Rethinking Drug Policy: Social Justice in the Psychedelic Renaissance (San Diego, California)


August 15, 2018

From the event website and Facebook page:


The Aware Project hosts a series of monthly Psychedelic Awareness Salon events in Los Angeles and San Diego. We are creating a connected and educated community that feels passionately about balancing the conversation about psychedelics.

What is our role as individuals in the psychedelic renaissance? How do we make an impact the right way? As psychedelic medicines seem poised to be accepted by the FDA, the broader medical community, and, increasingly, in society’s mainstream, the right questions must be asked to ensure human rights-based and justice-informed policy reform. Questions surrounding equity, access, and community have long been overlooked. Issues surrounding marginalized and oppressed communities must be elevated to public conversation in order to make sure reform is for all, not just the few and privileged.

We’re excited to feature a special discussion with two individuals from MAPS, one of the most preeminent organizations in psychedelic science and advocacy. Please join us for an illuminating conversation about how we as individuals can further drug policy reform and why we need to look at the psychedelic renaissance through the lens of social justice.

Our panelists:

Ismail Lourido Ali currently works as Policy & Advocacy Counsel for the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS), where he provides professional support for a variety of legal, educational, and community-building projects. He earned his J.D. at the UC Berkeley School of Law in 2016, and has previously worked for the ACLU of Northern California’s Criminal Justice and Drug Policy Project, and for the International Human Rights Law Clinic at Berkeley Law.

Ismail also presently serves as Chair of the Students for Sensible Drug Policy (SSDP) Board of Directors, and participates on the Steering Committee of the Ayahuasca Defense Fund, all while producing an in-progress documentary about trauma, healing, celebration, and psychedelic medicine, called Cura. Ismail believes that psychedelic consciousness is a crucial piece of challenging oppression in all of its forms.

Natalie Ginsberg earned her Master’s in Social Work from Columbia University in 2014, and her Bachelor’s in History from Yale University in 2011. At Columbia, Natalie served as a Policy Fellow at the Drug Policy Alliance, where she helped legalize medical marijuana in her home state of New York, and worked to end New York’s racist marijuana arrests. Natalie has also worked as a court-mandated therapist for individuals arrested for prostitution and drug-related offenses, as well as a middle school guidance counselor at a NYC public school. Natalie’s clinical work with trauma survivors spurred her interest in psychedelic-assisted therapy, which she believes can ease a wide variety of both mental and physical ailments by addressing the root cause of individuals’ difficulties, rather than their symptoms. Through her work at MAPS, Natalie advocates for research to provide evidence-based alternatives to both the war on drugs and the current mental health paradigm.

For more information, visit the event website.