Statement Regarding the Ethnobotanical Stewardship Council (ESC)

The Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS) agreed to serve as non-profit fiscal sponsor for the Ethnobotanical Stewardship Council (ESC) because we recognize the need for a community-oriented approach to encouraging the safe and sustainable uses of ayahuasca. MAPS recognizes that members of the global ayahuasca community have released a statement critiquing ESC’s methods and aims, and that ESC has issued a public response.

MAPS provides fiscal sponsorships to organizations whose work supports our mission to allow gifts to those organizations to be tax-deductible for U.S. citizens. As ESC’s non-profit fiscal sponsor, MAPS passes any funds donated to MAPS along to ESC minus a 5% administrative processing fee (2.5% for donations above $10,000). To date, MAPS has passed on $37,951 in donations to ESC.

As ESC’s fiscal sponsor, MAPS is committed to ensuring that the financial contributions we process on behalf of ESC are used solely for ESC’s stated projects, and has the right to revoke any funding processed by MAPS that is not used for those purposes. Other organizations for which we presently serve as non-profit fiscal sponsor include the Ayahuasca Foundation; Bluelight; the Global Ibogaine Therapist Alliance (GITA); and the International Center for Ethnobotanical Education, Research, and Service (ICEERS).

MAPS plans to continue our fiscal sponsorship of ESC, as we believe that ESC still has the potential to facilitate dialogues leading to the safer and more sustainable uses of ayahuasca. This will require more proactive engagement on the part of ESC with the community’s concerns as well as concrete changes to its approach.

We have encouraged ESC to:

  • Respond to and make substantive changes based on the community’s critiques, and to publicly address each critique
  • Improve their financial reporting and transparency
  • Reorient their approach away from community development or revitalization projects with indigenous or other Amazonian groups
  • Refocus their projects on becoming a resource for North American and European travelers seeking to use ayahuasca in countries where it is legal

We will continue working closely with the global ayahuasca community to facilitate dialogue and help ESC develop projects that are acceptable and beneficial to the broader community. It is only by working with allies and being genuinely responsive to critique that organizations grow and thrive.

We encourage all potential funders of ESC, MAPS, or any other organization to carefully evaluate the mission, vision, values, and reputation of those organizations before choosing to support them.

MAPS is a 501(c)(3) non-profit research and educational organization that develops medical, legal, and cultural contexts for people to benefit from the careful uses of psychedelics and marijuana. Since our founding in 1986, MAPS has disbursed over $20 million for psychedelic therapy and medical marijuana research and education, all donated by individuals and family foundations.