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Aspen Public Radio is proud to present select lectures, discussions, and conversations from area events and festivals, thanks to a remarkable collection of community partners. Click here to view the full archive. Events are recorded at no cost to the partner and archived here online; select recordings are broadcast on Aspen Public Radio Sunday nights at 7 p.m.

Aspen Psychedelic Symposium: Where do we go from here?

(Photo by Kelsey Brunner)
Kelsey Brunner/DP
(Photo by Kelsey Brunner)

This event was recorded on June 2, 2023 at the Wheeler Opera House, in partnership with Aspen Public Radio, Aspen Psychedelic Resource Center, and Healing Advocacy Fund.

The recent successful state passage of the Natural Medicine Health Act (Proposition 122) represents a massive shift in public perception regarding psychedelics. Colorado's ballot initiative was the first to decriminalize the possession and use of psychedelic mushrooms and certain plant-based psychedelic substances in Colorado law for individuals aged 21 and over, and requires the state to establish a regulated system for accessing psychedelic mushrooms and additional plant-based psychedelic substances.

This day-long event was presented as a deep dive into the tradition, science, and advocacy behind integrating these life-saving medicines into modern culture. Panels throughout the day included experts from Colorado and across the country. Hear from groundbreaking researchers, scientists, doctors and others working in the field— alongside individuals who have had these life-changing experiences.

In the fourth panel of the day, “Where do we go from here?” panelists discussed the many questions around what access might look like in the years ahead, why harm reduction efforts are an important next step, and how the conversation should continue.

Panelists included Scarlet Masius, Kevin Matthews, and Natasia Poinsatte, moderated by Zach Leary.

Zach Leary (moderator), host of the MAPS and “It’s All Happening” podcasts; writer, futurist, spiritualist, wellness facilitator, integration coach and socio-cultural theorist; son of psychologist author and champion of psychedelic counterculture, Tim Leary, Zach studied under Ram Dass, giving him a front-row seat to the most important cultural movements of the late 20th century

Scarlet Masius, Head of Community at Tactogen; formerly ran a creative consultancy called Liminalia, working with MAPS, Esalen, Omidyar Network and other orgs to build creative and participatory communities; former Executive Director of the Safety Net Fund, which financially supported 1,200 artists impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic; and trained psychedelic peer support facilitator, working to create systemic change for global healing through the stewardship of public education initiatives, harm reduction, and community organizing

Kevin Matthews, a Denver native and leading advocate for liberating access to psychedelic plant and fungi medicine nationwide; co-Designated Representative of the Natural Medicine Health Act of 2022; Coalition Director for Natural Medicine Colorado; and President of the Denver Psilocybin Mushroom Policy Review Panel

Natasia Poinsatte, Director of Healing Advocacy Fund in Colorado, a non-profit working to support safe, equitable access to psychedelic therapies and research director at RBI Strategies and Research where she supported the passage of the Natural Medicine Health Act

Other events presented as part of this symposium include:

What is Healing, What is Ceremony?” with Veronica Lightning Horse Perez and Remi Olajoyegbe, moderated by Jaz Cadoch.

Mental Health Breakthroughs” with Kevin Franciotti, Meg Richmond, and Matthew X. Lowe, moderated by Brandon Burns

The Neuroscience of Psychedelics” with Court Wing, Dave Rabin, and Scott Thompson, moderated by Nicole Foerster

Keynote: "Speculations on the Antiquity of Human Consciousness” by Dennis McKenna

Please note: Fireside Project is a nonprofit organization which operates the Psychedelic Peer Support Line, the first national support line for people navigating psychedelic experiences - whether that experience happened a day or a decade ago. The organization also offers “identity-based integration support,” meaning that if you are Black, Indigenous, a person of color, a military veteran, or identify as transgender, you can ask to speak to someone sharing your identity. Call or text 62-FIRESIDE. Open everyday 11:00am - 11:00pm PT.