Last week Vice ran a headline that read: Psychedelics Are a Billion-Dollar Business, and No One Can Agree Who Should Control It
We fixed it a bit:
Anyone who has watched the corporatization of cannabis over a really short period of time is likely feeling a bit cringy at the sudden rush of investors, lawyers, marketers, and eventually regulators bearing down on the typically low-key, trust-based, anonymity of the psychedelics space.
There is a very fine line that we walk as advocates for entheogens where we want to scream the praises to the masses, but we also want it to remain a natural, personal, semi-mystical thing.
The fact of the matter is that the pieces are already in play when it comes to the mainstreaming of psychedelics like psilocybin mushrooms and since we live in the late stages of the slow death of traditional capitalism, there are already plenty of slick-suited dudes who microdosed once at Coachella lining up to “control” the psychedelic market.
The comparisons of the seemingly sudden embracing of entheogen therapy to the rapid rise in popularity and acceptance of cannabis are certainly fair, especially given the proximity of the timing in the grand scale of the universe, but in our opinion, the impact that psychedelics are going to have on society as a whole will far, far outweigh that of cannabis, and you know how much we love and respect cannabis.
So, while we will continue to excavate the truth out from under the profiteers sure to come, we understand that this movement doesn’t need anyone to “control” it, but we do need leaders and those leaders must be from the frontlines of this long misunderstood struggle.
With social acceptance and loosening of laws comes space for such leaders to emerge from the shadows… shadows where they have been operating for years in good faith with a simple mission of helping others understand the many benefits of entheogens.
Providing such a space earlier this month was the Oakland Psychedelic Conference, hosted by the team from Oakland Hyphae at the Starline Social Club on September 18th and 19th.
With dozens of grassroots speakers lined up for intriguing panel discussions over the course of two days, we had to check it out so we sent Jeff over there on a little…. trip.
OAKLAND PSYCHEDELIC CONFERENCE 2021
What can we say? It was one of those “You kinda had to be there” events, with thought-provoking quotes flying around not only at the panel discussions, but in the aisles and halls of the venue as attendees and speakers alike shared their collective experiences with various psychedelic plants and fungi.
While making the rounds at the event, Jeff ran into one of our friends and respected colleagues from the cannabis space, Luna Stower who was gracious enough to share her thoughts on it all with us, saying, “What drew me to it was I am all about the opening of the consciousness, the healing of past traumas, and the bucking of the drug war and the oppressive notion that by ‘freeing your mind’ that you are going to lose it! When, really, you only gain your mind by freeing it. So, I really like the entheogen community because it provides a space outside of typical pharmacopeia perspectives.”
This was a recurring theme among the dozens of interactions that Jeff had throughout the day at the conference, even given the wide range of afflictions that people were trying to treat.
What many of us have in common is a frustration for a medical system that insists on waiting until you are physically injured or diseased before they start racking up their insane bills to “care” for you.
Mental problems? Good fucking luck.
Our parents’ generation turned to alcohol, we are turning to entheogens, and now generations of healing can finally begin.
This personal anecdote from Luna, and others, is reminiscent of the countless reports we got back about our full-spectrum cannabis oil providing hope where it had been lost, however, as the Vice article coldly reminds us, there is Big Business to be had in the entheogen space.
So, we asked Stower what advice she’d give to those looking to build a brand there, and no surprise but it sounds a lot like the prudent advice you’d give a cannabis startup.
“The main lessons that they need to learn is that they will need a lot of capital going into this,” Stower told us, adding, “they will not have any IP protections because if it is still a federal Schedule I substance they are not recognized in any trademarking so people need to realize that they will have no intellectual property rights. I think they also need to be careful, even if they have NDAs, to not share any information with anyone that they do not trust because it will be stolen. Also, investors are not your friends, they are usually just trying to make money off of you.”
Well, damn, that doesn’t sound like a happy trip! It is absolutely sound advice though, and Stower sums it up perfectly saying, “Be active in local politics, beware of snakes in the grass, and keep your cards close to your chest.”
Along with no-holds-barred business talk, the Oakland Psychedelic Conference featured panels with eye-catching titles like Fuck Big Pharma: Plants and Healing Communities, and This Isn’t a White Thing: Decolonizing Plant Medicine, and You Are a Mushroom Having a Human Experience, to name just a few.
This Black-led and organized event, and the incredibly diverse crowd that it drew, invited would-be frauds to take a look at the deep and powerful waters they are thinking of wading into and even warned them of the drowning atonement that they’ll bring upon themselves if they dare try to “control” any aspect of it.
AND THE WINNER IS… THE PSYCHEDELIC COMMUNITY!
Another cool portion of the Oakland Psychedelic Conference was the release of the results from the Psilocybin Fall Cup which saw 76 different entries from leading mycologists who had their samples analyzed for both psilocybin and psilocin content in order to determine the winners.
SPOILER ALERT: WE ALL WIN WHEN ADVOCACY LOOKS LIKE THIS
Four categories were listed, and the winners and cultivars are as follows:
Spiritual/Therapeutic Champion – PsillySimon with Penis Envy
Recreational Champion – Mendo Myco with Mack Myco Enigma
Microdose Champion – Stabbin McDabbin with Malabar x Avery’s Albino
Bag Appeal Champion – Socal Myco with Illusion Weaver
You can view the FULL RESULTS HERE – they are fascinating from top to bottom.