Drugventures #7: Agents of change

This weeks video presents commentaries from some of the main organizers of the Bicycle Day drug activism on the first day of UNGASS 2016 in NYC. First appearance is from Noah Potter, a New York-based attorney of law who has been active in drug policy activism almost 30 years. Noah also has  “An open-source thought experiment in law and social policy governing psychedelics” in a form of a blog called New Amsterdam Psychedelic Law Blog which he started in 2010. The topics of the blog vary from cannabis regulation and law especially in New York to appeals for regime change in the government of counsciousncess.

Second one to appear on the video is also a lawyer and one of the founders of the Psychedelic Society of Brooklyn, Daniel Miller.  The core mission of the Society “is to build community and empower individuals who are looking for a psychedelic home.” Similar kind of Societies have been emerging in the last few years all over the world, including for instance the Psychedelic Society of the Netherlands and the UK Psychedelic Society. It seems like the psychedelic network is expanding from the USA to Europe, as well as to countries like Mexico, Australia and Israel  as illustrated by Zoë Biehl, anthropologists and writer for Psymposia.

The third “agent of change” in this weeks video is a fellow Psymposian of Zoë, Lex Pelger, who is a “host of Psymposia, writer at AlterNet, science columnist at Freedom Leaf & lecturer on psychoactive topics.” I had the pleasure and priviledge to spent more time with Lex during my visit to New York and he will be appearing in future Drugventures- videos so I will not go into detail of his work here.

The fourth appearance is from Andre, who at the time was doing an internship at Drug Policy Alliance, one of the largest organizations in the USA (and maybe the world) which is trying to change the current drug laws “by promoting drug policies that are grounded in science, compassion, health and human rights.” In the video Andre shares his own personal story of how a trip to Peru where he participated in an Ayahuasca ceremony lifted his depression.

This kind of personal story telling around drug use was the topic of last weeks post. At the end of Andre´s story he says that we should not only legalize psychedelics, but we should utilize them “because they can save the world.” Recently a neuroscientists even suggested that the world would benefit if the current President of United States would be exposed to the ego-dissoluting effects of psychedelics.

While the often transformative effects of certain psychoactive substances should not be underestimated, in my view the true “agents of change” are the people who for whatever  reason are ready to spent their time and energy, often without compensation, to advocate for that change. “Be the change you wish to see in the world”, a quote often related to Gandhi, should be complemented with another quote by Margaret Mead, which I read on the walls of Lex´s and his most welcoming housemates house in Brooklyn:

“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.”

The question is, are the times really a-changing? And if yes, why now? And also what kind of role does the more effective spread of information due to technological advances in communications play in this Psychedelic Reneissance? Whatever the answer(s), that change could not have been possible without the agents of change, human and non-human, actively working for it.

Last but not least, I want to thank all the agents of change that appear in my videos as well as those countless others all over the world working toward more humane drug policy.


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