Medicinal marijuana was a stepping stone towards legalization. Next step — at least according to drug activist Dana Larsen — medicinal microdoses of psilocybin.
In 2008, Larsen opened a medical marijuana dispensary in Vancouver as an act of civil disobedience. While he was arrested (with charges eventually dropped), his dispensary proved a model for many others. He gave thousands of tours and encouraged people to start their own. Now that pot is legal, Larsen is on to his next project, the Medicinal Mushroom Dispensary. This is a mail order business and serves all of Canada (but only Canadians), with a Vancouver storefront in the works. You do need a doctor’s recommendation to become a member. The microdoses of encapsulated psilocybin are available in a few different strengths, with a suggestion of dosing twice per week.
The MMD website lists ailments that qualify for treatment (editor’s note: most people would qualify): ADHD Anxiety Disorder Substance Addiction/Withdrawal Cluster Headaches Depression Migraines PTSD Sleep Disorders AIDS/HIV Cancer Fibromyalgia Multiple Sclerosis Pain – Chronic Paraplegia/Quadriplegia Severe or terminal illness
Although MMD only serves Canadians, will Oakland and Denver — both of whom recently decriminalized medicinal mushrooms — offer something along this model in the future?
The Atlantic Magazine called Tristan Harris “the closest thing Silicon Valley has to a conscience.” Harris, formerly a “Design Ethicist” for Google and recently co-founder of the Center for Humane Technology delivered deeply provocative and crystal-clear testimony to the Senate Commerce Committee about how the business model of social networking companies are invested towards maintaining a subversive, imbalanced relationship with users and how these companies sell predictions about our future choices and identities before we we even know. As my friend wrote Jesse Stout summarizes: “It’s not the tech, it’s the business model. Extractive incentives inevitably create dystopia.”
I grew up in Alabama and I love the rivers, the sweet tea, the y’alls, the bless your hearts and of course the fireflies and honeysuckle. But I’ve rarely loved Alabama politics, chock full of hypocrites, corruption and religious zealots. And today they outlawed basically all abortion, including cases of rape. Remember, this doesn’t mean that politicians and other folks of privilege won’t have access to abortions for themselves or their mistresses or daughters or whatever. The legislators are above this law, and there is a long history of pro-life politicians who encouraged their extra-marital affairs to have abortions. Like Tim Murphy and Scott DesJarlais.
From my understanding, the law won’t go into effect for six months, and it (or another state) will likely end up in the Supreme Court’s lap in the future to challenge Roe v Wade.
Anyway, I just donated to the Alabama ACLU and The Yellowhammer Fund (which assists women in Bama with medical costs, travel and a place to stay, if they need and/or want an abortion). Maybe you could support these organizations and others like it too?
I look forward to the day when psychedelic medicines like psilocybin, having proven their safety and efficacy in F.D.A.-approved trials, will take their legal place in society, not only in mental health care but in the lives of people dealing with garden-variety unhappiness or interested in spiritual exploration and personal growth.
My worry is that ballot initiatives may not be the smartest way to get there. We still have a lot to learn about the immense power and potential risk of these molecules, not to mention the consequences of unrestricted use. It would be a shame if the public is pushed to make premature decisions about psychedelics before the researchers have completed their work. There is, too, the risk of inciting the sort of political backlash that, in the late 1960s, set back research into psychedelics for decades. Think of what we might know now, and the suffering that might have been alleviated, had that research been allowed to continue.
Psychedelic psilocybin is now decriminalized in Denver, via a voter-approved initiative. It is now the lowest law enforcement priority, and the city is prohibited “from spending resources to pursue criminal penalties related to the use or possession of psilocybin mushrooms among people 21 and older.
Is this likely to happen in other places? Props to the activists who made this happen. Even in Trump’s America, local politics can lead to progress.