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Speaking Appearance

The Shadow of Mainstreaming Psychedelics | UK Psychedelic Society

Bia Labate, Dawn Davis, Alexander Beiner, & Mike Margolies, moderated by Anya Oleksiuk

Livestreamed November 23, 2020

Presented by the UK Psychedelic Society.

A global “psychedelic renaissance” is well underway, with a new generation of drug policy reformers, researchers, and well-informed psychonauts eager to end the War on Drugs and unlock the healing power of psychedelics.

As we have seen with cannabis, opening up alternative medicines to the masses comes with its challenges and risk of corruption, with organisations and individuals looking to profit from regulatory progress. With a wave of new start-ups and increased investment in alternative drug research, we are reaching a pivotal point where we must ensure that the conversation around psychedelic drugs remains true and fair, indigenous communities and cultures are protected, and commercialisation is carefully managed, to avoid falling into familiar traps.

What can we learn from the legalisation and commercialisation of cannabis? How do we best navigate the conflict between decriminalisation of psychedelics vs. all drugs? How can the community respond to start-up organisations commercialising psilocybin and other psychedelics, using traditional market tactics that create artificial scarcity? As the decriminalisation movement continues to gather pace, how do organisations ensure they are being considerate of indigenous communities, so that these cultures are shown full respect and sufficiently protected? Finally, how do we educate the general population to dispel the myths of prohibition?

Dr. Beatriz Caiuby Labate (Bia Labate) is a queer Brazilian anthropologist based in San Francisco. She has a PhD 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 (, as well as being Public Education and Culture Specialist at the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS) and Adjunct Faculty at the East-West Psychology Program at the California Institute of Integral Studies (CIIS). Bia co-founded the Interdisciplinary Group for Psychoactive Studies (NEIP) in Brazil and is an author, co-author, and co-editor of twenty-one books, two special-edition journals, and several peer-reviewed articles.

Dawn D. Davis is a mother, a wife and a founding member of Source Research Foundation, a Newe and a member of the Shoshone-Bannock Tribes, and currently a PhD. candidate in Natural Resources at the University of Idaho. As a fellow under the Integrated Graduate Education Research Traineeship, Dawn has twice been the recipient of the National Science Foundation award and is an Indigenous STEM scholar with research funded by the Pacific Northwest Alliance-Cosmos. Her previous research has focused on the cultural, environmental and anthropogenic issues that surround the revered Peyote (Lophophora williamsii) cacti, whilst her current research includes the use of, to model changes in Peyote habitat. Dawn has shared her findings among Indigenous, academic, ethnobotanical, and psychedelic audiences across the world.

Alexander Beiner is co-founder of Rebel Wisdom and one of the directors of Breaking Convention. He has been involved in psychedelic activism for the last 15 years and is particularly interested in bringing a critical lens to the way psychedelics are entering mainstream culture and medicine. He has recently produced a film on Rebel Wisdom exploring these topics through interviews with leaders in the field.

Mike Margolies is a psychedelic community catalyst and conversation creator. Mike is the Founder of Psychedelic Seminars (, an educational conversation series deepening awareness of the benefits, risks, and complexities of psychedelics. He has also been involved in a number of other projects as an event and media producer, journalist, connector, and advisor. Mike founded the Baltimore Psychedelic Society and has helped to kick-start and mentor similar groups around the world, from San Francisco to Washington DC to Portugal.

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