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Ending the Prohibition of the Mind: A Mushroom Symposium

Virtual Event Virtual Event

April 19 @ 7:00 pm 9:00 pm EDT

Join us as we explore the movement to decriminalize psilocybin, the challenges faced, and the way forward. This virtual event aims to connect local proponents to a larger movement, and give participants information, advocacy tools, and connections to pursue advocacy in this area. Co-sponsored by Collar City Mushrooms and the Peoples Health Sanctuary. Watch the recording below; see the Zoom chat here!

Psilocybin, the naturally occurring compound found in “magic mushrooms,” was banned by the federal 1970 Controlled Substances Act. It was classified as a Schedule I controlled substance that has “no accepted medical use and a high potential for abuse.” 

Within the past ten years however, research from institutions like NYU, Johns Hopkins, Imperial College and others have consistently demonstrated psilocybin’s ability to help treat conditions like depression, anxiety, OCD, substance dependency, and many others.

This research has propelled a grassroots movement to decriminalize psilocybin starting in the late 2010s, with Denver, Colorado becoming the first city to do so in May 2019. Other cities have followed suit, such as Oakland and Santa Cruz, CA, Washington, D.C., and Somerville and Cambridge, MA. There are now more than 100 cities and close to a dozen states, including New York, considering either decriminalization or legalization of psilocybin.

Like any movement to change laws, there are several factions with often complementary but sometimes competing strategies and arguments. This panel will seek to discuss some of these issues, such as:

  • Should psilocybin use be limited to strictly medical use, especially considering how expensive and ineffective our current healthcare system is?
  • What are the differences between medical use, therapeutic use, and adult use?
  • Who will have access to psilocybin? Who will be allowed to start psilocybin-related businesses?
  • Should the movement to decriminalize psilocybin be a part of the broader movement to decriminalize all drugs?
  • How can we honor the cultural value of psilocybin to indigenous peoples who have been using psilocybin for centuries, and preserve peoples’ ability to use the substance in its purest form found in nature; while others claim concern over quality control and dosage and pursue efforts to extract psilocybin and turn the substance into a commercially-produced “medicine”? 

….and many more.

Guest Speakers include:

Dee Dee Goldpaugh, LCSW, psychotherapist, educator, activist

Dee Dee Goldpaugh, is a psychotherapist, educator, and activist in Woodstock, NY. Dee Dee specializes in Psychedelic Integration Therapy with a focus on LGBTQIA+ people as well as survivors of sexual trauma. They are a member of the Ketamine-Assisted Psychotherapy team at the Woodstock Therapy Center and they are the Community Integration and Support Director of the Hudson Valley Psychedelic Society. Dee Dee has taught and published widely on psychedelics and mental health, sexuality, and trauma.

Hadas Alterman, attorney, Plant Medicine Law Group

Hadas is an Israeli-American attorney, born in Jerusalem and raised in the San Francisco Bay Area. Hadas advises companies on matters of regulatory compliance, corporate transactions, policy advocacy, strategic planning, governance, and dispute resolution. She was the Policy Director of NYMHA, an organization that she co-founded that successfully lobbied for the introduction of a New York bill to decriminalize psilocybin. She is a Board Member of the American Psychedelic Practitioner’s Association and a Founding Board Member of the Psychedelic Bar Association. Hadas serves on the Equity Subcommittee of the Oregon Psilocybin Advisory Board.

Noah Potter, consultant, Legal Market Strategies

Brooklyn-based Noah Potter is a psychedelic policy consultant who joined the psychedelic legalization movement in 1993. He writes the blog Psychedelic Law. He has worked to call attention to the racial disparities of drug law enforcement, and in 2020 co-founded an advocacy group dedicated to psychedelic law reform in New York. He has advised the Decriminalize Denver campaign, and advocates immediate, safe, and equitable (affordable, culturally-relevant, and non-exploitative) access to a psychedelic experience for anyone anywhere who could benefit from it.

Dmitri Mugianis, activist, musician, poet, writer, and psychedelic practitioner

Dimitri Mugianis is an activist, musician, poet, harm reductionist and writer with over two decades of experience as a frontline harm reduction worker and psychedelic practitioner. He is a co-founder of Cardea. Dimitri’s story and work have been featured in numerous media outlets including The New York Times, Village Voice, Rolling Stone, NPR’s This American Life, VICE HBO, The Daily Beast, and Crimetown podcast. He was the subject of the 2009 documentary “Dangerous with Love” by Michael Negroponte. He has written for Chacruna, Salon, The Guardian, and Jacobin.

Pamela Jackson, Founder and Director, Psychedelic Sisterhood

Pammy Jackson is the founder and executive director of the womxn-led, not-for-profit organization, The Psychedelic Sisterhood. Pammy started The Psychedelic Sisterhood to provide womxn with a safe space to discuss, learn, and share experiences about the healing power of psychedelics and reclaim the association of medicinal plants as their original indigenous source; offering an inclusive environment to thrive and grow.The Psychedelic Sisterhood also collaborates with like-minded organizations for psychedelic advocacy and to support drug policy reform.

Linda Rosenthal, NYS Assemblymember, sponsor of A6065

Assemblymember Linda B. Rosenthal represents the 67th Assembly District, which includes the Upper West Side and parts of Hell’s Kitchen. Since taking office in 2006, Assemblymember Rosenthal has passed more than 140 laws that have helped to improve the lives of all New York State residents. In 2021, Assemblymember Rosenthal passed legislation into law establishing a medication assisted treatment program for people battling a substance use disorder in state and local correctional facilities. She also is the sponsor of legislation to authorize safer consumption sites throughout New York State, a cause she has championed since 2016. Assemblymember Rosenthal sponsors two bills related to psilocybin: A6065, which would decriminalize psilocybin by removing it from the list of scheduled substances; and A7928, which would establish the psychedelic research institute and the psychedelic substances therapeutic research program charged with studying and providing recommendations regarding the use of psychedelic substances in the treatment of addictive disorders, depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, end-of-life anxiety and other pertinent outcomes.

Pat Burke, NYS Assemblymember, sponsor of A8569

Pat Burke hails from Buffalo and was first elected to represent the 142nd Assembly District in 2019. Assemblymember Burke’s notable legislative accomplishments include a ban on microbead plastics, a repeal of Sunday Blue Laws, a million-dollar emergency fund created to combat the opioid crisis and the formation of the Erie County Broadband Committee. He also introduced legislation that would make the pharmaceutical industry pay its fair share to keep our local drinking water free of medical waste, and not pass the burden onto taxpayers. Assemblymember Burke sponsors A8569, a bill that would amend the public health law to allow for the medical use of psilocybin in a tightly controlled set of circumstances.

Moderators:

Corinne Carey, co-moderator

Corinne Carey is a lawyer and a political and public affairs strategist who takes on bold public health initiatives backed by sound evidence and human rights principles. Her policy work is grounded in her long history in the harm reduction movement. She founded and directed the Harm Reduction Law Project, and has also worked for Human Rights Watch and the New York Civil Liberties Union. She serves as the state director for Compassion & Choices in New York, and also works as a political & public affairs correspondent for the Hudson Mohawk Magazine.

Aileen Javier, co-moderator

Aileen Javier is a Community Health Worker, an Outreach Educator, and a family advocate. She is passionate about fomenting community health by supporting and empowering people to successfully navigate the local social and health care system. Aileen collaborates with the Sanctuary for Independent Media’s NATURE Lab on its newest initiative: the People’s Health Sanctuary, and she is also a radio producer for the Hudson Mohawk Magazine, producing news segments on housing and local health resources.

Listen to Interviews:

Logo for Collar City Mushrooms
Logo for Plant Medicine Law Group

Suggested Background Reading:

Three Bills Seek to Shift Psychedelics Policy in New York State by Noah Daly in Lucid News (March 23, 2022)

Could Magic Mushrooms Become the Next Marijuana? by Tyler Wetherall in the Albany Times Union (December 15, 2021) 

Noah Potter’s blog, PsychedelicLaw.com, particularly this article: Psychedelic legalization now

Psychedelic Markets of the Future, by Noah Potter 

What About Those” Mushrooms? by Avery Stemple, Collar City Mushrooms

The “Equity Elephant”: Why Psychedelic Mutualism and Cooperatives are Crucial for an Accessible Future by Colin Pugh in Psychedelics Today (April 19, 2021)

Global Coalition Launches Push To Reschedule Psilocybin Under International Rules, by Kyle Jaeger (January 11, 2022) 

Cosmic Queries – The Fungus Among Us with Merlin Sheldrake, podcast with Astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson (July 21, 2021)

A Conversation with Robin Divine, founder of Black People Trip on the Psychedelics Today podcast (August 10, 2021) 
Psychedelic Exceptionalism and Reframing Drug Narratives: An Interview with Dr. Carl Hart, by Sean Lawlor in Psychedelics Today (February 18, 2020)

This Bicycle Day, Celebrate Albert Hofmann’s Psychedelic Discovery. by Mary Jane Gibson in Rolling Stone (April 19, 2020)

We are committed to lowering the barriers to access for events at The Sanctuary for Independent Media. For people who are hard of hearing or deaf, blind or low-vision, or whose physical limitations can interfere with a satisfying experience, let us know two weeks in advance so we can make appropriate arrangements.

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