system). Dr. Hendricks first developed an interest in the therapeutic application of psychedelics upon reading a contemporary study of the acute and longer-term effects of psilocybin among healthy volunteers (Griffiths et al., 2006). Since 2014 he has published over 15 peer-reviewed manuscripts relating to psychedelics, including population studies suggesting that psychedelics may be effective in preventing and treating substance use, criminal recidivism, psychological distress, and suicidality. Recently he proposed that the emotion awe represents the psychological mechanism underlying the effects of psychedelic-assisted psychotherapy. He is currently Principal Investigator of on ongoing pilot trial of psilocybin-assisted psychotherapy for cocaine dependence.
Julie Holland, MD is a psychiatrist specializing in psychopharmacology with a private practice in New York City. Her book “Weekends at Bellevue” chronicles her nine yearsrunning the psychiatric emergency roomas an attending physician on the faculty of NYU School of Medicine.Frequently featured on the Today show and CNN’s documentary series “Weed,” Holland is the editor of “The Pot Book” and “Ecstasy: The Complete Guide.” (Both books are non-profit projects that help to fund clinical therapeutic research.) Dr. Holland is the medical monitor for several MAPS PTSD studies utilizing MDMA-assisted psychotherapy or testing strains of cannabis with varying CBD/THC ratios. She has worked for decades on US drug policy reform based on harm reduction principles. Her 2016 book, “MoodyBitches:The Truth About The Drugs You’re Taking, the Sleep You’re Missing, the Sex You’re Not Having, and What’s Really Making You Crazy” has been translated into eleven languages. Dr. Holland sits on the Advisory Board of the Chacruna Institute for Psychedelic Plant Medicines.
Kufikiri Hiari Imara was born and raised in Oakland, California. He grew up in an Oakland very different than the one we see today, it was an Oakland with a broader and more embodied sense of community. He grew up the youngest in a household with parents who are both Bay Area natives, both of them born in San Francisco. As well, both his parents growing up were active in the Civil Rights and Black Power Movements of a San Francisco of the 1960’s & 70’s. So he grew up in a home and a community environment that strongly emphasized social awareness and social responsibility. Play that forward to an older, wiser individual who unfolded his path through a love of the arts, and his own personal healing/spiritual journey. That path lead him to volunteer work with Green Earth Poets Society bringing poetry to incarcerated African-American youth. He is one of the early members of the Entheogen Integration Circle, a support group in NYC with a focus on marginalized communities within the psychedelic community. He is currently involved with the Sacred Garden Community’s facilitators workshop to deepen his work as a ceremonial facilitator working with ethnically diverse communities. One of the reasons why he got involved with the Decriminalize Nature Oakland (DNO) initiative, is access. And as head of the DNO committee focused on Outreach, Education, & Access, he wants to see broad access when it comes to the opportunity to profoundly change one’s life for the better through working with entheogens. Paying special attention to Oakland’s ethnically diverse and marginalized communities, hes is actively working with individuals and organizations doing the work in these communities for a better tomorrow. He is staying actively engaged with the offices of Oakland city council members to see a better Oakland for all. Access has always been his message and was the focus of his talk when Ihe spoke at the CIIS/Chacruna Symposium Cultural and Political Perspectives on Psychedelic Science, August 2018 in San Francisco. As well as his talk hosted by the San Francisco Psychedelic Society, March 2019. He continues to work towards accessible choices for ethnically diverse and marginalized communities in their ability heal themselves.
Sandor Iron Rope is Oglala Lakota Oyate from Pine Ridge South Dakota. Mr. Iron Rope received his B.A. in Human Services and American Indian Studies from the Black Hills State University. He serves as President of the NAC of South Dakota and former chair of NAC of North America. He is also the executive director of ‘TTO’, a non-profit committed to peyote conservation and the preservation of Lakota Culture and Health. He is a member of the Board of Directors of the Indigenous Peyote Conservation Initiative.
Wahleah Johns is a member of the Navajo (Dine) tribe and comes from the community of Forest Lake, Arizona.
Matthew W. Johnson, Ph.D., is Professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at Johns Hopkins. He is one of the world’s most published scientists on the human effects of psychedelics. Matt earned his Ph.D. in experimental psychology at the University of Vermont in 2004, and has published >110 peer- reviewed articles. Working with psychedelics for 16 years, Matt published psychedelic safety guidelines in 2008, helping to resurrect psychedelic research. As principle investigator he published the first research on psychedelic treatment of tobacco addiction in 2014. Matt and colleagues published the largest study of psilocybin in treating cancer distress in 2016. His 2018 psilocybin abuse liability review recommended placement in Schedule-IV upon potential medical approval. He is principle investigator on funded studies investigating psilocybin in the treatment of opioid dependence and PTSD. Matt is also known for his behavioral economics research, including decision-making underlying addiction, tobacco regulatory science, and drug effects on sexual risk behavior. He has published studies on nearly all psychoactive drug classes. Matt was 2019 President of the Psychopharmacology and Substance Abuse Division of the American Psychological Association, and is current President of the International Society for Research on Psychedelics. He has received continuous NIH funding as principal investigator for > 12 years. He has reviewed for >75 journals and has served as guest editor on two special issues on psychedelics. Matt has reviewed grants for NIH, NSF, the US Military, and multiple governments outside of the US. He has provided invited presentations in 13 nations. Matt has been interviewed widely by
media including 60 Minutes, New York Times, Washington Post, Wall Street Journal, BBC, CNN, NPR, and Fox Business News. Matt’s research was featured on an episode of Breakthrough produced by Ron Howard on the National Geographic Channel, and in Michael Pollan’s book, How to Change Your Mind.
Matt Kahl is a veteran of the 101st Airborne Division, two tours to Afghanistan, and one medevac from theater. The drugs the doctors put him on for his injuries destroyed his life and he attempted suicide. In early 2014, he obtained one of the first R&D hemp licenses in the country and has used the full spectrum of cannabinoids to treat himself. Matt then started a nonprofit, Veterans for Natural Rights, a community support association for veterans. The organization lobbies for personal freedom, individual liberties and natural human rights. In late 2014, he got involved in politics and started pushing the legislature to pass a bill to allow cannabis therapy for PTSD. In 2017, he finally succeeded in pushing SB17-017, Allow Medical Marijuana Use For Stress Disorders. He was also instrumental in passing HB17-1313Civil Asset Forfeiture Reform, HB19-1234Regulated Marijuana Delivery, and HB19-1230Marijuana Hospitality Establishments. Most recently his efforts helped I-301 Decriminalize Psilocybin Mushrooms in the city of Denver to succeed. Matt has been pushing the boundaries of the drug war for years now, exploring cognitive liberty by journeying the world for access to schedule I natural medicines for PTSD. He was profiled on a series of TV shows, has been featured in two movies about illegal PTSD treatments such as ayahuasca and MDMA (Soldiers of the Vine and From Shock to Awe), and a few feature films about cannabis (such as Mile Marker and Growing Reason). Matt’s experiences with treating his PTSD with psychedelics and cannabis has made him become critical of the American industry military complex. He believes freedom is the birthright of every American and want to see it returned to the people of this nation.
Greg Kearns is a health care strategist with over 16 years of progressive leadership experience in strategic planning, business development and innovation roles within not-for-profit health systems. He recently founded Forth Road Health (forthroadhealth.com) – a boutique advisory firm which aims to assist stakeholders in the psychedelic community as they develop the infrastructure necessary for the successful integration of psychedelic medicines into the existing health care system. Forth Road is actively assembling a team of advisors with a broad array of expertise in the health care sector to support the numerous entities that plan to develop sites of care throughout the U.S. and internationally. Forth Road is committed to supporting projects that ensure the responsible stewardship of psychedelic medicines into the world – with a particular emphasis on access and affordability; quality and safety; and the collaborative advancement of science and research. Personally, Greg is excited by the promise that psychedelic medicines have to be used in a manner that goes far beyond the treatment of disease – and instead as powerful tools for humanity as we seek to tackle some of the most complex problems facing our civilization and planet today.
Patricia Kubala is a PhD candidate in socio-cultural anthropology at the University of California, Berkeley. Her research interests include the anthropology of religion, psychological anthropology and transcultural psychiatry, and the anthropology of the senses. Her dissertation, entitled The Medicine World: Psychedelics and the Hope for an Otherwise, explores the revival of interest in psychedelics in contemporary American society.
Dr. Beatriz Caiuby Labate (Bia Labate) is a queer Brazilian anthropologist who immigrated to the U.S. in 2017. She has a Ph.D. in social anthropology from the State University of Campinas (UNICAMP), Brazil. Her main areas of interest are the study of plant medicines, drug policy, shamanism, ritual, and religion. She is Executive Director of the Chacruna Institute for Psychedelic Plant Medicines (https://chacruna.net), an organization that provides public education about psychedelic plant medicines. She is Adjunct Faculty at the East-West Psychology Program and at the Integral and Transpersonal Program at the California Institute of Integral Studies (CIIS) in San Francisco. She is also Public Education and Culture Specialist at the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS). She is co-founder of the Interdisciplinary Group for Psychoactive Studies (NEIP) in Brazil, and editor of NEIP’s website (http://www.neip.info), as well as editor of the Mexican blog Drugs, Politics, and Culture (http://drogaspoliticacultura.net). She is author, co-author, and co-editor of twenty-one books, two special-edition journals, and several peer-reviewed articles (http://bialabate.net).
Ronan Levy is an entrepreneur and a visionary, and Co-founder and Executive Chairman of Field Trip Psychedelics Inc. Concurrent with his work at Field Trip, he is a partner at Grassfed Ventures, a venture capital and advisory firm focused on the cannabis and biotech industries and a Member of the Board of Directors for Trait Biosciences Inc., a leading biotech company in the hemp and cannabis industries. Prior to his current roles, Ronan co-founded Canadian Cannabis Clinics and CanvasRx Inc., the latter of which was acquired by Aurora Cannabis Inc. (NYSE: ACB) in 2016, after which he served as Senior Vice President, Business and Corporate Affairs for Aurora. A lawyer by training, Ronan started his career as a corporate lawyer at Blake, Cassels Graydon LLP and Legal Counsel at CTVglobemedia Inc. (now Bell Media Inc.) He holds a Juris Doctor and a Bachelor of Commerce degree, both from the University of Toronto.
Alia Lilienstein is a board-certified family medicine physician. She earned her B.A. in American studies from Georgetown University in 2002, where she studied social and cultural influences on health care. Prior to medical school, she earned her Master of Public Health in epidemiology and biostatistics in 2004 from the University of California, Berkeley, and worked in clinical research and development at Chiron (later Novartis). She received her M.D. in 2011 from Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York and completed residency training in family medicine at Cambridge Health Alliance, a Tufts- and Harvard-affiliated Accountable Care Organization. Before joining MAPS, Alia worked as a primary care doctor in Berkeley. Alia holds a certificate in Psychedelic-Assisted Therapies and Research from CIIS in San Francisco. As a family physician, Alia has borne witness to her patients’ struggles with the human condition and the effects these struggles have on their loved ones. She is passionate about helping develop better tools for psychological healing so that everyone may have the opportunity to approach themselves and others with empathy and love.
Mariavittoria Mangini, PhD, FNP has written extensively on the impact of psychedelic experiences in shaping the lives of her contemporaries, and has worked closely with many of the most distinguished investigators in this field. She is a founder of the Women’s Visionary Council, a nonprofit organization that supports investigations into non-ordinary forms of consciousness and organizes gatherings of researchers, healers, artists, and activists whose work explores these states. She is a Professor Emerita of Nursing at Holy Names University in Oakland, where she was the Director of the Family Nurse Practitioner program for 20 years. At present, she is the Associate Director of the Certificate in Psychedelic-Assisted Therapies and Research at California Institute of Integral Studies. Her current project is the development of a Thanatology program for the study of death and dying.
Mike Margolies is a psychedelic community catalyst and conversation creator. He has started and contributed to a number of projects as an event and media producer, connector, and advisor. Mike is the Founder of Psychedelic Seminars (psychsems.com), an educational event series where he has interviewed a range of leaders including Michael Pollan, Dr. James Fadiman, Ayelet Waldman, and Dr. Raquel Bennett. Mike founded the Baltimore Psychedelic Society and has sparked and mentored similar groups around the world from San Francisco to DC to Portugal. He is also Co-Founder of the CryptoPsychedelic Summit and former Co-Director of Psymposia. Previously, Mike worked as a chemical engineer for ExxonMobil. After an ayahuasca experience in Peru, he dropped out of corporate America, spent 15 months backpacking in India and Southeast Asia, and has worked full-time in the psychedelic community since returning.
Kevin Matthews is the former Campaign Director of Decriminalize Denver and the Co-Founder of the Society for Psychedelic Outreach, Reform, and Education (SPORE). He is committed to educating Americans and transforming public opinion in order to liberate and integrate the responsible use of psychedelics as a cultural necessity for health, mental wellness, inclusivity, and innovation. As a bridge-builder, he works with individuals, organizations, governments, and the communities they serve in order to bring awareness to psychedelics as tools, medicine, and potential solutions for society’s most complex problems.
Sean McAllister is one of nation’s leading drug policy reform lawyers. In 2004, after working for the Colorado Attorney General’s Office for several years, Sean opened a solo law practice focused on criminal defense and represented hundreds of people charged with state and federal drug crimes. That same year, he founded the drug policy reform non-profit Sensible Colorado. Sean served as the chair of the Board of Directors of Sensible Colorado while the organization co-chaired the Colorado recreational marijuana legalization campaign that voters passed in 2012. Sean has also worked on broader drug policy reform issues as a member of the Colorado Commission on Criminal and Juvenile Justice. Today, Sean’s law firm, McAllister Garfield, P.C., has 20 lawyers in four states working primarily on cannabis business law and licensing matters. As part of his work, Sean’s firm has sued regulators numerous times under the administrative procedures act, petitioned the DEA to reconsider a harmful CBD rule, and represented Native America Tribes attempting to participate in the cannabis and hemp industries. In addition to cannabis, Sean has consulted with the Decriminalize Denver campaign, which is the first ballot initiative in the U.S. designed to remove criminal penalties for the possession of psilocybin. Sean is a member of Chacruna’s Council for the Protection of Sacred Plants.
Josh Meadow is a community builder and events producer based in the Bay Area. He currently serves as Director of Events for the Chacruna Institute for Psychedelic Plant Medicines, and was lead producer and head of operations for the Psychedelic Liberty Summit, the largest virtual psychedelics conference ever held. The Summit brought together over 1300 attendees and 70 psychedelic visionaries, researchers, healers, veterans and indigenous leaders to explore the most important legal, cultural and political issues around the future of psychedelic medicine. Since 2018, Josh has served as Chief Operations Officer for Consciousness Hacking, a non-profit global community with over 50 chapters worldwide exploring the intersection of modern technologies, ancient wisdom and human flourishing. He has organized dozens of high production in-person and virtual events from 50-1000+ people, bringing together thought leaders, entrepreneurs and researchers at the leading-edge of human consciousness, spirituality, psychedelics and modern culture. Josh is the co-founder and executive producer of the Awakened Futures Summit, a highly interactive conference exploring how the renaissance of psychedelic science and mainstreaming of contemplative practices are combining with the latest transformative technologies to create the next paradigm of healing and awakening.
Eleonora Molnar is a psychotherapist, health care systems planner, and an independent researcher with interests in public and primary health, drug policy reform, and consciousness research. She studies ethical considerations and therapeutic approaches related to non-ordinary states of consciousness and healing. She currently maintains a private counselling practice and does independent consulting. Eleonora is the Executive Director of the Women’s Visionary Congress in Canada.
Ryan Munevar learned how grow psychedelic mushrooms 2010 while filming a documentary on Repeal Michigan, a statewide Initiative that tried to Legalize Cannabis in Michigan. In 2013, he returned to California and co-founded Monterey County NORML (National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws) to begin turning on the county and local cities with open source draft initiatives. Later, in 2015, he co-founded CannabisPermits.com and began winning local permits across the state. Ryan was given a percentage of Sugar Leaf Trading Company, as a reward for winning their permit in the city of Seaside, which opened for less than $400,000 on Father’s Day of 2018. After scoring a perfect 100% on compliance from the BCC, Sugar Leaf Trading Company sold to MedMen in 2019 for over $3,000,000. Ryan immediately took his shares and put them all towards setting up Decriminalize California to make sure that psychedelic mushroom lovers wouldn’t need to go through the same challenges the cannabis industry is going through right now with permitting, hyper overregulation, and sin taxing at every step of the way .With true decriminalization every person will be able to cultivate, manufacture, distribute, donate, possess, and consume psychedelic mushrooms in California. Mushrooms are the safest, most sustainable, cheapest medicine a person can grow themselves, either in their backyard or closet, and at a fraction of the cost of prescription medicines.
Danielle Negrin is the Executive Director of San Francisco Psychedelic Society, and on the founding team of Decriminalize Nature Oakland. Danielle specializes in building conscious community, providing psychedelic education, addiction recovery services and integration. Danielle was brought to this entheogenic advocacy work by experiencing a profound transformation overcoming dependency to substances and personal history getting off of psychiatric drugs. By discovering a unique path utilizing psychedelic medicine to heal herself, Danielle overcame a 12 year addiction and has dedicated her life to helping others with compassion and first-hand experience. Danielle facilitates psychedelic therapeutic use peer support groups and founded Psychedelic Recovery, a meeting network in the Bay Area for those using entheogens to aid and accelerate mental health, trauma recovery, personal development and freedom from problematic substance abuse behaviors.
Diana Negrín is a geographer and educator with a focus on identity, space and social justice movements. She is a native of both Guadalajara, Jalisco and the San Francisco Bay Area, and much of her scholarship and teaching is dedicated to the study of these two regions. Since 2003 she has conducted ethnographic and archival research in the Mexican states of Jalisco and Nayarit with a primary focus on the intersection between historical and contemporary constructions and contestations of race and citizenship. Her current research examines formations and ruptures within interracial and cross-geographic alliances that surround struggles over indigenous territorial and cultural rights. She is the author of Racial Alterity, Wixarika Youth Activism, and the Right to the Mexican City (University of Arizona Press, 2019).
Annie Oak is the founder of the Full Circle Tea House and the Women’s Visionary Council (WVC). The WVC produces the Women’s Visionary Congress, a gathering of psychedelic women and their allies. She is the author of the WVC’s Safety Tips for Participating in Ceremonies That Use Psychoactive Substances and is co-author of the Manual of Psychedelic Support. Annie is also a founding partner of Take 3 Presents, a San Francisco-based event production company that creates private, immersive art parties. She develops risk reduction and safety systems for participants including the creation of protocols to address conflict and sexual assault. When not producing events, Annie works with a human rights organization that analyzes state-sponsored violence and provides data analysis for truth and reconciliation commissions and the International Criminal Court.
Joseph Rhea is an attorney in Palm Springs, California. Joseph grew up in eastern North Carolina and received his Ph.D. in sociology from Harvard. He taught in the areas of inequality and social movement organization at Harvard and Arizona State University. He is author of Race Pride and the American Identity (2001). As a lawyer, Joseph first represented indigent defendants and then became very involved in cannabis legalization in California. Joseph is a member of Chacruna’s Council for the Protection of Sacred Plants. Joseph is always eager to help with legal issues regarding safe access and he is particularly interested in those projects that address inequalities of access.
Amy Rising has excelled in legislative consulting for the past nine years. Her passion to help fellow veterans heal is what led her to start advocating for veteran’s healthcare in 2010. As a legislative consultant, Amy has delivered pro-cannabis votes in both US houses and has helped guide senate leadership’s evolution on cannabis as it relates to public health and veteran’s healthcare.As an independent legislative consultant, Amy has been a successful advocate for veteran’s healthcare. In a conference with the Delaware state senate about VA healthcare, she successfully advocated for PTSD to be added to the state medical cannabis bill that was signed into law in 2011. In 2014, after successfully lobbying and testifying in front of the New York State senate, the New York medical cannabis bill was signed into law.Collectively, Amy has helped provide access to care to a million veterans in the states of New York and Delaware. Amy served in US Air Force from 2001 until 2005. She was stationed at the 15th OWS at TACC headquarters as a meteorologist from 2002 to 2005. She volunteers her time as legislative coordinator for Weed for Warriors. She holds a BS and a MPA from Park University.
Claudia Schwarz-Plaschg is a social scientist studying and intervening in the relationships between science, technology, medicine, and society. She is currently a postdoctoral researcher at the Department of Science and Technology Studies at the University of Vienna and a visiting researcher at MIT’s Program in Science, Technology, & Society. As part of her EU-funded Marie Skłodowska-Curie Fellowship, she explores how re-emerging research on and attempts towards medicalizing psychedelic substances relate to other models for how to legally and responsibly reintegrate psychedelics into society in the United States. In this context Claudia thinks about the evolving landscape of socio-psychedelic imaginaries, the role of psychedelics in times of (environ)mental crisis, and the subjectivities that psychedelics help to unearth and co-create. For the past twelve years, her research has focused primarily on the dynamics of emerging technoscientific fields, with an emphasis on the role of retro-prospective imaginations, governance processes, and public engagement. In addition to her academic activities, she has also worked as science communicator in the life sciences.
Troy The Last Captive of the Comanches. Taken in the old way by Eviyah when I was a teenager and brought into the Ohnononuh band of Nununuh as Kwihnia mahkweetsoi okweetuni “He who saves the eagle from the water.” Co-Founder ~ Co-Director of Sia: The Comanche Nation Ethno-Ornithological Initiative. As the only tribal feather repository in the United States, Sia gives access to all 574 Tribal Nations to legal feathers for ceremonial use to support their cultural sovereignty. We have bred thru artificial insemination more eagles released to the wild than anyone in history. Sia, means ‘feather’ in Comanche. Our repository is established on historic lands and sacred sites upon which the founders of the 1918 NAC Charter conducted ceremony and prayer meetings. The Comanche Native American Church 1918 Charter Association proclaims Sia as Piah Puha Kahni (Mother Church) & Santuary to the CNAC and the official repository and archive for material culture, photographs, documents and our songs. Our mission is the preservation through cultural understanding of the Eagle in History, Science and Spirit. The essence of the Eagle in traditional life is the basis for Sia’s commitment to the culturally based, spiritual needs of indigenous people.
Jack Silver is an attorney with the majority of his practice environmental. In addition to his environmental work he also helps guides and facilitators limit their potential personal and criminal liability. Jack was co-counsel in the successful Santo Daime case against DEA (Church of the Holy Light of the Queen v. Mukasey). Jack co-founded California River Watch and is still counsel to its board. Jack also sits on the boards of the Green Earth Foundation and Institute for Holotropics. Jack is a certified Holotropic Breathworker, Omotesenke licenced Tea instructor and holds the rank of sandan in Aikido. Jack is a member of Chacruna’s Council for the Protection of Sacred Plants.
Zara Snapp has a masters in public policy from Harvard University and a political science degree from the University of Colorado. She is the co-founder of Instituto RIA, a Mexican organization which undertakes drug policy advocacy and research. Zara has actively participated in the legislative process of regulating cannabis in Mexico and is the international advisor for Acción Técnica Social in Colombia. From 2014-2017, she formed part of the Secretariat of the Global Commission on Drugs. Zara presents and writes extensively on innovations in drug policy, particularly on the legal regulation of all psychoactive substances with a social justice framework and from a “producing” country perspective. Zara is the author of the Diccionario de Drogas, published in 2015.
Dr. Emma Stamm recently completed her Ph.D. in Cultural and Social Thought at Virginia Tech, where she teaches interdisciplinary courses on technoscience, culture, and politics. Her dissertation, “Hallucinating Facts: Psychedelic Science and the Epistemic Power of Data,” investigates the epistemology of digital methods through the lens of psychedelic research. She also serves as editor of SPECTRA, a peer-reviewed journal of the social sciences and humanities. Her academic interests include philosophy of technoscience, critical theory, and the psychedelic renaissance. She also writes fiction and music.
Bob Otis is a long time Steward of Oakland’s Sacred Garden Community, member of Chacruna’s Council for the Protection of Sacred Plants, and was the founding Chairperson of Decriminalize Nature Oakland. He is a clinical and molecular informatics researcher by day. Lifetime interest in diverse wisdom traditions was complemented by his Tennessee family’s medical, religious, and wild-crafting traditions. Family medical mission work in Asia, Central and South America exposed Bob to non-Western cultures and healing traditions at an early age. Over 35 years of personal and group experience with sacred plants and materials guide his passion for working with what he considers to be plant sacraments. Life changing early experiences led Bob to engage insight building and soul healing journeys overseas with his father, independently and with others, including journeys to and within Brazil, Mexico, India, Indonesia and other areas. Bob sought related guidance, was educated directly by and practiced with recognized leaders in the field including Frank Barron, Wendy Doniger, Troy Duster, Rob Montgomery, Sasha and Anne Shulgin, Jonathon Ott, Terrence McKenna, Christian Ratsch (Palenque ’98) and others. Following Psychology and Religious studies degrees from University of California Santa Cruz, Bob earned a Masters degree in Divinity from University of Chicago. Post-graduate cognitive science studies at New York University led to professional work in life science informatics. In addition to sacred plant learning, teaching and conservation, Bob’s passions include mindfulness meditation, epistemology, gardening, bicycling, and playing his Grandma’s violin. Bob is committed to growing respectful access to traditional plant sacraments and to their newly recognized relatives. He recognizes these plants as healing sacraments, properly venerated by ancient, living and emerging syncretic traditions.
Allan Steiner spent the three years following the 2016 election providing risk assessment to cannabis entrepreneurs, providing him with a unique perspective on what the psychedelic movement might expect moving forward. As an early participant in the Decriminalize Nature movement, Allan has functioned as a conduit for connection, providing insight into ways we can work together to embody the change we want to see. In an effort to further cognitive and physical liberty, Allan aims to empower the psychedelic movement with the policy and regulatory experience of the cannabis industry.
Mareesa Stertz is an LA/Oakland based filmmaker, community organizer, and KRI-certified Kundalini Yoga Teacher who’s spent most of her life unraveling the impact of trauma on the human psyche. Her quest has taken her around the world, filming the work of shamans in Peru, psychedelic guides in the Netherlands, and holy men in India for her documentary series on Gaia TV, ‘The Healing Powers (of psychedelics and other mindful practices)’. She programs speakers and events for LA based Aware Project, is one of the founders and contributors of Lucid News, and is the founder and organizer of the Psychedelic Leadership Summits. Her work has been featured by Viceland, Gaia TV, NBC Universal, IFC, Participant Media, and at numerous film festivals around the world.
Martin Terry DVM, PhD, DABVT, studied English literature, biology, veterinary medicine and toxicology at Harvard and Texas A&M. He has a doctoral degree in botany with broad interests in cacti, ethnobotany, archaeobotany, phytochemistry, population genetics, molecular biology, and conservation biology. He taught in the Department of Biological, Geological and Physical Sciences, Sul Ross State University in Alpine, Texas, and contributed many specimens to the A. Michael Powell Herbarium (SRSC). He enjoys guiding students in their research and collaborating with colleagues from around the world in cactus research projects. His academic interests in cacti and his passion for protecting vulnerable species of cacti, including peyote, dovetail effectively with his activities as President of the Cactus Conservation Institute (www.cactusconservation.org). He currently is also a consultant for the Indigenous Peyote Conservation Initiative (IPCI).
Daiara Tukano – Duhigô is a member of of the Tukano indigenous people, the Yé’pá Mahsã, clan, and the Eremiri Hãusiro Parameri of the Alto Rio Negro in the Brazilian Amazon. She was born in São Paulo, Brazil. She is an artist, activist, educator, and communicator. She holds a master’s in human rights from the University of Brasília – UnB, and is a researcher on the right to the memory and truth of indigenous peoples. She is Coordinator of Radio Yandê, the first indigenous web-radio in Brazil: www.radioyande.com. She studies the culture, history, and traditional spirituality of indigenous people and their environment. She currently resides in Brasilia, DF.
Ruth Valdizon is a spiritual practitioner of the peyote road for more than 30 years and has been of service as a “water woman” for various spiritual leaders of the NAC. She is an educator and earned her Masters Degree in Special Education while raising five children. Her and her husband, David Marbain envisioned the conservation of the peyote cactus due to its decline and unsustainable harvests for consumption. Her main concern while witnessing the decline of the wild peyote populations is to preserve its natural habitat, inspire conservation by consumers and find solutions and alternatives for propagation. Ruth advocates and respects the native base cultural use of peyote for ceremonial purposes with an emphasis on conservation. Throughout her life, Ruth has been an enthusiastic advocate of social justice and human rights. She has worked in major political movements affecting social change: as a community organizer in the United Farm Workers Union, and as an advocate for migrant workers. As a Guatemalan native, she has also worked in various non-profit organizations to stop military aid to Central America, whilst educating the public on human rights and social justice. She brings her passion and vigor to the mission of MSC as an environmentalist, conservationist, and believer in the use of plants as spiritual guides and medicine.
Riccardo Vitale is an Italian anthropologist, with more than 15 years of continuous fieldwork experience in Latin America. He earned a PhD from Cambridge University with a thesis about the Zapatista movement in Chiapas, Mexico. His expertise covers human rights, anthropology in armed conflict, social movements, indigenous politics, gender relations within social movements, sustainable development, resilience, climate change adaptations and indigenous practices of yagé medicine, spirituality and resistance. Riccardo is a former adviser of a plethora of international humanitarian and development bodies such as: Oxfam America, the UNHCR, the Norwegian Refugee Council, ICG and GIZ, amongst others. Since 2016 Riccardo works as a fulltime adviser for the Union of Indigenous Yagé Medics of the Colombian Amazon (UMIYAC). His tasks within UMIYAC range from fundraising to advocacy, to capacity strengthening, and non-extractive (“the-other-way-around”) research, aimed at “reinforcing indigenous communities, rather taking from them”. His current areas of work include: the use of indigenous spiritual practices and yagé (ayahuasca) as peacebuilding tools; the indigenous, local use of yagé to heal war traumas; the role of yagé medicine in territorial defence; and the effects of the cultural appropriation and commercialization of traditional knowledge and practices.
Miriam Volat is Soil Scientist and Co-director of the Riverstyx Foundation. She works personally and professionally to promote health in all systems. She works as a facilitator, researcher, educator, and community organizer to increase broad-based community and ecological resiliency, especially in native communities. Her work focuses on the intersection of biological and socio-cultural diversity. Miriam has never stopped exploring nutrient cycles and soil ecology, the emphasis of her M.S. work in the UC Davis Vegetable Crops Dept. She also has degrees in Political Science and Environmental Studies. Her life’s work at Riverstyx now includes supporting psilocybin and MDMA research including those involving religious clergy, deep eco-ministry for direct-experience religious transformation, composting toilets and human bodies, and indigenous medicine, land, and cultural conservation, supporting balanced relationships between humans and our ecosystem. As a Mom, she is fortunate her daughter, Cora, also supports her work and participates passionately on her many adventures.
Monnica T. Williams is a board-certified licensed clinical psychologist and Associate Professor at the University of Ottawa in the School of Psychology, where she is the Canada Research Chair for Mental Health Disparities. She is also Clinical Director of the Behavioral Wellness Clinic in Connecticut, where she provides supervision and training to clinicians for empirically-supported treatments. Dr. Williams has previously served as the Director of the Center for Mental Health Disparities at the University of Louisville and as faculty at the University of Pennsylvania Medical School. Dr. Williams’ research focuses on African American mental health, culture, and psychopathology, and she has published over 100 scientific articles on these topics. Current projects include the assessment of race-based trauma, unacceptable thoughts in OCD, improving cultural competence in the delivery of mental health care services, and interventions to reduce racism. This includes her work as a PI in a multisite study of MDMA-assisted psychotherapy for PTSD. She also gives diversity trainings nationally for clinical psychology programs, scientific conferences, and community organizations. Dr. Williams is on the Board of Directors of the Chacruna Institute for Psychedelic Plant Medicines.
Emily Williams, MD is a psychiatrist, researcher, and educator based in San Francisco, California. She is an ardent advocate for psychedelic medicine and has worked on multiple clinical trials investigating psychedelic-assisted psychotherapy – including both MDMA and psilocybin. She is a member of the clinical research team for the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS) at the San Francisco Insight and Integration Center. Additionally, Emily has a private practice in San Francisco, CA and is an attending psychiatrist at the University of California, San Francisco and Zuckerberg SF General Hospital in Psychiatric Emergency Services. She holds multiple mentorship and teaching roles including at the California Institute of Integral Studies in the Center for Psychedelic Therapies and Research and the School of Consciousness and Transformation.
Todd Youngs is a recovering alcoholic and addict who has been free from his addictions for over 10 years. He is a recovery coach and works intensively with others using multiple treatment modalities. He is active in his local recovery community as well as in the sobriety movement more broadly. Recently he has begun working with Project New Day as part of that Foundation’s efforts to conceptualize and implement new approaches to addiction. He is a joyful member of an Ayahuasca church and he takes special care to build healthy bridges with other traditions.
Bennet A. Zelner, Ph.D. teaches economics and global business at the Robert H. Smith School of Business at the University of Maryland, College Park. He is also co-founder of the Transformative Capital Institute, which funds and collaborates on projects supporting the emergence of regenerative communities and the production of wellness. Bennet researches and advises on inclusive economic development, regenerative economics, institutional change, and delivery-of-care models for psychedelic-assisted mental healthcare. He has presented at numerous conferences, including the International Forum on Consciousness, Horizons, and the MAPS Psychedelic Science Summit. Bennet serves as adviser to the Usona Institute; sits on the economic advisory board for the MIND European Foundation for Psychedelic Science; and serves on the board of advisors for Enthea, an insurance company for consciousness-focused healthcare including psychedelic-assisted therapy. He received his Ph.D. from the University of California, Berkeley, and his undergraduate degree from Brown University. Bennet previously taught at Georgetown University and Duke University.
Sponsorship Opportunities Available
Sponsorship helps Chacruna to make this conference affordable and accessible to the public and ensures a diversity of speakers and voices are heard. We have intentionally kept ticket prices low given the high costs of organizing an event in San Francisco.Sponsors receive recognition for their support of Psychedelic Liberty Summit at the event, on our social media channels, on our conference website, and in the video recordings of the event. All sponsorship donations are tax-deductible as a donation through our fiscal sponsor, the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS), a 501(c)(3) non-profit research and educational organization. Please email Bia Labate at: [email protected] with inquiries regarding sponsorships.
Beckley Foundation, California NORML, Canadian Drug Policy Coalition, Consciousness Hacking, Decriminalize Denver, Decriminalize Nature Oakland, Drogas, Política y Cultura, Drug Policy Alliance, Horizons, Instituto RIA, Maloca Internacionale, Modern Spirit, Morning Star Conservancy, NEIP, Nierika, Psychedelic Seminars, The Psychedelic Society, Psychedelic Support, Psychedelics Today, Sacred Garden Community, Sage Integrative Health, San Francisco Psychedelic Society, Source Research Foundation, The California Psilocybin Decriminalization & Research Initiative 2020, The Huichol Center, Transform Drug Policy Foundation, Transnational Institute, Psychedelic Times, OPEN Foundation, Women’s Visionary Council, Brooklyn Psychedelic Society, Oregon Psilocybin Society, Fluence, Edelic, Plant Medicine Podcast, Thank You Plant Medicine, Autistic Psychedelic Community, Lucid News, Heroic Hearts Project, Queerdome and Wixárika Research Center
Disclaimer: Chacruna is not endorsing sponsors regarding their mission or activities. Sponsorship does not include any decision-making influence on the content of any Chacruna event or publication, or any decision-making authority regarding Chacruna policies or actions. Every individual can and should make their own determination on the credibility or value of each sponsor and we solicit your respectful feedback regarding any concerns. The inclusion of links to other sites does not necessarily imply a recommendation or endorsement of the views expressed within them. Although legal issues will be discussed at the conference neither Chacruna nor any of the speakers are providing legal advice to participants. All conference presentations and materials are educational in nature. Chacruna does not advocate any entity violate state, federal, or local laws.
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