DRIVING CHANGE

MAPS CANADA TALKS PSYCHEDELIC POLICY

WEBINAR SERIES

Please join us for MAPS Canada’s exciting, new four-part webinar series featuring leaders in psychedelic medicine, research, and drug policy from Canada and around the world. We’ll be discussing how current Canadian policies affect access to psychedelic medicine, and how together we can drive change to create an equitable, safe, and rights-based system for psychedelics in Canada.

This unique series will highlight some of MAPS Canada’s current initiatives and those of our valued allies. All funds raised will directly support MAPS Canada’s mission to support equitable access to legal and regulated psychedelic medicine for all Canadians.

Each episode of this series is priced at $20.00 or you can purchase access to the entire series for $60.00.

If money is the only barrier preventing you from accessing this event, please fill out this form and we might be able to offer a discount for you.

EPISODE 1

Undoing The Harms Of Drug Criminalization

5:00pm PDT - April 20, 2022

For over a century, certain psychoactive drugs in Canada have been criminalized while others remain freely and legally available.

The so-called “War on Drugs” has cost vast amounts of public funds, imprisoned millions, and increased violence across the globe. It has led to a toxic and deadly illegal drug supply that has taken the lives of tens of thousands of Canadians.

Despite this “war,” drugs are more available and used than ever. As we are collectively understanding the futility of past approaches, calls for decriminalization have increased in Canada and around the world.

MAPS Canada and our guests will discuss decriminalization, why it is important, and what decriminalization can–and cannot–do. We’ll take a critical look at decriminalization efforts in Canada and the US as a way to undo the harms of criminalization, and discuss what a world of decriminalized psychedelics might look like.

Daniel Abrahamson

Michelle Scott

Akwasi Owusu-Bempah

Scott Bernstein

EPISODE 2

Harm Reduction For People Who Use Psychedelics

5:00pm PDT - May 18, 2022

MAPS Canada and guest speakers from the psychedelic harm reduction organization DanceSafe will explore the main principles of harm reduction and how to reduce the risks of using psychedelics. We’ll discuss the importance of checking unregulated substances for adulterants, and how to do so with a drug testing kit. We’ll also discuss how to talk with your friends and community about the importance of drug checking.

We will also explore the art of “trip sitting”: how to best support someone through a psychedelic experience by helping them maximize benefits, reduce harm, and practice integration of their experiences.

Mitchell Gomez

Erica Siegal

Taylor Rodrigues

EPISODE 3

Improving Access To Psychedelics As Medicine

5:00pm PDT - June 22, 2022

Join MAPS Canada as we celebrate our partnership with the groundbreaking Roots To Thrive Community of Practice based in Nanaimo, BC, on and in partnership with the Coast Salish Territory of the Snuneymuxw First Nation and Vancouver Island University. We’ll discuss its innovative model and programs, and the results being reported by patients.

Working with stakeholders in Vancouver Island Health and Health Canada, Roots to Thrive provides multi-week, multidisciplinary mental healthcare programs (that include psilocybin-assisted and ketamine-assisted therapy sessions) for physician-referred patients experiencing a range of diagnoses (including PTSD, treatment-resistant depression, eating disorders, substance use disorder, OCD, end-of-life distress, and more) within an evidence-based, decolonized, and equity-informed community of practice (group therapy) model.

The Roots to Thrive team is led by regulated healthcare professionals who have been specifically trained in supporting and facilitating legal psychedelic therapy. Its multidisciplinary team includes over twenty experienced physicians, nurses, psychiatrists, registered clinical counselors, Indigenous knowledge keepers, somatic therapists, cultural and spiritual care practitioners, and trained facilitators.

We are delighted to welcome the founders of the Roots to Thrive Community of Practice and Dr. Lindsay Farrell, PhD, to discuss the on-the-ground impacts of Health Canada’s Special Access Program on patient access to care; why the Roots to Thrive model is both innovative and scalable; and the positive results patients report experiencing with Roots to Thrive’s programs.

Shannon Dames

Valorie Masuda

Lindsay Farrell

Scott Bernstein

Dr. Pamela Kryskow

EPISODE 4

The Future Of Canadian Legal Regulation Of Psychedelics After The War On Drugs

5:00pm PDT - July 20, 2022

The War on Drugs has failed and cost an immeasurable toll in lives, public health, and money.

Is legal regulation of drugs for all uses a sensible alternative? How does regulation differ from decriminalization? How can legal regulation improve public health and equity and promote human rights? How do we create a system of legal regulation based on equity and justice?

Join MAPS Canada’s Executive Director and founder of the Regulation Project Scott Bernstein as he welcomes global experts Zara Snapp of Instituto Ria, Ismail Lourido Ali of MAPS, and and Steve Rolles of Transform for a conversation on the ins-and-outs of legal regulation and some possible models for regulating psychedelics.

Zara Snapp

Steve Rolles

Ismail Lourido Ali

Scott Bernstein

Daniel Abrahamson

Daniel Abrahamson is an American attorney who works at the intersection of public health, criminal law, and human rights. In 1996, he founded the Office of Legal Affairs of the Drug Policy Alliance, the leading organization devoted to drug policy reform in the U.S. and served as DPA’s Director of Legal Affairs for two decades. Abrahamson also has served as an adjunct professor of law at the University of Virginia, University of California Berkeley, and Hastings College of Law. He received his B.A. from Yale University, his M.A. from Oxford University (Keasbey Scholar), and his J.D. from New York University School of Law (Root-Tilden Scholar) and served as a law clerk to two federal judges. Abrahamson has helped craft, pass and implement laws and regulations designed to end of marijuana prohibition, decriminalize various drugs, reduce mass criminalization and incarceration, promote harm reduction interventions and medication assisted treatments, and expand access to therapeutic psychedelics, including working to establish the first regulatory scheme to provide widespread access to psilocybin therapy (Oregon’s Measure 109). Abrahamson also has helped litigate cases advancing civil rights, reproductive freedom and criminal law reform in state and federal courts around the U.S., including the U.S. Supreme Court.

Michelle Scott

Michelle (aka Shel) Scott is an occupational therapist working in mental health in Toronto Ontario. She also leads the Toronto-based Policy and Advocacy group for MAPS Canada. Her goal is to expand access to above-ground psychedelic medicines in a way that’s ethical, sustainable, and responsible. Her interests include mental health, cognitive science, philosophy, neuroscience, Indigenous ontologies and worldviews, meditative and contemplative practices, dialectics, and the intersection between science and spirituality. In her free time she can be found going to concerts, dancing, playing music (alone or with friends), spending time outdoors, reading science fiction, watching hockey, and enjoying amazing food.

Akwasi Owusu-Bempah

Akwasi Owusu-Bempah (PhD) is an academic, author and changemaker. He is a professor in the Department of Sociology at the University of Toronto and an Affiliate Scientist at Canada’s Centre for Addiction and Mental Health. He also serves as Chair of the Governing Board of Massey College. Akwasi’s academic work has examined the racialized nature of drug law enforcement in North America and he has collaborated with major media outlets, such as the Toronto Star and Vice News to advance public dialogue about the perils of the war on drugs. He is the author of Waiting to Inhale: Race, Cannabis and the End of Prohibition with Tahira Rehmatullah, to be published by MIT Press

Scott Bernstein

Scott is the Executive Director of MAPS Canada. With over 13 years experience in the drug policy field and longtime work with non-profits, serving on non-profit boards, and owning his own businesses, he brings a broad range of experience to this position. 

Previously, Scott served as Director of Policy for the Canadian Drug Policy Coalition, where he led the organization’s work on legal regulation of drugs, decriminalization and safe supply. Originally from the US, Scott came to Vancouver in 2006 to study law. 

Through his own legal practice and with Vancouver-based non-profit Pivot Legal Society, Scott has participated in strategic litigation focused on advancing human rights of people who use drugs, including challenging municipal anti-harm reduction bylaws, advocating for access to prescription heroin treatment, and defending Insite, North America’s first sanctioned injection site in the Supreme Court of Canada and lower courts.

Mitchell Gomez

Mitchell Gomez is a graduate of New College of Florida (whose Alumni included the founders of Erowid, MAPS and the Zendo Project), and has his Masters from CU Denver. Although his research interests are extremely diverse, he is particularly interested in program evaluation and policy analysis as it pertains to the non-profit sector. Mitchell has been a part of the electronic music community since the late 90’s, when he first started attending underground breaks shows while still in high-school. In 1999 while living in Israel, he became one of the earliest full time professional fire spinners, eventually performing at some of the biggest electronic music events on four continents. Mitchell joined Dancesafe as their National Outreach Director in 2014 and was responsible for all volunteer coordination, the development, implementation, and evaluation of new training curriculum and outreach initiatives, and administrative tasks.  He has volunteered with the Burning Man organization, SSDP and other small harm reduction projects for many years, and is a passionate advocate for reality-based drug policy and harm reduction. In addition to his work with DanceSafe, Mitchell also sits on the Advisory Council of Psymposia, a media and events group that shares stories and fresh perspectives about the emerging science and social issues of psychedelics, psychoactive drugs, policy reform, and harm reduction. In March of 2017 he was promoted to Executive Director of DanceSafe, and continues to remain active in outreach activities. 

Erica Siegal

Erica Siegal is a professional harm reductionist, community organizer and MDMA-assisted psychotherapy researcher.

Erica founded NEST Harm Reduction Consulting to provide compassionate, trauma-informed care, trainings and on-site services to events, communities and professionals in the field. She combines a decade of direct services work with a B.A in Hospitality Administration from Cornell University and a Master in Social Work from The University of Southern California, to create a unique, consumer-focused, multi-system care model that brings compassion and sustainability back into our communities, both large and small. 

In addition to her community outreach and event services experience, she also works as a psychotherapist researcher on the Phase 3 FDA-approved MDMA-assisted psychotherapy clinical trials in Los Angeles, California.

Taylor Rodrigues

Taylor is a firm believer in drug decriminalization and harm reduction. He has worked in public policy for over five years in several government departments on a range of policy files. Taylor holds a Master of Public Policy from the University of Toronto and a Bachelor of Arts in philosophy and a certificate in ethics from Western University. Currently, Taylor is pursuing a Juris Doctor at the University of Toronto.

Shannon Dames

Dr. Dames spearheaded the development of the theoretical framework for Roots to Thrive.  She serves at Vancouver Island University as a nursing professor and resilience researcher. 

As a byproduct of her doctoral work, which focused on the core factors that promote human flourishing, and as a Health Professional Investigator for the Michael Smith Foundation for Health Research, Dr. Dames is now spearheading the ongoing development and research components of Roots to Thrive (RTT) combined with medicine-assisted therapy.

Valorie Masuda

Dr. Masuda is a palliative care physician and general practitioner in oncology working in the Cowichan Valley on Vancouver Island.  Certified in psychedelic medicine through the California Institute of Integral Studies, trained through Therapsil and the Roots to Thrive program.  

Dr. Masuda has been working in the psychedelic space since 2020 using psilocybin-assisted therapy for palliative patients, navigating the Section 56 Exemption and later, the Special Access Program to support patients with distress secondary to their serious cancer diagnosis.  

Lindsay Farrell

Dr. Farrell is Anishinaabekwe. Her mother is from Whitewater Lake in Northern Ontario and her father is second-generation White settler of Scottish, Irish, and English descent. Lindsay is a member of Eabametoong First Nation and grew up in Thunder Bay, Ontario. 

She has spent the last several years working to advance cultural safety, the process of Truth and Reconciliation, as well as supporting improved health and wellness outcomes for First Nations, Inuit and Métis Peoples within academic health research and healthcare settings. 

Dr. Farrell is an Adjunct Professor in the Department of Psychology, Irving K Barber Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences at the University of British Columbia Okanagan and currently serves as the Vice President of Indigenous Initiatives and Reconciliation at Numinus.

Pamela Kryskow

Dr. Pamela Kryskow is a medical doctor with a strong interest in chronic pain, mental health and psychedelic medicine.

She is a clinical instructor at UBC and adjunct professor at VIU.

She is the Medical Director of the Vancouver Island University Post Graduate Certificate in Psychedelic Medicine. She is one of the founding board members of the Canadian Psychedelic Association.

Dr Kryskow is actively involved in research related to psilocybin, MDMA, ketamine, front line health care workers and first responders mental wellness. She is co-investigator on the largest microdosing study Microdose.me which is ongoing with 15000+ enrolled participants.

She is the medical lead on the Roots To Thrive Ketamine and Psilocybin Assisted Therapy Programs that treats health care providers and first responders with PTSD, depression, anxiety, addiction and people with end of life distress.

In real life she loves hiking in the forest, ocean kayaking, growing kale and daydreaming in the hammock. Her heritage includes Polish, Ukrainian, and German. She currently resides in the traditional unceded territory of the Klahoose First Nations. Pronouns: She/her.

Zara Snapp

Zara is the co-founder of Instituto RIA, a board member of ReverdeSer Colectivo (Mexico) and an international advisor for Acción Técnica Social​ (Colombia)​. She is also the host of the podcast el 4o Amparo(in Spanish). In 2014-2017, she formed part of the Secretariat of the Global Commission on Drug Policy, where she focused on the Latin American strategy and UNGASS 2016.

Steve Rolles

Steve is the lead author on many of Transform’s publications, including 2009’s After the War on Drugs: Blueprint for Regulation. He is a regular contributor to the public debate on drug policy and law in print and broadcast media, and has been a speaker at various events, conferences and inquiries held by, among others, the UK government, the UN, and many other high-level international bodies.

Ismail Lourido Ali

Ismail (he/him or they/them) has been personally utilizing psychedelics and other substances in celebratory and spiritual contexts for over fifteen years, and has been actively participating in the drug policy reform movement since 2013. 

As the Director of Policy and Advocacy at the Multidisciplinary Association of Psychedelic Studies (MAPS), Ismail advocates to eliminate barriers to psychedelic therapy and research, develops and implements legal and policy strategy, and supports MAPS’ strategy, organizational development, and ethics work. Ismail is a founding Board member of the Psychedelic Bar Association and also presently serves on the Board of Directors for Sage Institute in California’s Bay area. 

Ismail advises, is formally affiliated with, or has served in leadership roles for numerous organizations in the drug policy reform ecosystem, including Students for Sensible Drug Policy, Chacruna Institute, and the Ayahuasca Defense Fund.