Posted Tue 15th Sep 2015, 3:02pm
Welcome to the September update (and magic mushroom season)!
1. Upcoming events
- Today: National 1P-LSD Microdosing Day
- London, today: The Psychedelic Society of London Reading Group: Chasing the Scream by Johann Hari
- London, Wed 16th September: Tripping out to stay sane: Mental health and psychedelics with David Luke
- Birmingham, Thurs 17th September: Psychedelia and the Story of Stories
- London, Tues 22nd September: Morning Gloryville South London
- London, Sat 26th September: Morning Gloryville West London
- London, Sat 26th & Sun 27th September: Plant Consciousness conference
- Brighton, Wed 30th September: Club Imaginal presents Graham Hancock
2. Submission to Home Affairs Committee inquiry on novel psychoactive substances
The Home Affairs Committee recently held a short inquiry into novel psychoactive substances in the context of the government’s proposed Psychoactive Substances Bill.
Our submission, prepared by the Psychedelic Society’s director Stephen Reid, argues for an exemption category for ‘Psychedelic substances used in a ceremonial or therapeutic context’, and for 1P-LSD to be exempt under this category. We’ll let you know if we hear back.
3. Legal psychedelic retreats
We’re putting together a list of legal, publicly advertised psychedelic retreats in the UK and Europe, for example, psilohuasca.com, The Sacred Voyage, ayahausca.nl and The Fasting Path. If you can recommend one, reply to this email and let us know.
Following the petition to legalise cannabis on the government’s e-petition site, a debate has been scheduled for 12th October. Write to your MP asking them to attend the debate.
5. Jeremy Corbyn elected!
Jeremy Corbyn, the new leader of Labour Party, called for “an urgent evaluation of our drug control strategies” as recently as June. We’ll be working to engage with Labour on drug policy over the coming weeks.
6. What’s hot on Facebook
"One of the interesting things about psychedelics is that there is an enormous amount of sympathy in the general public to their use, particularly as medicines,” explains Professor Nutt. “A lot of people are very angry that they have been denied to the public as medicines for over 50 years."
7. Donate to the Psychedelic Society
So far no one has been paid to work on the Society, and as the director, it's taking up increasing amounts of my time. Will you chip-in to cover the time I spend working on the Society at the London Living Wage?
Keep an eye out over the coming weeks for details of a special event with Daniel Pinchbeck, the launch of the Psychedelic Society of Brighton and the next London social.
Stephen and the Psychedelic Society team
Posted Wed 12th Aug 2015, 4:29pm
The year is 2023. You walk into the pharmacy and head towards the 'psychoactive substances' section. On the top shelf, there are pharmaceutically pure psychedelics including DMT, mescaline and LSD, all available legally, and at affordable prices. On the shelf below, dried magic mushrooms of many varieties. You pick up a pack of DMT and head to the checkout, where the pharmacist checks your age and asks you a series of questions to ensure you understand how to use the substance safely. As you head out of the shop, you bump into a colleague from work, who's just bought some 2C-B. She explains how she's felt calmer and kinder since she stopped drinking and started using psychedelics.
The Psychedelic Society is working to make this dream a reality.
We're in the midst of a 'psychedelic renaissance', and the Society is playing a key role. In just 10 months, we have:
So far no one has been paid to work on the Society, and as the director, it's taking up increasing amounts of my time. I'm writing to ask whether you'll chip in £9.15/month to cover an hour of the time I spend working on the Society at the London Living Wage.
I'm an experienced campaigner and organiser, having served as a board member of Greenpeace UK and co-founded the anti-austerity group UK Uncut and the New Economics Foundation's New Economy Organisers Network. With your support, I'm confident I can take the Society to the next level.
Over the coming months, I'll be working with the many other brilliant people involved in the Psychedelic Society to:
The war on drugs is ending, and the dream of a 'psychedelic society' is absolutely achievable in this generation.
|Stephen Reid, Director|
Posted Fri 7th Aug 2015, 3:02pm
On Saturday 1st August, we staged a mass inhalation of nitrous oxide in Parliament Square to protest against the government’s proposed Psychoactive Substances Bill, which would ban trade in all psychoactive substances except for alcohol, nicotine and caffeine. The sale of the rather wonderful 1P-LSD would be banned under the bill.
The main objective of the action was to promote the concept of cognitive liberty and the legalisation and regulation of drugs in the mainstream media. By this measure it was a real success, with coverage from The Guardian, The Independent, BBC, BBC Bristol, IFLScience, London Live, ITV, Huffington Post and Sky amongst others.
We’ll be in touch again soon with more action you can take over the bill. Thanks to everyone who came or shared content!
2. Upcoming events
- Birmingham, Saturday 8th August: day of action in city centre
- Manchester, Sunday 9th August: picnic and social
- Edinburgh, Sunday 16th August: War on Drugs, War on People with James Duffy
- Birmingham, Thursday 20th August: Psychedelics and the pitfalls of conspiracy theory with Cameron Adams
- Bristol, Sunday 30th August: picnic and social
- London, Sunday 30th August: roadtrip to the Bristol picnic!
- London, Thursday 3rd September: The Future of Consciousness with Graham Hancock and David Pearce
- Monday 14th September: National 1P-LSD Microdosing Day
- London, Wednesday 16th September: reading group on Chasing the Scream by Johann Hari
3. Progress on cannabis
The cannabis movement is really on fire at the moment, having collected over 190,000 signatures on a petition to force a debate on cannabis legalisation in Parliament and celebrating the news that police forces across the UK will turn a blind eye to personal use and growing.
The legalisation of cannabis in the UK will probably be a stepping stone to the legalisation of psychedelics. We encourage you to lend these groups your support (and sign the petition)!
4. Labour leadership election
For several reasons, not least the pace of cannabis legalisation in the US, there's a good chance drug law reform will be a hot topic in the UK general election in 2020.
Labour is currently holding a leadership election, and the candidate who seems most likely to support legal regulation of drugs is Jeremy Corbyn. You can vote for him in the leadership election by signing up as a 'registered supporter' for just £3 (you don't have to actually join the Labour Party).
5. What’s hot on Facebook
- Stephen Reid on London Live: "The government is really going against the grain by trying to stick to this failed path of prohibition. People all over the world are waking up and realising that legal regulation of drugs is the way forward."
- LSD use is up 175% in the past 12 months. Viva la revolución!
- Imagine if the media covered alcohol like other drugs
6. Other events
- London, tonight: PUWABA! Ancestral Light Rites
- Sussex, Friday 14th August: Explorers Club: Perseid Meteor Shower
- London, Wednesday 9th September: Morning Gloryville
- Brighton, Wednesday 30th September: Club Imaginal with Graham Hancock
The Psychedelic Society team
Posted Mon 3rd Aug 2015, 1:32pm
Listen to Prof. David Nutt and Stephen Reid debate the government's proposed Psychoactive Substances Bill on BBC Radio Bristol:
Press release: Mass inhalation of nitrous oxide to take place outside Parliament in protest over drug bill
Posted Sun 26th Jul 2015, 2:23pm
Mass inhalation of nitrous oxide to take place at Parliament in protest over drug bill
First protest of its kind highlights momentum for legal regulation as an alternative to prohibition
Hundreds of people are to gather in Parliament Square on Saturday 1st August to inhale colourful balloons of laughing gas in a protest against government proposals to ban trade in all psychoactive substances except for alcohol, nicotine and caffeine . Legal highs used for decades such as nitrous oxide (laughing gas) and amyl nitrate (poppers) would be caught under the proposed legislation.
The event, organised by a coalition of by pro-regulation groups including The Psychedelic Society, NORML UK and Cannabis Social Clubs , will see people gathering in Parliament Square from 2pm. Shortly before 3pm, people will use whipped cream dispensers to charge balloons with nitrous oxide. As the clock strikes 3pm, demonstrators will inhale en masse. 
The protest comes shortly after the groups helped to collect well over 100,000 signatures on an official petition to legalise cannabis, forcing MPs to consider a debate on the topic . It also follows news that Durham police force has de facto decriminalised the production and possession of cannabis for personal use .
Stephen Reid, the director of the Psychedelic Society , said:
"The government’s rationale for prohibiting trade in psychoactive substances is that their use can be risky. Yet we allow plenty of risky activities in society, for example, horseriding, skydiving and bungee jumping. Yes, the use of psychoactive substances can be risky, but it should be for individuals to decide whether or not to take the risk. People should be able to buy, sell and use whatever substances they want, so long as there's no harm to others."
"It is true that a small number of people have developed health problems from the overuse of a few novel psychoactive substances that attempt to mimic established but currently prohibited drugs such as cannabis and MDMA. The best solution in this case is to make cannabis and MDMA available through legally regulated outlets, along with the provision of realistic and quality drug education on how to use these substances safely. There is, for example, no market for synthetic cannabis in the Netherlands where cannabis is sold from licensed premises."
"The fact is most people enjoy using drugs, whether nitrous oxide, coffee or alcohol, and that careful legal regulation is the fairest and safest solution. Rather than follow the failed path of prohibition, the government should be looking to the United States, where cannabis is now entirely legal in four states, with many more soon to follow."
Notes to editors
 The measures are contained in the Psychoactive Substances Bill. Similar legislation enacted in Ireland in 2010 closed down most ‘head shops’, but the market simply moved to the street and online. NPS use in Ireland actually increased from 16% in 2011 to 22% in 2014, with use amongst young people (16-24) the highest in the EU. For a detailed critique, see Transform’s ‘5 Reasons why the New ‘Psychoactive Substances Bill’ should be scrapped, and 1 Reason to commend it’ at http://www.tdpf.org.uk/blog/5-reasons-why-new-%E2%80%98psychoactive-substances-bill%E2%80%99-should-be-scrapped-and-1-reason-commend-it
 Facebook event at https://www.facebook.com/events/496668680496538/
 Advice cards will be distributed on how to use nitrous oxide safely, and measures are in place to ensure that no rubbish is left behind.
 Petition at https://petition.parliament.uk/petitions/104349. See http://www.theguardian.com/society/2015/jul/25/cannabis-legalisation-petition-government-website for background
 The Psychedelic Society is a nonprofit organisation campaigning for psychedelics to be made available for careful personal and medical use. See http://www.psychedelicsociety.org.uk/. Read more on Stephen Reid’s position at http://www.independent.co.uk/voices/comment/along-with-hundreds-of-others-im-going-to-inhale-laughing-gas-outside-parliament-to-protest-the-tories-stance-on-legal-highs-10312728.html