The Law


An old set of Limelight flyers (above) that take us back to better days.

https://crackbillionair.wordpress.com/2012/11/11/limelight-no-simple-pill-to-swallow/

I like the careful consideration to the subtext of the film– without calling the feds to the mat, the film suggests that there was massive misconduct. As someone who lived through the experience first hand, I know just how horrific the prosecutor side was because the initial indictment had claims that turned out to be false, and yet they did not drop the case but instead added murky charges like RICO. And once the headlines were printed, there was no way to recover from the damage. The feds lied repeatedly (and without any recourse) and said they while doing surveillance that my father took cocaine from his desk drawer and laughed as they put this in a report which was in his first indictment. Try defending yourself in federal court and in the court of public opinion when the NY Post read like a Giuliani newsletter.
My dad wanted someone to get answers from the prosecutors and the DEA agents because they never took the stand– I was hoping they would trust that the director was law enforcement friendly and could give their perspective. Sadly, I still want answers. Even without realizing that I was part of the film, no one on the government side would speak to rakontur– even a DEA agent who participated in a puff piece book (where no one from the defense side was ever asked to counter what he claimed) refused to be interviewed– he must have been too busy playing golf with Lord Michael (I am being literal and not facetious). DEA headquarters only agreed to an interview if “Gatien” was not mentioned– so basically we got nothing to explain how they could in clear consciousness proceed with the case knowing that every witness was lying to get a 5K letter (not one person who cooperated did ANY time despite mandatory minimums for their crimes which were on wiretaps and undeniable, and most significantly HAD NOTHING TO DO WITH MY FATHER but their own profit making schemes).
Incidentally, my dad’s disappointment in the film is authentic and not some marketing ploy. He felt that the feds got away scot free once again.

It isn’t very often that we write something that doesn’t head directly into oblivion, but lo and behold, we were enormously gratified at the notice that Jen Gatien, who we consider royalty, has given to our Twitter and to this little page of ours.  Above appears Ms. Gatien’s very much appreciated comments on our thoughts on Limelight, as well as some of her personal feelings about the hardships her family suffered at the hands of the federal government.  It was also wild to have some very nice words tweeted about us by the film’s director, who’s films we absolutely love, Billy Corben.

Billy Corben ‏@BillyCorben
Fascinating comprehensive analysis of @rakonturmiami movie LIMELIGHT: Rise & Fall of Peter Gatien https://crackbillionair.wordpress.com/2012/11/11/limelight-no-simple-pill-to-swallow/ … via @crackbillionair

What a tremendous thrill to be noticed by Jen Gatien and Billy Corben.  We are very grateful to them for taking the time to read what amounted to a voluminous stack of text, some 4,000 plus words.  We had felt any real readers we have, appreciating the nature of this site, would want to know our take on Limelight, and so, when we lost the original critique during Hurricane Sandy, we endeavored to reproduce it.  By the way, we should thank our readers as well, who have pushed us up to 2.1 million views since we clicked on in March of 2010.  Thanks all.

Still, had we known that Ms. Gatien and Mr. Corben would grace us with their time, we probably would have primped the piece up some more.  We definitely meant Mr. Gatien no disrespect whatsoever.  We’d like to be clear on that.  Peter Gatien is a hero of ours who symbolizes all that is great about NYC and what NYC should be about, minus the fascist element.  As always, we only mean to speak candidly here in this space, and hope Mr. Gatien can take some solace from the fact that we did indeed understand the outrageous persecution he was subjected to, and thought the film did a good job portraying it, even without the participation of the persecutors, who frankly, had nothing to gain by going on the record.

In fact, their silence only underscores their maniacal intent, devious perversions of the law and the news, and acts to verify their standing as the true villains, the overwhelming face of evil.

When we look back on better days, the preferred memory is Limelight VIP all the way, lounging in that little glass room in the steeple, or surveying the dance floor from our convenient perch.  It was a very lucky thing that we were a part of.

Crack (https://crackbillionair.wordpress.com)

“I ended up that day finally at the federal lockup in Brooklyn.  The lights went on at 6 O’ Clock the next morning and within ten minutes I was approached for any drug I wanted.  Heroin, coke.  I’m supposed to be able to prevent it, but meanwhile, in a place where you’re strip searched 6, 9 times before getting to your bed, it’s okay for them to have it.”

                                                                                                     — Peter Gatien

“You go to any rock concert, for example, at either The Meadowlands or Madison Square Garden and you are gonna have hundreds if not thousands of people using drugs and you’re not gonna see the management of The Meadowlands or Madison Square Garden indicted.”

“There was a young prosecutor, very little experience.  Her name was Michelle Adelman.  I mean, she was obsessed with Peter.  She had a big picture of Peter behind her desk in her office.  I remember going in there one time and saying, ‘This is not healthy.  Get a life.  This is just a case.'”

“…regardless of how prominent the individual is, I had never seen such a scorched earth mentality.”

                                                                                                    –Ben Brafman

“The motto was get Gatien at all costs.”

                                    –John Dabrowski (P.I. & former Nassau County Cop)

We understand Peter Gatien’s criticism of Billy Corben’s 2011 documentary, Limelight.  The legendary club owner was hoping that the film would be less of a monument to him than a cautionary tale of governmental overreach, or so he told the New York Times in September of 2011.  We’re not sure if Corben meant it to be, but the early minutes of the movie nearly present Gatien as both the finder and the founder of the club scene.  We would think, even in a movie about The Limelight, that Corben has some obligation to at least mention the genesis of the club scene.  The creator of the modern dance hall/dance club genre was Bill Graham, a holocaust survivor and transplanted New Yorker to San Francisco.  Graham had observed the radical success of One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest author Ken Kesey and his crew, The Merry Pranksters, with their Acid Test parties, held during the mid 60’s at roving locations in the Bay Area, Los Angeles, and later, Mexico, when Kesey became a fugitive from the law for violating his probation (he was arrested for possessing approximately 3 grams of marijuana).  Graham rented out San Francisco’s old Fillmore Auditorium in 1968.  The Fillmore was depicted in the Hunter S. Thompson book and subsequent movie Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, in a most memorable scene, when Thompson, played by Johnny Depp, drops part of a hit of LSD, paper form, onto the sleeve of his coat in the Fillmore’s bathroom, where another club patron seizes on that opportunity, and proceeds to suck the acid off of his sleeve.

Bill Graham, who was born Wolodia Grajonca, was unpopular with some of the celebrities of the Haight-Ashbury counter culture movement, like the Pranksters, because he didn’t deem them worthy of free admission.  Graham, who earned a business degree from City College, understood invariably that The Fillmore was a business.  He was an excellent businessman who also gained prominence as the manager of Jefferson Airplane.  When some Haight-Ashbury residents pressured the police to crack down on his establishment because of the notorious hippie element, Graham bought a suit of clothes, slicked his hair, and went door to door to all neighborhood businesses, to explain to local businessmen how much opportunity for revenue that hippie element created for the neighborhood.  When asked how he was able to persuade the local community not to pursue their complaints about The Fillmore, he replied, “Pressure.”

Bill Graham is well chronicled in The Haight-Ashbury: A History, by Rolling Stone reporter Charles Perry.  Perhaps the best work to date on Graham, if less comprehensive, is Tom Wolfe’s amazing nonfiction novel, The Electric Koolaid Acid Test.

We were also left unimpressed with Corben’s depiction of the beginning of Ecstasy culture in NYC.  We’d characterize crediting “Lord Michael” for essentially bringing MDMA to New York as a convenient truth for the purposes of this film.  While MDMA was first created by German scientists trying to develop an appetite suppressant for plump housewives, it was America who put the chemical on the map, thanks to our good friend Dr. Shulgin, in large part.  Ecstasy scenes in California and Texas were thriving throughout the 1980’s and a great deal of their Ecstasy made its way to NY, though Lord Michael seems to be the only chump to get himself on the map for transporting a substance, and in small numbers mind you, that was not yet illegal.  But Lord Michael’s tales of bringing in several thousand hits from England, if we can agree that such piddly “smuggling” is small potatoes, is an argument which would refute Gatien’s criticism about the essence of the film.

We love Corben’s body of work, which includes Cocaine Cowboys and the lesser known Square Groupers, a compelling collection of stories from 70’s era marijuana traffickers.  We’d have to applaud Corben for Limelight as well–especially for Limelight–because this was an establishment very near and dear to our hearts, and because any governmental over-reach is too much.  In fact, we feel no need to be as diplomatic as star club owner Peter Gatien.  This movie is about tyranny to us in a very obvious sense, and the subject of that tyranny is our very demographic–the liberal intelligentsia.

The Limelight’s venue (above), which had to rankle conservative types because it was a former church, though officially deconsecrated.

What’s most germane to this story is that Rudolf Giuliani, whom Gatien supported in his bid to become mayor, whose first wife was also his cousin, made a target of Gatien when Nicholas Marinelli supposedly died the night after supposedly purchasing drugs at The Limelight.  Marinelli, from a privileged background, whose family had the personal ear of then NJ governor Thomas Kean, called Giuliani personally about Gatien, who then unleashed the DEA upon Gatien, an easy target because of his success, notoriety, and villainous eye patch.  We also do not think it helped Gatien’s cause the way the club was portrayed in the 1992 movie, The Bad Lieutenant, starring Harvey Keitel as a dirty cop who went to the club to score drugs (frankly we are surprised Limelight made no mention of that, though Corben may not have had permission to use that movie for this film.)

If you read that as a joke, it’s not how we meant it, though we get how preposterous that should be to you.  There is no greater danger to our liberty than inbred mayoral scum doing favors for mush mouthed cronies along political back channels that seek to destroy the lives of people according to their looks, lifestyle, and progressive attitudes.  And oh, by the way, Marinelli committed suicide, and the official cause of death is listed as death by asphyxiation.  But the government was not about to let a good scapegoat be obscured by mere, actual FACTS.  In making the case against Peter Gatien, the state was also putting a sinister face on Ecstasy, a “new” and little known drug, giving our great nation a leg up in the Machiavellian propaganda machine that is the war on drugs.

While on the topic of facts, how about USADA Linda Lacewell’s oh so ignorant claim that Ecstasy commonly contained heroin and PCP?  Frankly, that may be our “favorite” bit of drug war propaganda of all time.  Ecstasy databases like DanceSafe, EData, and even the woefully disgraceful PillReports  have thousands of lab results including chemical compositions, Reagent test results, and failing those, user reports.  When one searches those databases by chemical, or should they even go report by report, dating back to the 1st published information on specific Ecstasy, there is approximately 1 pill per 1000 (0.1% of all Ecstasy) suspected to contain PCP.  We’d estimate an even smaller percentage suspected to have heroin.  Granted, the Ecstasy information available is still flagging, but only because the establishment prefers us to believe what they want us to believe as opposed to what’s true.  A person like Linda Lacewell, a Draconian moron of her ilk, would like us to believe that there are serial killers out there whose modus operandi is death by Ecstasy, preying on people by giving them heroin or PCP, which, are not even deadly drugs necessarily.  When pressed however, Lacewell and those from the same school of drug war propaganda, attempted to connect MDMA with cardiac arrest, before the weak declaration that MDMA causes…heat exhaustion.  Ecstasy has been classified as non lethal, and benign by main stream medicine.  Please recall Peter Jennings’ ABC special called Ecstasy in which Jennings declared on national television that a person could use MDMA sporadically throughout their entire life while suffering zero long term effects.

Now, can an Ecstasy pill contain heroin?  Absolutely.  Have they?  More myth than fact, and we’ve never seen a legitimate composition report of a pill sold as Ecstasy that contained heroin, in 2 decades of analysis, but it is possible.  It’s also possible that the Jets can win the Superbowl.  But can we all appreciate the chances of it happening are about the same as a snowball’s chance in hell?  For we are not able to call it a reasonable assertion that heroin and PCP routinely make up Ecstasy with statistical significance based on scientific data.  Then again, how much scientific data is really being consulted by men who marry their blood relatives?  How much scientific data was used in consultation with the Salem Witch Trials?  And how often really, does this government tell, we the people, the truth as opposed to crude distortions?

On Giuliani’s marriage to his second cousin, which lasted 14 years, FYI, before being annulled, in grand Roman Catholic style reminiscent of the warrior popes of the middle ages, which were just about on Giuliani’s same wavelength:

http://abcnews.go.com/2020/Stossel/story?id=2395516&page=1#.UJsZf442UqY

http://www.cousincouples.com/?page=famous

http://xfinity.comcast.net/slideshow/entertainment-celebcousinpairs/7/

http://www.realchange.org/giuliani.htm

Or Google it yourself.  There are only 722,000 search results that pop up when one searches “Giuliani married cousin.”  We thought it a very interesting use of device the way that Corben pulled the story of Gatien’s drug case together.  Raconteur indeed.  At the very outset of that portion of the movie that gets into the drug charges levied against Gatien, the first round of charges that is, Brafman, the best criminal attorney in the country, bar none, who has won acquittals for Gatien, Sean Combs, a laundry list of mafioso, as well as sweetheart plea arrangements for Daphne Abdela (“The Baby Faced Killer”) and Chris Paciello (who participated in the home invasion murder of Staten Island housewife Judy Shemtov), in addition to other star clients like Michael Jackson and Plaxico Burress, released a statement saying that Gatien ‘at no time in his 20+ year career owning clubs ever condoned drug use.’

Hold the thought.  Because when informant, murderous scum like Michael Alig and Sean Kirkham brag to the Feds that Gatien personally binged at drug parties that he organized, the law, having caught Gatien in an apparent lie when he wasn’t even under oath, expanded their charges to include ones that claimed that Gatien used such parties as a reward for his employees for allegedly excelling in his alleged criminal Ecstasy drug distribution operation.  Brafman had a responsibility, pre-trial, to counter the massive public relations blows coming at Gatien, rapid fire, from the inbred mayor, the NYPD, the DEA, and the federal government.  If Brafman was indeed correct in his exchange with ADA Adelman (“this is just a case”), then we may conclude that tactics like the pile on effect–creating a litany of tack on charges that give the appearance of guilt–is standard operating practice for “the people” (*cringe*).  Trustworthy prosecutors (oxymoron) may charge people with multiple counts where truly applicable, but the pile on effect does, as Gatien said, run counter to a most basic right of the actual people, which is the presumption of innocence.  For is it not more difficult to maintain the presumption of innocence when a person is facing 5 charges as opposed to 1 or 2?

What about Gatien’s specific remarks about the charges that connected his sporadic drug use to racketeering?  Isn’t he right when he says that a jury of working class, middle class people, tasked to deliberate on his freedom, will be pre-prejudiced by the fact that on occasion he binged on cocaine while frequenting prostitutes, if they were in fact prostitutes?  How is Peter Gatien, multi-millionaire/captain of industry/playboy/hotel drug partier, going to get an unprejudiced jury of his peers, in a drug case, when somebody like that has no peers?  Peter Gatien as the original Peerless Price.  Precisely why it was so imperative that Gatien retain Brafman in the first place.  An attorney like Brafman can create peers from the unlikeliest jury pools, and only one steadfast juror who follows the judge’s instructions closely, is needed to render a not guilty verdict.  As Brafman said in Limelight, after inquiring as to a possible plea arrangement, the best option was to represent Gatien in court and take their chances with the jury system.  Brafman:

“I went down to the U.S. Attorney’s Office and said, ‘this is like, crazy.  If we wanted to resolve the case, what would be the sentencing guidelines that you would think was appropriate?’  They looked at me and said ’11 years.’  They assessed Peter Gatien criminal responsibility for every pill sold by anyone that they seized in the course of the investigation.  They multiplied out the math and it came to 11 years.  I looked at them like they were nuts to suggest that Peter Gatien, who was running 4 venues at the same time, could be criminally responsible for what went on at any given moment at any one of the venues was something that I thought I could win in a court room.”

Super heavyweight criminal attorney Ben Brafman (above).

To keep suit with the very logical Brafman, should any crime be committed in a club, the club owner is not automatically criminally responsible for conspiracy to commit such a crime.  The nuisance abatement laws in NYC which permitted the police to shut any business’s doors in which there were 3 incidents in one year, if applied to strictly to clubs, would see every club shuttered.  Let’s be completely honest.  There are thousands of drug deals going down on any given night in any major venue, club, concert, festival, and so on.  The irony is, The Limelight was not nearly the drug supermarket, “a drug buyer’s paradise”, that it would become after Gatien had relinquished ownership.  Drug use should be an indicator more as to what is likely in a free society, not an indictment on that society, and never an indictment against the operator of the venue, unless truly warranted.

Sean Kirkham, in fact, conspired with the authorities (who, by the way, were so unreliable and were guaranteed to be ruined on the stand by Brafman that the prosecution could not allow their testimony) for the purposes of creating the charges against Gatien.  As Gatien explained, “the only way to prevent those drug deals from happening on those nights was to not open the doors.”  How do you, after all, prevent the DEA from running their own drug ops at any given place at any given time?  One has to consider exactly why then, do the nuisance abatement laws exist if not as a tool for tyranny, which is defined as an arbitrary or unrestrained exercise of power; despotic use of authority.  But then, Sean Kirkham re-flipped, and claimed that prosecutor Eric Friedberg, who was brought in to buoy the government’s case as it headed to trial, because Adelman and her little crony were essentially amateurs not fit to duel Ben Brafman, was someone with whom he had had a homosexual relationship.  Friedberg, who was the chief of the Federal Narcotics Bureau.  LOFL.  Though probably not a guy who hooked up with a gay club kid who dabbled in counterfeiting, a clown nontheless, so that was a nice laugh which came around the one hour mark of the film.  But when the trial began, it was Michelle Adelman, who in the opening statement, admitted to the jury that the government had exactly zero evidence linking Gatien financially to any of the crimes he was charged with.

So why then would a person conspire to distribute Ecstasy and throw parties to reward his Ecstasy salesman, if not for profit?  Because Gatien had an overwhelming interest in seeing club patrons high?  High people do not spend money.  But that’s besides the point, really, because not only couldn’t the government make any sense as to what Gatien’s possible motives could be, but also, by the time of the trial in 1998, there was exactly one major witness left to their case trying to implicate Gatien, the infamous Michael Caruso (“Lord Michael”), whom Ben Brafman not only exposed for the scumbag he was on cross examination, but also, raised the spectre of possibility that Caruso was a murderer, when Caruso broke down in tears on the stand, begging the court to believe that the questionable circumstances surrounding Caruso’s roommate’s suicide were indeed true, and to believe him that he did not participate in that roommate’s death.  The government’s case was essentially blown in the course of that cross, if not by Adelman herself during the opening statement, which is precisely the reason why Brafman is known as the best attorney in the world at cross examining witnesses.  Brafman, who has made an extraordinary career at criminal defense, is practiced at exposing liars, breaking down snitches by the dozen in your average mafia case.  And it all begs the question, as Village Voice reporter Frank Owen (who authored The Fabulous Rise and Murderous Fall of Club Culture) put it in the film, “then what the hell are we doing here?”

But you had an overzealous prosecution emboldened by a hell bent, inbred mayor, who had essentially struck out with their over-riding strategy, which was, as Gatien said, ‘to break him and make him plead’, and now had to take its chances with a couple of sketchy, unscrupulous criminals, against the Ben Brafman because there was no backup plan (*at that time*).  Brafman should have won a dismissal, but we’re sure he was happy to settle for not guilty on all counts.  But at the end of the day, those not guilty verdicts read by the Gatien jury in 1998 were not by any means the end of the government’s persecution of Peter Gatien.  Also, it was where Corben’s film takes a stunning turn in complexity.

One of Michael Caruso’s allegations, shoddy as they may be, gave us pause for consideration.  Caruso alleged, and though it was not even illegal at the time, to have once given Gatien 20 hits of Ecstasy, as a “display of respect.”  It was not necessary for Brafman to disprove that statement, and, it could very well have been true.  Gatien was an imperfect man, a real human being, and we thought the film did an excellent job of presenting a very complicated figure in Gatien, in a way that did not sanctify him.  Gatien said he had never used drugs in his clubs, ever.  Okay.  So maybe he got some drugs at the “massive drug supermarket” that was The Limelight, or Tunnel, or Palladium, or Club USA.  Again, he’s not under oath when he makes a statement like that, and it’s not unreasonable to think that he may have gotten drugs from Caruso.  I mean, who didn’t get E at a club like that at some point, if you are in the scene?

The implication, whether true or false, does “dirty” Gatien, and frankly, one of the things that drives us here on this page and in our other projects and in life is to legitimize the use of psychedelics, so a Gatien or his patrons, people like me, do not face damage to their reputation for using them.  But we aren’t there yet.  We aren’t even close.  So there is Gatien, the deceptive drug user, but also, Gatien, the irresponsible business man.  In watching this film, who out there feels that Gatien’s explanations about how much it cost to run his empire were valid?  I do believe they were true but at the same time, not valid, if that can make sense.  Hiring teams of artists, architects, and decorators to constantly transform and remake the club, from party to party, is not the way to run a successful club.  We hate to malign Gatien, but we are compelled to be honest.  Every successful non Vegas club we’ve ever seen has put on the show with minimum frills, save for the act.  You must spend on the music and the sound, and not necessarily on the decor.  Gatien’s style was garish which happened to work well in Atlanta where he had a campy dance floor built over a shark tank and whatnot, and for the 80’s and 90’s in NYC we see why a similar approach helped attract patrons.  But at the end of the day, you are there for the music.

Bill Graham understood the importance of keeping costs down, something that Gatien doesn’t get.  Had he gotten it, he would not have had to sell his clubs for what amounted to a song, even in the face of mounting a 5 year defense against the federal government.  To do $25M in revenue a year for ten years or whatever the numbers were, is ridiculous, and very hard to sell to me when it’s done and there’s no money that it wasn’t wasteful.  Also, hard to sell to the owner of Circa in Toronto, which Gatien ran for a while, before the ownership tired of his wasteful spending practices.  And why was NYC’s King of Clubs relegated to Toronto in the first place, having hit a home run against the government in his drug case?

Well, that’s because Gatien, a Canadian citizen, never naturalized as an American citizen, despite having an American wife and children.  One of whom produced this film (Jen Gatien, DeerJen Productions).  So when Gatien was convicted of tax fraud, which Brafman and Gatien admitted he was guilty of, the US government, still with a healthy hard on for Peter Gatien some 5 years after Brafman beat them clean in court, exercised the right to deport Gatien, as President Bush, another Republican who does not know who inspector Javert is (we loved the story relayed in the film by former mayor Ed Koch, who told Giuliani “Rudy, you are pursuing people like inspector Javert with an intensity that is not acceptable”, to which Giuliani replied, “Who’s Javert?”) gave some quid pro quo to America’s mayor, who we again remind you, is inbred trash.  (After 9/11, the Patriot Act was passed, which allows the government to deport non citizens guilty of fraud.)

Gatien somehow did not see this coming?  The government’s war of attrition took a turn in the Al Capone-esque direction, when they couldn’t get Gatien for drugs and racketeering, and frankly, he needed to be beyond reproach having had such a large bullseye drawn on his back, a “scorched earth policy” the likes of which his attorney had never before seen.  Then again, when the government crawls up your ass for ten or twelve years, they are eventually going to find something that stinks.  Who among us has never broken the law?  Then again, are we all out there committing fraud, which in this case, was a willful misrepresentation of his business’s tax records?  Would we be stupid enough to do so after seeing our freedom already so vehemently threatened?

The government aimed to get him and they got him, and what difference did it make to them really if it didn’t happen on the first try?  Well, the difference it made was that it strengthened their resolve and fortified their approach to where there wouldn’t have to be a trial next time around.  They would still find a way to see Gatien go to federal prison and then unceremoniously deport him from the United States.

Though the prosecution admitted that they had no evidence that Gatien had profited from the sale of drugs in his clubs, they hardly needed proof to levy the accusation.  It was like this: ‘while we don’t have proof, um, the guy wears an eye patch, for the love of God and country.’  The refute was like this: ‘why would Peter Gatien, grossing a zillion dollars a year, risk his freedom and the life as he knew it in order to make a few extra dollars selling Ecstasy?’

Indeed.  So why would he run a tax scam for a few extra dollars then?  Is the answer a study in complexity, a testament to human fallibility, or an indicator that the government was right all along that Gatien was indeed a criminal?  We think it was two out of three.  We don’t think Gatien a criminal.  We think, in the end, that this film was such a profile of tyranny, of the arbitrary wielding of might, wreckless and whimsical and incompetent and blatantly sinister and yet successful, all at once.  Gatien is perhaps too close to the matter to assess Corben’s film properly.  Or, rather, Gatien had a hand in the making of the film, and that in his assessment, the best way to see it to success was to be critical of his portrayal.  For why would a man assail the work of his own daughter publicly, if not for a ruse that could lead to financial prosperity?

In the end, the government was not about to get beaten again by the Gatien/Brafman dream team.  They have to live with getting beaten by Brafman when they are foolish enough to take him to court, but not by Gatien, who in the end, does get to go down as a criminal in the version of the story as they choose to tell it.  Because he “allowed” people to do drugs in a place when we live in a society where people are doing drugs anyway, everywhere, and who do not need our permission.

In the end, Gatien is a phenomenal interview and Brafman a legendary one, and Corben a genius at bringing their story together, and the government’s, the grandest of long cons, a coup d’etat by which they broke a man at a trial they lost so that he wouldn’t have the power to fight another fight.  And Gatien, banished, in exile in Toronto, essentially because despite the tremendous opportunities in America, he never loved America enough to join it, always leery of the mechanisms at play which generated those opportunities.  With good reason.

We say to Peter Gatien, “THANK YOU!”  That the money is no great loss. Can’t take it with you.  Gatien not only provided establishments for people like me, but also, for all the people, no matter their color, their sexuality, their age, their dress, what they looked like or spoke like or whether they were from Brooklyn or Jupiter.  We hope he truly takes heart in his freedom as he says, and that he isn’t the lonely Canadian outcast, a media distortion to this day.  Gatien was a wild success in his industry and in life who conquered NY and embarrassed the government.  He may no longer be peerless, but it is only a precious few who has withstood what he has and came out as well, alive to tell.

From a child of The Limelight.

Crackbillionair (https://crackbillionair.wordpress.com)

We don’t do much on politics except drug politics.  Yet here we are.  So this must be important.  The other day when driving behind a car with the red Rutgers “R”, a flood of negativity rushed in.  We had recently read, in full, the pleas for leniency made to the court by the parents of Dharun Ravi.

http://www.nj.com/news/index.ssf/2012/05/dharun_ravi_sentencing_impact.html

His mom says he has suffered enough.  He can’t eat, she says.  He has no social life.  The media made him a monster, she says.  The whole case is a media distortion, she says.  She says that there has never been any truth.  None.  Her son loves his family dog and his baby brother, she says.  She says that on the 2 or 3 weekends before Tyler Clementi took his own life, her son came home to be with his family.  These were the linchpins of her argument as to the glowing character of her son.

And of course, she says he doesn’t have a hateful bone in his body.  Of course he doesn’t.  He’s a great guy, right?  The father says the same.  The father also says they are not a closed household and that they celebrate diversity, the whole American way nonsense, as anyone could’ve easily predicted he would.  What is he gonna say?

Actually, if it was my son for whom I was applying for leniency, I would not hesitate to fall on my sword.  Yes, we were hateful and please please save him because this is all our fault.  We obviously failed to bring up a productive member of society.  Don’t punish him for that.

But Mr. Ravi is intent on having the court know that the Ravis are “good people.” As easy as it would be to call such nonsense laughable, who really knows?  Maybe they are.  Not Dharun, of course.  Clearly he is most despicable.  A destructive member of society.  If you can not agree with us on that then just X this out.  But maybe they are good and life is just complicated, as they say.

This next bit is not so complicated.  A jury read about 300 guilty verdicts against him.  We can’t go count for count, but bias intimidation counts are essentially hate crimes, are they not?  Now one does not have to hold hate in his heart in order to commit hateful acts.  And these were hateful acts, under taken repetitively.  Also, one can hold much hate inside and not act on that hate.  The Ravis want to make this about Dharun Ravi not being hateful.

That doesn’t even matter.  It is completely irrelevant.  If Tyler Clementi was not gay would Dharun Ravi have webcammed his trysts?  Please.  So that nonsense ends right there.  The other nonsense is that Dharun Ravi didn’t make Tyler Clementi commit suicide.  We beg to differ.

Dharun Ravi did not get charged with murder.  That is a fact.  If he is not responsible for Clementi’s death, who is?  Well, Rutgers.  Obviously.  How do you leave kids together who express these apprehensions, on record, to the U.?  They will get theirs, for sure, and we’ll leave that for another day.

Dharun Ravi is also responsible.  One does not get to say, ‘well, I told Rutgers I didn’t wanna live with him’ and offer that for absolution.  Although, Ravi’s parents are quick, and many liberals whom I thought were of our own ilk, are quick as well to point out that Ravi didn’t make Clementi commit suicide.  I guess not.  He just made the action that caused the suicide.  Pure semantics.  He wasn’t on trial for murder or manslaughter or whatever anyway.  He did the crimes he is guilty of.  There was no reasonable doubt created.

How about the part of the pleas for leniency where they say ‘remember that Dharun Ravi didn’t make Tyler commit suicide’?  That’s gall.  Right.  Because that is what you believe if you are the parents of a monster.  It’s all the victim’s fault, right?  Guess what?  Since then, high schoolers who prompted a bullying related suicide in NJ have been charged with manslaughter.  The perception of this type of situation changed after the Ravi incident, because it is so so so so serious.  And Ravi has gotten off easy.

In that regard, the blame game, the Ravis understand the American system quite well.  But in the most important ways, they do not.  The dad, a well written man, says the judge should not send a kid to prison, ruining 2 people’s lives on account of this sad situation.  Fine.  We don’t have that much problem with Ravi’s exceedingly lenient sentence of 30 days in jail.  Jails are no place for 19-20 year old kids, for the most part.  Although, the gov’t does throw one hell of an expensive proceeding just to give a kid a 30 day bid.

We actually would have to applaud Judge Berman for not bowing to the inherent pressure in the sentencing guidelines.  When a judge refuses to be just a rubber stamp, the system works more fairly.  Judges should have a wealth of common sense accumulated, and should use it.  Judges who apologize as they hand out sentences are worthless.  Any dummy could do that.

But the people who argue that Dharun Ravi should not be deported when the court is within its right to do so are not considering this case from the right side.  The side of Tyler Clementi’s family.  I do not know if they even want Ravi to be deported.  We don’t mean ‘their side’ as the deport him side, but rather, from the victim’s side.  We all could have a kid in the unenviable position of a Tyler Clementi.  But let’s be real.  For someone to be a Dharun Ravi, a great lot has to go very wrong.  We all will not have children in the position of a Dharun Ravi, because who’s kids are as cold, mean, and unenlightened?  And who act on it?

Dharun Ravi’s mom says her son has no social life.  That he never even gets out of the house for a sandwich, that he has lost 20 lbs. since this all began and she longs for the day when he will eat like a normal kid.  What a gut wrenching tale of woe.  Stupid questions: who wants to be friends with a person like that?  So Tyler Clementi’s parents must’ve really gotten the short end of the stick, huh?

Dharun Ravi is not an American citizen.  He does not deserve any more protection from the law.  At what point can we cast aside youthful indiscretion as an excuse for heinous acts?  Can’t we in this case, or is this not serious enough?

If it is not enough, we want to know why not.  We can’t see how this kid deserves to have a life here.  He doesn’t deserve a heavy handed sentence, as that may be excessively cruel.  But America is far too good for this kid.  That is something that should reverberate loudly from these crimes.

Crack (https://crackbillionair.wordpress.com)

Above are three videos about unlawful cannabis related arrests, the first two, victims’ tales, and the third, NYS Assemblymen Hakeem Jeffries, who lends perspective to what amounts to classic entrapment, thousands of cases per year, that are rubber stamped by the judicial system.  Perhaps most disturbing is that both victims, who were both arrested and cuffed and put through the system, did not smoke or possess any cannabis at all.  The racial aspect must also be found disturbing by any rational mind.  Lesser quantity cannabis crimes are exclusively sought by the NYPD, and every other PD in America, only in black and Latino neighborhoods, only in lower socio-economic sectors.

A lot to say here, and we don’t wish to muck it up with the usual avalanche of machine gun fire, as spraying ammo will surely dilute this most important cause.  The first reaction for anyone cannabis friendly at yesterday’s news of Governor Cuomo’s plan to decriminalize lesser quantities had to be a joyous one, for selfish reasons.  But let’s be real.  We white people, off in the burbs, or in the smart part of town, are far removed from the front lines where people actually get arrested for cannabis.  Can we not smoke all the live long day, on the street, without so much as one cop rolling by…for weeks on end?

God bless Governor Cuomo and all but the man is only saving himself and the state the expense of one hell of a class action lawsuit.  So 83% of the illegal arrests are comprised of black and Latin peoples.  We are surprised that number is so low.  Because all the arrests are going down on Malcolm X Boulevard, not on John Calvin Boulevard.  How did the other 17%, whites, Chinese and other, get swept up?  Why, they went to the ghetto so they must have been there to buy herb, of course.

And so operates your big city PD.  Lying, racial profiling, full blooded racist tyranny, every way you can possibly slice it.  So this new measure of Cuomo’s isn’t about cannabis at all, really, as much as it is about racial profiling.  To save the city from racist cops, we must reduce the purview of racist cops.  We must give them less license to stop people.  For anything.  And we’ll happily start with cannabis, thank you very much.  And it does get the movement a step closer to where it needs to be, but this here news is about racism, not weed.  Though the esteemed Assemblyman makes an excellent point about how the act of carrying the weed becomes an arrestable offense when you take it out of your pocket on the order of the police.

A friend of ours, and one of the smartest criminal lawyers we know, M. Chris Fabricant, author of Busted!, which is of biblical proportions, or should be, to anyone in the scene, once told me what to do if I was ever getting arrested and the advice has stuck and resonates the much more seeing these http://www.drugpolicy.org videos.  Chris told us that our only hope, the only hope, when in this situation, is to put your hands up high where everyone can see them and declare, on the top of your lungs, “I DO NOT CONSENT TO AN UNLAWFUL SEARCH!”  To say it over and over and make sure that someone hears you.  A decent judge is going to consider giving you a pass for an unlawful search and seizure.  By not taking the drugs out yourself, you have not shown the drug in public, which is the actual offense, since lesser quantities are already down to ticketable offenses, carrying small fines as penalties.

But again, let’s be real.  Is the judge throwing out many illegal searches that go down on Malcolm X Boulevard?  The second video, of the man who happened to be walking with a guy who had weed in his shoe, said it correctly when he said that really, we have no rights at all.  Even if you do have weed in your shoe, what has tipped the authorities so that they may bum rush you on a public street?  The only possible signs would be racially stereotyped.  Baggy clothes, off tilt baseball hat, skin color, and the worst of all, just because you happened to be where you are at.  Being in the “high intensity crime zone” in itself is essentially reason enough to stop a person.  Until they change the law.

We have to thank Ethan Nadelmann, Director of the Drug Policy Alliance, for bringing our attention to these videos, and for being the hot button man on topics such as these now for many, many years.  While we have not yet met the man ourselves, our good friends Sasha and Ann Shulgin have sung his praises, along with MAPS founder Rick Dobin, and we’d consider the two men the leaders in the fight against the war on drugs.  They put the truth out there and that’s hard to refute.  Everyone in the community should follow Mr. Nadelmann on Twitter in the very least, and join MAPS at your earliest convenience.

Be Active, Smart, and Careful!

Crackbillionair (https://crackbillionair.wordpress.com)

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
MONDAY, MAY 7, 2012
CONTACT:
Allen Hopper, Criminal Justice and Drug Policy Director, ACLU of California
Contact via Communications Director Laura Saponara: 510-367-8453
U.S. APPEALS COURT TO HEAR ORAL ARGUMENTS IN CASE
CHALLENGING DEA’S DENIAL OF LICENSE FOR MEDICAL
MARIJUANA PRODUCTION FACILITY

On Friday, May 11, the United States Court of Appeals for the First Circuit in Boston, Mass., will hear
oral arguments in a federal lawsuit against the Drug Enforcement Administration for denying University
of Massachusetts-Amherst Prof. Lyle Craker a license to grow marijuana for privately funded medical
research. The arguments are the culmination of nearly 11 years of legal and administrative proceedings
seeking to end the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) monopoly on the supply of marijuana for
research.

The lawsuit is a response to an August 15, 2011, final order issued by the DEA rejecting a DEA
Administrative Law Judge’s 2007 recommendation that it would be in the public interest to grant Craker
the license. A laboratory at the University of Mississippi funded by the National Institute on Drug Abuse
is currently the only facility in the U.S. permitted to grow marijuana for research.
Craker is represented in the case by Washington, D.C., law firm Covington & Burling LLP and the
American Civil Liberties Union.

Craker first applied in June 2001 for a DEA license to start a marijuana production facility at the
University of Massachusetts-Amherst under contract to the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic
Studies (MAPS), a non-profit research and educational organization whose mission includes developing
marijuana into an FDA-approved prescription medicine. Prior to Craker’s application, NIDA had refused
to sell marijuana to two FDA-approved MAPS-sponsored protocols, preventing them from taking place.
In September 2011, NIDA refused to sell marijuana to a third FDA-approved MAPS-sponsored protocol,
this one in 50 U.S. veterans with chronic, treatment-resistant posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD),
preventing it from taking place. MAPS and Craker are working to open the door for privately funded drug
development studies conducted under FDA regulations.

Despite increasingly widespread recognition of marijuana’s therapeutic benefits and formal policies in 17
states and the District of Columbia, the federal government still insists that marijuana is a dangerous drug
with no medical value. Even if MAPS and Craker’s efforts to open the door for privately funded,
federally regulated non-profit medical marijuana research are successful, it will likely take a decade for
marijuana to become an FDA-approved prescription medicine. In the meantime, getting PTSD patients
access to the treatments they need will depend on the continuing success of state-based medical marijuana
policy reform.

DOCKET TO BE CALLED FRIDAY, MAY 11, 2012 AT 9:30 A.M
COURT OF APPEALS PANEL COURTROOM, 7TH FLOOR
BEFORE JUDGES: Torruella, Lipez, Howard
09-1220 Lyle E. Craker v. Drug Enforcement Administration
Appellant 15 min. Appellee 15 min.
###

The Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS) is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit research and
educational organization that works with government regulatory agencies to develop whole-plant
marijuana into an FDA-approved prescription medicine.

More information is available at http://www.maps.org/research/mmj.

The Petitioner’s Reply Brief in Lyle E. Craker v. Drug Enforcement Administration is available at
http://www.maps.org/mmj/dealawsuit/2012.05.04_Craker_Reply.pdf.

…….

Let’s all pay close attention to this case.  In the very, very least.

Crack (https://crackbillionair.wordpress.com)

 

We’ll be real right now, as we are wont to do.  We don’t despise Green Bay more than any other team that’s not a divisional opponent of the Jets, and nowhere near as much as Dallas, Oakland, Pittsburgh, Denver, Indy, or Washington.  Or Philadelphia, naturally.  We loved the whole Lombardi thing.  Books, documentaries, whatever.  (Brooklyn holler!)  We don’t wish to be too venomous in this space on this topic, so be advised that the opinion we are expressing is not meant to heap fresh scorn on Joe Philbin, Green Bay’s Offensive Coordinator, and it’s not like he’s sitting around reading us anyway.

But as we like to say, we have the right to say it, so we’re saying it.  It’s hard for us to mourn a kid who rapes little girls.  Frankly, we aren’t about to do it.  Nor can we mourn for a family that created an environment in which little girls get passed out drunk and then are sexually assaulted in the bed where the head of the household sleeps.  Yup.  Meet the Philbins, America.  Meet good old minor raping family USA and then figure out what is the proper way in which to regard them.

Was Michael Philbin Ben Roethlisberger Jr?  Yes, more or less.  Less the arm, more the convictions.  But here we have a football coach neglectful of his family, bordering on criminally so, and another football brat, bent on criminal sexual deviance.  Organized and calculated criminal sexual deviance.

We can’t say we read the Green Bay newspapers.  We aren’t one of the 10,000, so we didn’t know until the other day that this kid was a sex offender.  And don’t throw semantics at us.  That the judge for some reason didn’t make the kid register as a sex offender says more about the kid’s patrician status as the son of a Packer coach than it does about the truth.

Also, this wasn’t an isolated offense.  Two rapes, two sixteen year olds, two sentences.  This kid was a serial rapist.  As the families of the victims expressed, the class of the crime (misdemeanor) did not adequately portray the seriousness of the offenses.  Really, a little pedophilia is only tolerable in the fictional worlds spun by Tom Robbins, and otherwise, is no laughing matter.

When we heard that the Philbin kid was fished out of that lake cold, we assumed it was another dysfunctional football family, good from far, far from good, religious but not moral, and that an attention deprived kid took his life.

We could have a little bit of sympathy for that.  But not for a victim-ful crime family.  No understanding either.  Sex criminals and child abusers may get opportunities to rehabilitate themselves, but do they really, and really, who even cares anyway?  Would we have trusted our daughters around this kid because he had spent 4.5 months in jail?

Absolutely not.  And we can not trust his father either.  Again, we think only his patrician status stood between him and some sort of charge that he had endangered the welfare of a minor, what with the wild liquor and rape party going down in his home, the rapes between his sheets.

What of the tears shed by the Philbins at their son’s sentencing?  Tears of guilt?  Regret?  Contrition?  Responsibility?  Or of shame for their “good name”?  Or because their lad was off to the pen?

Spoke to Mr. White this morning.  He’s a Dolphin fan.  He said he was hoping Philbin became his next head coach.  Why not?  He’s obviously a very good football coach.  That really was never the problem.

Crack (https://crackbillionair.wordpress.com)

 
Support Maps
MAPS’ mission is to treat conditions for which conventional medicines provide limited relief, such as PTSD & anxiety associated with life-threatening illnesses, by developing psychedelics & marijuana into prescription medicines.
Federal Agencies Say Yes to Psychedelic Studies,
No to Medical Marijuana: MAPS E-Mail Newsletter
October 24, 2011

Dear [xxxx],
Welcome to the October 2011 edition of the MAPS E-mail Newsletter.I have a lot to share with you this month, from original studies and research results to upcoming events and some fascinating new documentaries about psychedelic science and medicine. Read on to learn what’s new in the MAPS Storeand discover how MAPS supporters are making the psychedelic renaissance possible.

Donate Make a Contribution

There’s good news and bad news, but even the bad news these days is opening up doors rather than closing them.

In August, the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration upheld the federal monopoly on marijuana for research by denying University of Massachusetts-Amherst professor Lyle Craker, Ph.D., a license to start his own medical marijuana facility.

On September 16, we saw why the federal monopoly needs to end when the Department of Health and Human Services rejected our planned, FDA-reviewed study of marijuana for 50 veterans with posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and refused to sell us the marijuana we require for the study.

In response, we’re taking the DEA to federal court and doing everything we can to remind the public what can happen when science is silenced by politics: studies don’t get started, medicines don’t get made, and patients don’t get treated.

Public support is building fast for psychedelic and medical marijuana research. The Washington Post, The Guardian, Salon, The Huffington Post, and other major media have reported on our international MDMA-assisted psychotherapy research program and the government’s medical marijuana research blockade.

In just six weeks, you’ll have a chance to join the leaders in psychedelic and medical marijuana research, therapy, and activism at Cartographie Psychedelica, our 25th anniversary conference and celebration in the San Francisco Bay Area. There has never before been a better chance to connect with the multidisciplinary psychedelic research community and to discover what’s in store for the next 25 years.

Opportunities are everywhere. Please join me in doing everything we can to make our shared dreams a reality: donate today.

 
In gratitude,

Brad Burge, M.A.
MAPS Director of Communications

MDMA Research News:

  1. US Veterans MDMA/PTSD Study Continues Treating Subjects
  2. New MDMA/PTSD Training Videos Under Development
  3. Mithoefers to Lead MDMA-Assisted Psychotherapy Workshop at 25th Anniversary Conference
  4. DEA Approves US MDMA/PTSD Relapse Study Protocol
  5. Israeli MDMA/PTSD Study Initiated
  6. Swiss MDMA/PTSD Study Final Report Submitted to SwissMedic
  7. Health Canada Schedules Follow-Up Pharmacy Inspection for MDMA/PTSD Study

More Research News:

  1. NIDA Rejects Marijuana Protocol, Blocking FDA-Approved Research for Vets with PTSD
  2. Last Two-Month Follow-Up Completed in Swiss Study of LSD-Assisted Psychotherapy for End-of-Life Anxiety
  3. Canadian Study Explores Ayahuasca-Assisted Therapy for Addiction and Dependence
  4. MAPS Hungary Publishes Report on European Ayahuasca Research Symposium
  5. Observational Study of Ibogaine Treatment for Addiction Enrolls Final Subject
  6. Clinical Team Prepares Protocol for New Study of Ibogaine Treatment for Addiction in New Zealand
  7. Autism Protocol Development: MAPS Releases Request for Proposals (RFP)

Events:

  1. Cartographie Psychedelica: December 8-12, Oakland, CA
  2. International Drug Policy Reform Conference: November 2-5, Los Angeles, CA
  3. Spirituality & Psychology Conference: February 17-19, 2012, Atherton, CA

Media:

  1. Washington Post Makes Federal Marijuana Research Blockade National News
  2. Public Support Builds for MAPS’ International Psychedelic Research
  3. Mind Body Health & Politics Radio Show Hosts Psychedelic Medicine Series
  4. DMT: The Spirit Molecule Now Available on Video
  5. Dirty Pictures Documentary Looks at the Genesis of MDMA
  6. Yarindin Documentary Explores Trauma, Combat, and Psychedelic Healing

Fundraising News:

  1. MAPS Celebrates Recent Fundraising Successes

New in the MAPS Store:

  1. The Psychedelic Journey of Marlene Dobkin de Rios: 45 Years with Shamans, Ayahuasqueros, and Ethnobotanists
  2. The Psilocybin Solution: The Role of Sacred Mushrooms in the Quest for Meaning

More News:

  1. Donate an Item to MAPS’ 25th Anniversary Adventure Auction
  2. International Ayahuasca Researchers to Meet at Cartographie Psychedelica
  3. A Deck of Medicine: Stormrider Calling Cards by Requa Greer Tolbert
  4. MAPS Welcomes New Staff to the Office

MDMA Research News1. US Veterans MDMA/PTSD Study Continues Treating SubjectsAs of October 21, 2011, our ongoing Phase 2 study of MDMA-assisted psychotherapy for U.S. veterans with chronic, treatment-resistant PTSD has enrolled five out of 16 subjects. Three subjects have started the long-term follow-up portion of the study, and two are still in treatment. Two additional veterans have passed in-person screening, involving thorough assessments of PTSD severity and medical eligibility, with their treatment sessions soon to be scheduled. One subject has chosen to discontinue treatment after just one experimental MDMA-assisted psychotherapy session, reporting being cured and needing no further sessions.

2. New MDMA/PTSD Training Videos Under Development

Two essential parts of conducting methodologically rigorous and state-of-the-art MDMA-assisted psychotherapy research are standardizing the method of MDMA-assisted psychotherapy itself and the method by which data is collected about subjects’ PTSD symptoms. We have standardized our treatment in our MDMA-assisted psychotherapy treatment manual and related adherence criteria. Having a consistent, reliable way to measure PTSD symptoms at baseline and over time during and after treatment is also essential.

MAPS has recently completed the development of a training manual for independent raters who conduct the Clinician-Administered PTSD Scale (CAPS) interviews in our international series of Phase 2 MDMA/PTSD pilot studies. The CAPS is the primary measure used by clinicians and therapists worldwide for evaluating the severity of PTSD symptoms, and is the principle measure we use to assess the effectiveness of our treatment method.

The CAPS training manual will be supplemented by video tutorials of CAPS interviews, drawn from actual recordings of interviews with subjects enrolled in our ongoing study of MDMA-assisted psychotherapy for PTSD in veterans of war. By building on the training materials provided by the U.S. Veterans Administration, creating Hebrew and Arabic versions of the CAPS through rigorous double back translation methods, and providing a uniform set of training tools for independent raters, we will be able to standardize how the CAPS is administered across study sites. This is a necessary step before moving on to the larger Phase 3 studies required for federal approval of MDMA-assisted psychotherapy as a legal treatment for PTSD.

3. Mithoefers to Lead MDMA-Assisted Psychotherapy Workshop at 25th Anniversary Conference

Lead study investigators and co-therapists Michael Mithoefer, M.D., and Annie Mithoefer, B.S.N., will conduct an all-day pre-conference workshop on Friday, December 9, as part of our 25th anniversary Cartographie Psychedelica conference and celebration. “The Principles of Psychedelic Therapy: Lessons from Clinical MDMA Research” will examine past and current research into psychedelic therapy, specifically focusing on recent findings from our ongoing MDMA-assisted psychotherapy research program.

4. DEA Approves US MDMA/PTSD Relapse Study Protocol

In early November, the official study initiation will take place for our new “relapse study” of MDMA-assisted psychotherapy for PTSD. Previously, on September 14, the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) notified MAPS that it had approved the Schedule 1 licenses required to transport, store, and administer the MDMA for the study. The FDA cleared the protocol on May 24 and an Institutional Review Board on June 9. With all necessary clearances, we will begin enrolling subjects in November.

This study, which will take place in Charleston, SC, is limited to up to three subjects whose PTSD symptoms returned years after participating in our flagship Phase 2 clinical trial of MDMA-assisted psychotherapy for PTSD. It will attempt to determine whether a single additional open-label MDMA-assisted psychotherapy session along with several non-drug psychotherapy sessions can be effective for once again enabling these subjects to be free of a diagnosis of PTSD.

5. Israeli MDMA/PTSD Study Initiated

On October 12, 2011, the new Independent Rater in MAPS’ Israeli study of MDMA-assisted psychotherapy for PTSD began working on the training videos that we have created to standardize how the Clinician-Administered PTSD Scale is administered across all of our treatment sites. This CAPS training is the last major element to complete before we can start enrolling and treating subjects. The official study initiation took place on July 24, when representatives from Antaea Medical Services, Ltd., the clinical research organization assisting MAPS with managing our Middle East studies, visited the site to finalize documents and provide training to the study staff. The study has all necessary clearances from Israeli regulatory bodies, including the Israeli Ministry of Health and an independent Ethics Committee. We have also submitted the protocol to the U.S. FDA, which is required because we are conducting the study under a U.S. Investigational New Drug application. The Israeli Defense Forces are already prepared to begin referring Israelis with chronic, treatment-resistant PTSD once we are ready to enroll subjects, probably before 2012.

6. Swiss MDMA/PTSD Study Final Report Submitted to SwissMedic

On October 14, 2011, MAPS’ clinical research team submitted the final clinical study report for our recently completed Phase 2 Swiss study of MDMA-assisted psychotherapy for people with chronic, treatment-resistant PTSD to SwissMedic, the Swiss equivalent of the U.S. FDA. SwissMedic confirmed that the report had been received on October 18. The report, authored by MAPS Lead Clinical Research Associate Berra Yazar-Klosinski, Ph.D., and MAPS Research and Information Specialist Ilsa Jerome, Ph.D., is required under International Council on Harmonization/Good Clinical Practice (ICH/GCP) and FDA regulations. The report contains information about the study protocol, information about the conduct of the study, and all study data in both raw and analyzed formats. The study team is now preparing the results for publication in a peer-reviewed academic journal.

A statistical analysis of the results reveals clinically significant decreases in scores on the Clinician-Administered PTSD Scale (CAPS), with an average reduction of 15.6 points. Due to the small number of subjects in this small pilot study, however, these decreases did not reach statistical significance. We did, however, observe trends toward statistical significance in both the CAPS and the Posttraumatic Diagnostic Scale (PDS), the two measures used to evaluate symptom severity in study subjects.

7. Health Canada Schedules Follow-Up Pharmacy Inspection for MDMA/PTSD Study

On October 18, 2011, Health Canada conducted a follow-up inspection of the pharmacy for our planned Phase 2 Canadian study of MDMA-assisted psychotherapy for PTSD. We expect that Health Canada will report on the results of this inspection within four to six weeks. Frustratingly, even though we followed Health Canada’s exact written requirements, the requirements have now changed and additional security measures may be needed. This will delay the start of the study for several additional months. The pharmacy inspection is required under Canadian regulations to ensure that the facility used to store and label the MDMA to be used in the study is adequately secure, and that the proper accountability procedures are in place. Once we obtain clearance from Health Canada we will be able to import the MDMA for the study into Canada from Switzerland.

The lead investigator for this study, Ingrid Pacey, M.D., will speak on the MDMA-Assisted Psychotherapy for PTSD Research Panel at our 25th anniversary conference this December.

More Research News

8. NIDA Rejects Marijuana Protocol, Blocking FDA-Approved Research for Vets with PTSD

On September 16, 2011, after a delay of four and a half months, the US Department of Health and Human Services informed MAPS that the five reviewers from the National Institute on Drug Abuse/Public Health Service had unanimously rejected our planned study of marijuana for veterans with PTSD as currently designed. According to MAPS Executive Director Rick Doblin, Ph.D., the reviewers offered contradictory critiques, misunderstood key protocol design elements, requested expensive and tangential additions to the protocol, and made unfounded assumptions about the study design, revealing their focus on basic science research and lack of familiarity with drug development research. The reviewers also treated the submission as if MAPS were requesting a government grant for the study rather than using private funds. Even if NIDA does eventually agree to sell MAPS the marijuana, getting to that point will take extensive, time-consuming, and costly negotiations—while veterans continue to suffer.

For a concise summary of the HHS review, see the September 16 HHS cover letter. For MAPS’ detailed, point-by-point response to the HHS review, see the annotated reviewer comments.

Download MAPS’ official press release announcing the HHS rejection.

9. Last Two-Month Follow-Up Completed in Swiss Study of LSD-Assisted Psychotherapy for End-of-Life Anxiety

By October 21, 2011, five out of 12 subjects have completed the long-term follow-up portion of our Swiss study of LSD-assisted psychotherapy for anxiety associated with advanced-stage illness. These long-term follow-ups take place at least 10 months following subjects’ final treatment sessions. The last two-month follow-up visit was completed on July 26, 2011. This concludes the data collection portion of the first clinical LSD study in over 35 years. The results from the treatment period of the study are now being prepared for publication in a peer-reviewed scientific journal. The clinical team is now collecting long-term follow-up data in the form of additional interviews and psychiatric measures from subjects who have completed treatment, 10 or more months after their final treatment session. Five out of 12 subjects have now completed the long-term follow-up portion of the study. Once this data has been collected, the clinical team will prepare the final report for submission to SwissMedic and the U.S. FDA, and will submit the results for publication in a peer-reviewed scientific journal.

Principal Investigator Peter Gasser, M.D., will be giving a lecture and answering questions about LSD-assisted psychotherapy for end-of-life anxiety at our 25th anniversary conference this December.

10. Canadian Study Explores Ayahuasca-Assisted Therapy for Addiction and Dependence

On September 23, 2011, the final treatment session (consisting of a five-day therapeutic retreat) took place in MAPS Canada’s observational study of ayahuasca-assisted therapy for individuals suffering from addiction and dependence. The research team has now recruited and is following up with 15 study subjects that have been treated. This study is taking place in British Columbia, and is overseen by MAPS Canada Board Member Philippe Lucas, M.A., with Principal Investigator Gerald Thomas, Ph.D., Rielle Capler, M.H.A., and Kenneth Tupper, Ph.D. Combining Western psychotherapeutic techniques with South American shamanic (Vegetalista) healing practices, this study is gathering preliminary evidence about the safety and effectiveness of ayahuasca-assisted therapy. Treatment consists of participation in a five-day retreat (facilitated by Gabor Maté, M.D.) including ayahuasca-assisted therapy, which may help reduce problematic substance use as well as addictions, compulsive behavior, and self-harming thought patterns. The study is being conducted in cooperation with a British Columbia First Nations band.

Philippe Lucas, M.A., will speak on ayahuasca research for addiction, and Lucas and Kenneth Tupper, Ph.D., will help lead the all-day “Ayahuasca Healing: Medical, Legal, and Cultural Considerations” workshop at our 25th anniversary conference this December.

11. MAPS Hungary Publishes Report on European Ayahuasca Research Symposium

On October 15, 2011, the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies, Hungary (MAPS Hungary) completed a report on the European Ayahuasca Research Symposium (EARS), a half-day seminar co-sponsored by Stichting OPEN and MAPS which took place in April 2011 at the University of Amsterdam. Over 300 people were in attendance. The Symposium brought together researchers from across Europe who over the last few years have been studying ayahuasca and DMT within the disciplines of anthropology, neuroscience, psychology, and religious studies. The next morning, other European ayahuasca scholars joined presenters from the seminar for a closed-door researcher workgroup intended to stimulate future ayahuasca research and possible collaborations in Europe. The workgroup succeeded in building a shared knowledge base of ongoing and planned ayahuasca research, in facilitating discussions on methodology and obtaining institutional approvals for research, and in developing personal and professional contacts among the few ayahuasca researchers currently based in Europe. The short report shares some of the highlights of the workgroup.

12. Observational Study of Ibogaine Treatment for Addiction Enrolls Final Subject

The 30th and final subject was enrolled in our ongoing observational study of ibogaine treatment for addiction on August 29, 2011. This final subject has completed treatment at an independent ibogaine clinic in Mexico and will be evaluated for addiction and quality of life for 12 months. As of October 20, 2011, 28 subjects have completed their three-month follow-up interviews, and 20 have completed the six-month follow-up interviews. Given the increasing numbers of people around the world seeking ibogaine treatment for drug addiction, this study aims to gather evidence about the safety and effectiveness of the treatment and to compare different approaches to that treatment.

Thomas Kingsley Brown, Ph.D., the lead investigator for the study, will be speaking about the goals and progress of MAPS’ ibogaine research program on Saturday, December 10 at Cartographie Psychedelica, our 25th anniversary conference in Oakland, CA.

13. Clinical Team Prepares Protocol for New Study of Ibogaine Treatment for Addiction in New Zealand

On October 17, 2011, the lead investigators for MAPS’ ibogaine research program held a conference call to discuss the next steps for our new observational study of ibogaine treatment for addiction in New Zealand. Thomas Kingsley Brown, Ph.D., who leads our U.S.-based study of independent ibogaine clinics in Mexico, and Geoff Noller, Ph.D., who will lead the new study, shared perspectives and lessons from ibogaine therapy research in order to guide the development of the new study protocol. The new study will take place at an independent ibogaine clinic in New Zealand, and will examine the safety and long-term effectiveness of ibogaine treatment for addiction severity and quality of life in 20 to 30 patients. The clinical team will submit the protocol and other documents to the Ethics Committee by the end of October.

Since this will be an observational study (as opposed to clinical) the protocol does not need to pass through an additional review process, meaning that we can begin enrolling subjects as soon as the study clears the Ethics Committee. Data from this study and our ongoing study of Mexican ibogaine treatment centers may be used to make a case for a possible future clinical study (see our original ibogaine Request for Proposals).

14. Autism Protocol Development: MAPS Releases Request for Proposals (RFP)

MAPS is offering a grant of $10,000 for protocol development expenses for a pilot study of MDMA for the treatment of high-functioning autism or Asperger’s syndrome. We have prepared a Request for Proposals (RFP) for U.S.-based researchers. One of the factors that we’ll look for in selecting a research team is whether they would also have a chance of obtaining funds for research from other grant agencies (autism research is currently a well-funded field). At present, we do not have the funds for the study itself but we do have funds for protocol development. Once we have a completed protocol, we can develop a budget and a fundraising plan. MAPS itself would be in a much better position to raise funds for a study with a completed protocol from a qualified research team.

To facilitate the protocol development process, MAPS has collected numerous anecdotal reports from individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorders who have used MDMA or Ecstasy. Many of these accounts are from people who considered MDMA to be helpful. If you or someone you know has heard of MDMA having either positive or negative effects on symptoms of Autism Spectrum Disorders or Asperger’s syndrome, please contact MAPS Lead Clinical Research Associate Berra Yazar-Klosinski, Ph.D., at berra@maps.org.

Events

15. Cartographie Psychedelica: December 8-12, Oakland, CA

16. International Drug Policy Reform Conference: November 2-5, Los Angeles, CA

17. Spirituality & Psychology Conference: February 17-19, 2012, Atherton, CA

Media

18. Washington Post Makes Federal Marijuana Research Blockade National News

On October 1, 2011, the Washington Post continued the trend of positive media coverage with an exposé about the federal government’s refusal to sell us marijuana for the planned study (“Marijuana study of traumatized vets stuck in regulatory limbo”, October 1, 2011). See MAPS’ official press release for more about the federal obstruction of medical marijuana research, and learn why MAPS is taking the DEA to federal court.

The exposé was followed two weeks later by a persuasive Washington Post op-ed condemning the federal government’s ongoing refusal to allow legitimate, necessary medical marijuana research from moving forward (“Marijuana may help PTSD. Why won’t the government find out for sure?” October 14, 2011).

Steve Fox of the Marijuana Policy Project writes: “It is time for government officials to take this nation’s veterans off the medical marijuana battlefield. NIDA should grant the researchers’ request to purchase marijuana and allow the FDA-approved study of veterans to move forward. These brave men and women don’t have decades to wait for relief.”

19. Public Support Builds for MAPS’ International Psychedelic Research

On September 30, 2011, The Guardian reported on a possible new MAPS-sponsored study of MDMA-assisted psychotherapy for PTSD to take place in the UK (“Ecstasy trial planned to test benefits for trauma victims”, September 30, 2011). MAPS, together with psychopharmacologist Dr. David Nutt and psychiatrist Dr. Ben Sessa, are considering submitting a grant proposal to a major UK foundation for the study. If it receives funding and regulatory approval, the study would be the first of its kind in the UK. The article concludes with Dr. Nutt’s observation that more cautious UK media such as The Daily Mail would not welcome the news, a recent positive article in that same publication clearly shows that times are changing. As The Guardian article points out, MAPS’ research on MDMA-assisted psychotherapy for PTSD “has caused some in the scientific community to think what was until recently unthinkable.”

Additional coverage of MAPS’ possible UK study of MDMA-assisted psychotherapy for PTSD also appeared in The Herald Sun, the Sydney Morning Herald, the Hindustan Times, and The Times of India.

A long and in-depth article on Salon.com also shed light on the wide-open field of medical psychedelic research, focusing primarily on recent and ongoing studies at NYU and Johns Hopkins. You may also remember that last year, the influential medical journal The Lancet Oncology noted that the growing support for psychedelic and (in public opinion if not government policy) medical cannabis research is part of a larger pattern involving “the increased willingness of researchers and regulatory bodies to look beyond stigma, and take a more rational approach to the controlled medical use of compounds that are more often linked with the war on drugs.”

For more snapshots of how MAPS is helping change how the world sees psychedelics and medical marijuana, visit MAPS in the Media.

20. Mind Body Health & Politics Radio Show Hosts Psychedelic Medicine Series

“Mind Body Health & Politics” with Dr. Richard Miller is hosting a series on Psychedelic Medicine, featuring personal interviews with scientists and thinkers in psychedelic and medical marijuana research. “Mind Body Health & Politics” airs the first and third Tuesday of the month at 9 AM on National Public Radio affiliate KZYX FM (Mendocino County Public Radio). You can also listen live online at mindbodyhealthpolitics.org.

Past Shows:

  • Psychedelic Medicine I: Ethnobotany with Dennis McKenna
    Dennis McKenna, Ph.D., has conducted research in ethnopharmacology for over 30 years. He currently teaches at the Center for Spirituality and Healing at the University of Minnesota. Listen to Dr. Miller and Dr. McKenna discuss enthnobotany and pharmacology of ayahuasca and oo-koo-he. Broadcasted September 20, 2011 (mp3).
  • Psychedelic Medicine II: The Historic MDMA study
    Dr. Miller and MAPS researchers Michael Mithoefer, M.D., and Ann Mithoefer, B.S.N., discuss their FDA-approved clinical trials of 3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine (MDMA) as a therapeutic tool to assist psychotherapy for the treatment of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Preliminary studies have shown that MDMA in conjunction with psychotherapy can help people overcome PTSD, and possibly other disorders as well. MDMA has “empathogenic” effects, meaning that it increases feelings of trust and compassion towards others. Broadcasted October 4, 2011 (mp3).
  • Psychedelic Medicine III: The Psychedelic Explorer’s Guide
    Jim Fadiman, Ph.D. discusses his new book The Psychedelic Explorer’s Guide: Safe, Therapeutic and Sacred Journeys (available in the MAPS Store). Dr. Fadiman is one of the foremost pioneers of scientific research of the potential of psychedelic substances for therapy, self-discovery, spiritual quests and creative problem solving, has written an invaluable guide for safe and productive sessions. Broadcasted October 18th, 2011 (mp3).

Upcoming Shows:

  • November 1: Mark Blumenthal , Ph.D., founder and executive director of the American Botanical Council.
  • November 15: Dave Nichols, Ph.D., pharmacologist, medicinal chemist, founding president of the Heffter Research Institute, and one of the world’s leading experts on psychedelics.
  • November 29: Charles Grob, M.D., psychiatrist, psilocybin researcher, and conductor of the first government-approved study of MDMA in humans.

The mission of “Mind Body Health and Politics” is to enhance health, provoke thought, expand consciousness, and encourage mental health.21. DMT: The Spirit Molecule Now Available on Video

The highly anticipated documentary DMT: The Spirit Molecule was released on October 1, 2011 through Warner Bros. and Gravitas Ventures. The film explores psychedelic ecology, the cultural history of psychedelics, shamanism and ayahuasca, psychedelic research, the effects of psychedelics, spirituality, consciousness, and much more. By remixing current research, thoughts, and theories about psychedelic tools the film helps create a new paradigm for consciousness.

To support the release, the filmmakers created the DMTrmx Project, which utilizes the entire media library (over 100 hours of interviews, 30 hours of footage from the Peruvian Amazon, one hour of VFX, original music, and sound files). Their goal is to enhance the cultural dialogue about psychedelic research by offering the content via a non-commercial Creative Commons license, and making it available for viewing and/or downloading from YouTube and a soon-to-be-launched standalone site (www.DMTrmx.com).

Check out this amazing film, and share it with friends, colleagues, and family members. Both the documentary and the DMTrmx Project aim to have a positive influence on the psychedelic narrative. The film can be seen on iTunes, and a variety of other platforms.

22. Dirty Pictures Documentary Looks at the Genesis of MDMA

A festival hit since its world premiere at the 2010 SXSW Film Festival, Dirty Pictures is a look inside the creation of psychedelics and the mind that made it all possible. Alexander “Sasha” Shulgin is the scientist behind more than 200 psychedelic compounds—including MDMA. Considered to be one of the greatest chemists of the 20th century, Dr. Shulgin’s vast array of discoveries have had a profound impact in the field of psychedelic research, making him a subject of fascination and controversy among fellow scientists and a folk hero to recreational users of psychedelics.

Dirty Pictures uncovers the lifework of Dr. Shulgin and takes viewers inside his Northern California home where he lives with his wife of 40 years and continues to carry out experiments in a makeshift laboratory. Director Étienne Sauret likewise delves into the broader world of psychedelic research—where the fields of chemistry, neuroscience and philosophy intersect—and investigates whether or not this particular field could aid in solving the deepest mysteries of the human mind. For more information on Dirty Pictures, including screeners, final DVDs or interviews with the director and cast, please contact Justin@bgpics.com. Use promotion code “dirty” for a special discount on the DVD.

23.Yarindin Documentary Explores Trauma, Combat, and Psychedelic Healing

Yarindin is a feature-length documentary of combat, love, and the healing journey. It will capture the drama of a band of brothers and sisters who fought together on the fields of battle and now fight to heal together in the fields of the soul, blessed by the beauty of nature and the healing magic of indigenous medicine. Yarindin is the story of a group of veterans ravaged by war who journey to South America for initiation into the indigenous plant medicine of the Amazon. To manifest his vision, ayahuasquero and sound healer Dr. Richard Grossman teamed up with award-winning filmmaker Mark Schwartz. They are currently raising funds for recruiting six to eight traumatized veterans, bringing them to the jungle of Peru for three weeks of ceremonies in late spring of 2012, and documenting the process before, during, and after their journey. The hope is to tell a story so compelling it will touch hearts and minds on a wide scale. Watch the video demo and discover more about this film.

Fundraising News

24. MAPS Celebrates Recent Fundraising Successes

The Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies would like to publicly thank all of those who continue to support us in our ongoing work. As psychedelic research expands and more opportunities emerge for medical marijuana, acquiring the financial resources to conduct our work becomes more important than ever. Whether you’ve purchased a book from the store, signed up for a monthly membership, attended a MAPS event, or made a one-time contribution, we—and the countless people who could benefit from these medicines—sincerely thank you.

We especially want to highlight the courage and commitment of the following individuals and foundations:

  • Joseph Kolb for personally contributing $1,000, of which $500 was matched by his employer Xinet for a combined total of $1500.
  • Gerald Gaines and the Compassion First Caregiver Circle of Phoenix, AZ, for a $10,000 grant for our continued work on the protocol review and approval process for our planned study of marijuana for 50 veterans with PTSD.
  • Matt and Kristi Bowden of Stargate International for a $25,000 donation for our upcoming “intern study” of MDMA-assisted psychotherapy for PTSD.
  • Riverstyx Foundation for $50,000 of unrestricted funds for MAPS’ research and educational projects.
  • The Mental Insight Foundation for $60,000 to be used for our ongoing study of MDMA-assisted psychotherapy for PTSD in U.S. veterans.
  • Adam Wiggins for $100,000 of unrestricted funds for MAPS’ research and educational projects.

If you would like to help MAPS develop safe and legal contexts for the therapeutic use of psychedelics and marijuana, please make a donation. Visit our Funding Prioritiespage to learn more about our specific projects and how your gift will be used.New in the MAPS Store

25. The Psychedelic Journey of Marlene Dobkin de Rios: 45 Years with Shamans, Ayahuasqueros, and Ethnobotanists

This book is a look inside almost half a century of pioneering research in the Amazon and Peru by a noted anthropologist of ayahuasca and other psychedelics. Marlene Dobkin de Rios reveals how ayahuasca can be used to successfully treat psychological and emotional disorders through a cross-cultural examination of adolescent drug use and a discussion of the harmful effects of drug tourism in the Amazon. Although late Harvard ethnobotanist Richard Evans Schultes was credited in the early 1950s as being the first to document the use of ayahuasca, other researchers, including Dobkin de Rios, were responsible for furthering his findings and uncovering the curative capabilities of this fascinating compound. The Psychedelic Journey of Marlene Dobkin de Rios presents the accumulated experience of the author’s 45 years of pioneering field studies in the area of psychedelics in Peru and the Amazon. All proceeds help fund MAPS’ psychedelic and medical marijuana research and education.

26. The Psilocybin Solution: The Role of Sacred Mushrooms in the Quest for Meaning

In The Psilocybin Solution, Simon G. Powell traces the history of the psilocybin mushroom and discusses the shamanic visionary effects it can induce. Detailing how psilocybin acts as a profound enhancer of consciousness and reviewing the research performed by MAPS, Johns Hopkins University, and the Heffter Research Institute on psilocybin’s beneficial effects on anxiety in the terminally ill and obsessive-compulsive disorder, Powell examines the neurochemistry, psychology, and spirituality underlying the psilocybin experience, revealing the interface where physical brain and conscious mind meet. All proceeds help fund MAPS’ psychedelic and medical marijuana research and education.

More News

27. Donate an Item to MAPS’ 25th Anniversary Adventure Auction

The Kaleidoscope Vault will take place on December 9 as part of Cartographie Psychedelica [[LINK http://www.maps.org/conferences/25/%5D%5D, our 25th anniversary benefit conference and celebration in the San Francisco Bay Area. We are making an official call for in-kind donations of vacation and timeshare rentals, rare psychedelic memorabilia and collector’s items, gift certificates for local services, and anything else our networks can offer in support. We’re especially seeking experiences, such as travel and adventure activities, that can be auctioned off—especially those related to MAPS’ mission and vision (legal, of course). If you have something that you’d like to offer MAPS to auction off to our supporters, please fill out the auction item donation form. If you have questions, please contact MAPS Store Manager Brian Brown at brown@maps.org.

28. International Ayahuasca Researchers to Meet at Cartographie Psychedelica

Philippe Lucas, M.A., Research Affiliate at the Center for Addictions Research of British Colombia and member of the MAPS Canada board of directors; Brian Anderson, M.D. Candidate at the Stanford University School of Medicine; and Bia Labate, Ph.D., Research Associate at the Institute of Medical Psychology, Heidelberg University, are privileged to organize a meeting and dialogue of international ayahuasca researchers as a adjunct to the upcoming MAPS conference in Oakland. The meeting will take place at the conference site (Oakland Marriott City Center) on Sunday, December 11, from 2:30 – 4:30 PM, and is free but will be exclusive to ayahuasca academics. Participants will be invited to share current projects, successes, and challenges, and to discuss the present and the future of the international ayahuasca research. To sign up for the Ayahuasca Researcher Dialogue, please e-mail Philippe Lucas at philippe.lucas1969@gmail.com to express your interest. Learn more about the full-day ayahuasca research workshop (“Ayahuasca Healing: Medical, Legal, and Cultural Considerations”) taking place on December 12 as part of Cartographie Psychedelica.

29. A Deck of Medicine: Stormrider Calling Cards by Requa Greer Tolbert

Medicine artist Requa Greer Tolbert, with the support of the Women’s Visionary Council, has had her deck of medicine cards reproduced and made available for purchase. The deck was first assembled in 1995 for a Day of the Dead shrine, after years of pioneering research with husband George Greer, M.D., on the therapeutic and spiritual uses of MDMA and ketamine. Having suffered from poor health for a year, the production of the cards have had a profound influence on Mrs. Tolbert’s healing process, as she used the images and poetry they contain to come to a deeper understanding the healing power of these ancient substances, used for millennia in shamanic contexts. Each set of cards includes a book of essays that further address the lore, natural history, and imagery of each card is also available online.

30. MAPS Welcomes New Staff to the Office

We are proud to have Virginia Wright join MAPS as our new Director of Marketing & Development. We also welcome Tess Goodwin as our new Membership & Sales Assistant, as well as our new Receptionist Shannon Clare. Shannon values curiosity, communication, and creating community. After majoring in Cultural Anthropology at the University of California, Santa Cruz, this life-long student is now training in Integral Counseling Psychology at the California Institute for Integral Studies (CIIS). Her favorite activities include backpacking, tango, re-evaluation counseling, and gardening. In addition to her role as Receptionist, Shannon assists the Deputy Director and helps manage the office environment.

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