A researcher in a suit and tie strolls past with a graduate student in rainbow leggings and a red bandana. They’re discussing smoking addiction cessation research using the drug psilocybin–the active hallucinogen isolated from the fungus Psilocybe mexicana, or “magic mushrooms.” It is the conclusion of the Psychedelic Science Conference dinner on April 20 and the pair filters with a crowd of hundreds through the exit doors of the grand ballroom in Oakland’s Marriott Hotel.
Lagging behind are Rick Doblin, founder and executive director of the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS), and a gaggle of dinner attendees who hover around Doblin in hopes that they might share a few words with the man of the hour. MAPS is the non-profit research and educational organization behind the conference, and works to develop psychedelics and marijuana into legal prescription drugs.
It’s nearing midnight when the crowd finally dissipates and Doblin can be sequestered for an interview. As he speaks it becomes clear that this unprecedented conference, which brought more than 1,800 ticket-holding attendees, is the result of a labor of love into which Doblin has poured more than 20 years of his life.
“MAPS was founded based on adjusting to a major failure,” Doblin says. The year was 1982, and many psychiatrists, marriage counselors and therapists were using the not-yet-illegal substance to enhance the therapeutic process. In light of its increasing popularity, Doblin and fellow psychedelic therapists anticipated that the Drug Enforcement Administration would move to criminalize MDMA.
– Read the entire article at AlterNet.