We are pleased to be able to share with you the panel discussions being hosted at the 2022 Garden States conference
Panel - Friday
Panel Title: Psychedelic Capitalism: A Riddle Wrapped in Mystery
Facilitator: Dr Prash Puspanathan
Panel Guest: Shaun Duffy, Sam Bannister, Lily Kay Ross, David Nickles and Martin Williams
Duration: 60 Minutes
Every psychedelic has a prophet. New Age shamans emerging from time spent in the Amazon preached that ayahuasca would heal our souls. The student counterculture promised that LSD would liberate us from centuries of sexual repression. The Native American Church said that peyote would reveal the God of Christianity.The high priests of psychedelics have always been at the margins of society, their messaging too communitarian, too anti-establishment, too outright heretical to spread beyond the borders of Haight-Ashbury or the rainforest.
Yet, psychedelics have found a new messiah. One that all but guarantees an era of mass evangelization: corporate capitalism. Venture capitalists, pharmaceutical companies and marketing executives have all heralded in the psychedelic renaissance of the 21st century. Unlike most of their predecessors, corporate interests arearmed with the capital, political clout, and resources needed to convert millions to the cause. With the risks of greed, patent wars and deceptive marketing practices, how do we ensure that capitalist enterprises serve as effective stewards of psychedelics?
This panel will explore the paradoxes of psychedelic capitalism. How can psychedelics remain a tool for spiritual growth, political transformation, and medicinal healing when they’re promoted by the very institutions which these tools are used to critique? At the same time, how can psychedelic researchers, indigenous communities and society at large benefit from the talent, resources, and scientific acumen of the emerging psychedelic industry?
Panel - Sunday
Panel Title: Ayahuasca and Freedom of Religion in Australia
Facilitator: Amar Dhall
Panel Guest: Torsten Wiedemann & Manny Satija
Duration: 45 Minutes & 10 Q&A
Our panellists wrote the Australian chapter for the book "Religious Freedom and the Global Regulation of Ayahuasca." In this panel, the authors will explore different ayahuasca jurisdictions, focusing in particular on the constitutional arguments for using ayahuasca under the freedom of religion provisions in the Australian constitution. Such approaches have worked in some other countries where ayahuasca use is legal under certain circumstances, but each country's constitution is different and each country has cultural differences that can impact any legal challenges to state and federal laws.
The complexity of the Australian constitution results in a lot of erroneous layperson interpretations and this misinformation is often discussed in the fight for psychedelic legalisation. This panel will tease apart valid and invalid approaches to help those who are contemplating legal challenges and those wondering why there has been no such progress in Australia. It will also look at ways forward, especially as we emerge from our colonial shadow.
The discussion will begin with the panellists explaining the thesis of their book before opening up for questions. This is a rare opportunity to engage with constitutional scholars and other experts in criminal law and drug law reform, all with a passionate interest in legalising psychedelics.
Panel - Sunday
Panel Title: Breathed into Being: Ecodelia in Contemporary Art
Facilitator: Tessa Laird
Panel Guest: Janet Laurence, Adele Wilkes, Andrew Goodman and Nicholas Dorey
Duration: 45 Minutes & 10 Q&A
“To say that forests and marine microbes form the ‘lungs of the earth’ is an understatement. They literally breathe us into being. All cultures turn around plants’ metabolic rhythms. Plants are the substance, substrate, scaffolding, symbol, sign and sustenance of political economies the world over. We must learn how to work with and for the plants so that we can be nourished and clothed and sheltered and pleasured and healed — without destroying the earth” — Anthropologist Natasha Myers
The devastation of capitalism-colonialism threatens all ecologies and environments, including humanity’s survival. Any hope of change will require careful listening to the earth, bold feats of imagination and a radical rethinking of our culture's relationship to nature, shifting from anthropocentric separation and individualism towards connection, mutualism and collective action. Essential to this is an acknowledgement of the fundamental role that the vegetal world plays in sustaining our existence as well as our wellbeing.
David Luke coined the term ‘ecodelia’ to describe the confluence of ecopsychology and the psychedelic experience, resulting in a deepened relatedness to nature. This panel—facilitated by art critic, writer, artist and lecturer Tessa Laird—brings together four contemporary artists to discuss how their creative practices and research explore the relationship between humans and the ‘more-than-human’, and ways in which art can bring about a spiritual ecology. Encompassing plant and fungal intelligence, indigenous cosmologies and practices, alchemy, environmental activism, ethnobotany and consciousness exploration, many artists are resisting anthropocentrism and conjuring alternative ways of coexisting with multispecies on this extraordinary blue planet.
Panel - Sunday
Panel Title: Reports from the Frontier: the Present and Future of Australian Psychedelic Research
Facilitator: Chris Letheby
Panel Guest: Marg Ross, Martin Williams, Renee Harvey, Karen Hitchock & Vince Polito
Duration: 45 Minutes & 15 Q&A
For some time now, Australia has lagged behind much of the research world when it comes to institutional psychedelic medical research. Following the dedicated work of the community at large, some real movement is taking place in scientific and academic circles around Australia, with Melbourne emerging as an epicentre of much of this new and exciting research.
Listen to the experts discuss the current and future status of Australian psychedelic clinical trials and discuss some of the therapeutic benefits of entheogens for those looking to explore academic and research settings down under.We will discuss why psychedelic medicine has recently taken off in Australia, as well as challenges ahead for research teams. How can we ‘keep it real’ as big players turn on to psychedelic research projects? What role does the community play in psychedelic medicine, and what warning signs and traps should we look out for to keep the research on track?