Launch of the Psychedelic Society

Psychedelic-SocietyPsychedelic drugs have fascinated and delighted humans for thousands of years. Studies indicate that they can leave people calmer, happier, kinder and more open-minded, and they are being investigated as a treatment for a range of psychiatric illnesses. Although the authorities continue to attempt to prevent their use, there are signs that the time may be right to push for their legalisation.

At the Psychedelic Society launch event, they will investigate the benefits of psychedelics, the arguments for legalisation and ask: how can we mainstream psychedelics? What are our strongest arguments, and the current political opportunities? Can we learn from other liberation movements? And what’s the vision for a ‘psychedelic society’?

Short thought pieces from:

  • Prof David Nutt (Prof of Neuropsychopharmacology at Imperial College London and Chair of DrugScience) on the latest science of psychedelics
  • David Babbs (Executive Director of 38 Degrees) on lessons learned from other liberation campaigns
  • Arielle Nylander (Welfare Enough festival support) on conditions for safe and responsible usage in a psychedelic society
  • Steve Rolles (Transform) on the arguments for legalisation and the political context

Organizer Stephen Reid answered a couple of our questions about the event:

The Psychedelic Society is being launched on Monday 3rd November, with a number of prominent speakers including Prof. David Nutt. Would you tell us why you feel it is important at this time to launch such an organisation?

We’re at an interesting point in the history of psychoactive substances. The idea that the war on drugs has failed, and that legal regulation is a better option, is going mainstream. Meanwhile, dark web marketplaces are making traditional notions of the war obsolete.

Whilst there are already some great organisations making the case that legal regulation of drugs would be ‘less bad’ than the situation we have at the moment, the Psychedelic Society is different, in that it’s making a *positive* case for the use of psychedelics.

We’re saying – legalise these substances, not just because it’s the sensible thing to do, but because they are fascinating and beneficial. In building a community around the benefits and responsible use of psychedelics, we will hopefully give more and more people the confidence to ‘come out’ as users of psychedelic substances to friends, family and colleagues.

One of the aims of the Psychedelic Society is to lobby for “reasonable and effective regulation of psychedelics”, what means of lobbying does the society intend to use? And, how do you envisage the regulatory state to be?

On the regulatory model, I think the organisation doing the best work in this area is Transform. They propose 5 different levels of control depending on the harm of the drug. Since the ‘harm’ of psychedelics is essentially nil, they could probably be sold in licensed ‘psychedelic dispensaries’, like marjuana is now being sold in the US.

On the means of lobbying, it could range from solid online actions like petitions, Twitterstorms and targeted letter writing campaigns (in the spirit of 38 Degrees), to creative offline activity like flashmobs and subvertising (in the spirit of UK Uncut and The Intruders). It really depends on who gets involved – we’re excited to hear people’s ideas at the launch event on 3rd November.


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