Notes from the Edge and a Response to Michael Pollan’s NYT Op-Ed

Dear Molly,

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I’m at an airport restaurant in LA heading back to Boulder. I flew here right after our Psychedelic Sitters School Level 1 5-day training marathon so I could be interviewed by Ancient Aliens.

Still haven’t been home yet.


Psychedelic Sitters School Level 1

It was our biggest training yet:
    Twenty-six students.
    Ten facilitators and sitters.
    Ten psychedelic cannabis journeys in five days.
    9,000 hours of individual psychedelic experiences total.

It was quite the ride. Twenty-six new people now know how to facilitate safe and legal psychedelic cannabis experiences. They’re bringing those skills back to a dozen states, Canada and England.

We collaborated with My420Tours and had a cannabis friendly party bus as a shuttle to and from the airport. It was nice to smoke on the way to the airport, although before I left I made sure I wasn’t carrying any cannabis in my bags or pockets.

In security my computer bag was tagged for a search and the TSA agent rummages through it to find a metal can of THC chocolate covered coffee beans I didn’t know was there. THC warning labels are all over it. He hands it to me and says to please open it. I do and we both look at all the chocolate covered coffee beans. He says thank you very much and you’re good to go.

What just happened there? Was it a case of privilege or is it actually that safe now?


DMTx on Ancient Aliens

I’m at the film shoot for Ancient Aliens. I had somehow forgotten to bring my DMTx jacket and even an extra pair of pants to LA. I brought two gray shirts. They take a picture of me to send to some unknown executive. Again, I’m coming off of 10 psychedelic journeys in five days. I could care less about what I’m wearing.

There’s a discussion about my shirt. Something about people usually wearing suits. That wasn’t at all in the dress code email. Yeah, I don’t own a suit, I say. And the producer says that he looks like the music guy at a wedding when he wears a suit, and one of the camera guys says, yeah, ties are like leashes. And I look at him and say, Yes, ties are like leashes. I don’t own a suit. And I’m looking at him and we all move on to the next subject. My shirt was fine. Am I the only one that saw what just happened? Free yourself of leashes, people!

I’m in front of the camera now, thoroughly enjoying myself. Aliens ya ya ya ya inner dimensional aliens ya ya ya tried to talk about the DMTx program some. I like the producer. Ramble on about aliens ya ya ya. It’s fun. I’m glad I don’t take myself too seriously. They said it’s going to be viewed by a million people. I’m not yet sure how I feel about getting a new batch of very unusual emails. But DMTx has also introduced me to the most interesting people I have ever met.

I did say, Did I mention my FOIA request? That’s my favorite part. We’re filing a Freedom Of Information Act (FOIA) for all clandestine DMT experiments done by the CIA and the US Army. How could they not have been researching this? Were they really “talking to the aliens” as Alex Jones seems to think? Let’s see what we can find out.  

Dennis said don’t do it. Rick never wrote me back. Good thing I have lawyers on these project now. I’m like that penguin testing the waters.

Water’s fine.

Come on in.


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Denver Decriminalized Mushrooms

We heard on the way to the training that Denver decriminalized psilocybin. That is revolutionary. Shout out to Kevin Matthews and the Denver Psilocybin Initiative. What a synchronicity to be launching into a psychedelic training retreat as this is being passed. After the training we learned that the governor signed a bill changing drug possession charges from a felony to a misdemeanor.

Wait what?!

I texted my lawyer. So does this mean I can facilitate psilocybin experiences yet? No, not yet. My mind immediately moves towards ways I can legally provide real harm reduction support to all the new people coming into the movement.

There’s some sort of opportunity here this momentum.

I buy the domain name openunderground.org. Maybe that’s the name of our nonprofit?

The Open Underground: Helping psychedelic practitioners transition to open, legal psychedelic medicine work. Funding expeditions in consciousness. Subverting the dominant paradigm of war and oppression.

Last part probably went a bit too far.

Or not.

Not deleting it.

Too many of our people have been injured by it.


And speaking of which...

Michael Pollan opposed the decriminalization

I just read Michael Pollan’s Op-Ed in the NYT opposing the successful Denver psilocybin decriminalization movement.

Well written. Logical. And completely wrong on all points. He names that no one should go to jail for psilocybin and admits to growing his own. Yet says decriminalization efforts are the wrong way to go. He really seems to be siding with the Prohibitionists. What happened here?

I asked Rick Doblin, the Executive Director of MAPS, almost a decade ago why we weren’t sponsoring ballot initiatives. He spoke about the research and the right way and backlash ya ya ya.

How much is a particular type of institutional agenda affecting Pollan’s view here? Who profits the most from keeping psilocybin and MDMA only legal through prescription medication?

I know of no person in the local psychedelic community who has a similar view as Michael Pollan.

Pollan says there’s no manual for this. Instead of prohibition, let’s just make a manual then. This is called psychedelic harm reduction. I thought he wrote extensively about that. Again, what happened?

I think the appropriate response is to organize a Psilocybin Safety Symposium in Denver and invite our community experts to write and publish the Psilocybin Safety Manual of Colorado.

As soon as possible.

“When psychedelics like psilocybin and LSD burst upon the scene in the 1950s and 1960s, they arrived without an instruction manual.” - Pollan, NYT

Here’s a draft table of contents:


How to stay safe on psilocybin mushrooms
Dosage & Microdosing
Set, Setting and Skill
Sitting for friends
Safely assessing someone who says they are a ‘psychedelic guide’
Psychedelic Safety Self Assessment
General first aid and how to avoid medical and police emergencies
Staying out of jail - what the law actually says
How to grow psilocybin mushrooms
How to make a spore print
Psilocybin resources online
Bringing decriminalization to your city and state - and other state initiatives

Our local communities have more than enough expertise already to write the manual on how to step into safe and legal psilocybin experiences. We’re already doing this work with our Psychedelic Sitters School program. We don’t have to invent any new resources to write this book.  

Keep the ballot measures coming.

According to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, we have just 12 years to advert global disaster. And that is just one of many global paradigm shifts happening now. Yes to research, I’m all for it. But we don’t have time for only doing it the ‘right way’ as defined by these oppressive systems. It is time for all hands on deck. We need all the help we can get. Time to take the medicine back.

Half a century later we’re still struggling to learn how best to harness their spooky power.
~ Pollan, NYT

I know very few people struggling here, and the ones that do actively seek the necessary support. Most people are excited to explore its potential. There’s nothing spooky about it.

A recent survey of people who reported having a ‘bad trip’ found that nearly 8 percent of them had sought psychiatric help afterward.
~ Pollan, NYT

This is incredibly misleading. As few as 1% of users have a significantly bad trip. It has been my experience that most people who report ‘bad trips’ think that they’re the most healing and significant experience of their lives. 8% of those 1% seek psychiatric support? Okay,  so 8 in 10,000 users? Did I do my math right? How many of those were further injured by these psychiatrists? We need real education and support. Not medicalized interventions by well-intended physicians. A lot of people help journeyers integrate experiences now for a living. Why wasn’t this also mentioned in the NYT?


I’m on the plane heading back.

I have a ton of work to do, a book to finish, and 153 saved emails to respond to. Thank Goddess for Marshall...he probably had 300.

So in closing, it might be hard to imagine new ways of being. It’s part of our collective trauma. It’s hard to see the real potential in some situations. But I think what we are seeing is a leapfrogging in consciousness and psychedelic opportunities. People are waking up to what is now possible, which wasn’t possible even a decade ago, or even a few years ago.

Things are moving much more quickly.

Some places might just be waking up quicker than other places because of previously successful moments in the psychedelic movement. Colorado is one of these places. This trend might be causing rifts in our communities over what we think is possible. Maybe legalizing cannabis here 7 years ago did more than we realize to our communities. It is a psychedelic after all. The first legal psychedelic.

So just to reiterate. A few days after a small group of psychedelic activists in Denver decriminalized psilocybin mushrooms, our governor signed into law a reduction of possession penalties for all illegal drugs from a felony to a misdemeanor. And I just found out that the city of Oakland, California might be decriminalizing all natural psychedelic medicines too because of the successful Denver initiative.  There are other legitimate paths to legalization than research and prescription medication. These plants and other medicines are the people’s medicine.

Hands off our medicines.

I have personally witnessed the healing power of microdosing psilocybin in many of my clients. People are breaking the law because they are desperate and need real healing now. I don’t know anyone who is using them just for recreational purposes. Please don’t minimize this success as “just symbolic.” Eleven people going to jail over the last few years for this is far too many. And this could be the beginning of multiple state initiatives succeeding.  If not now, when?

Bottom line: Colorado is living in some places’ future. Pay attention to what goes on here. And don’t diss it too quickly.

Thanks for listening, Molly. Looking forward to seeing you again soon.

Safe Travels,

Daniel