Announcing MAPS’ Values and Principles

MAPS Bulletin 2021: Vol. 31, No. 2

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MAPS’ Values were first introduced over a decade ago. The existential inquiry posed to healthcare organizations during the COVID-19 pandemic, and the stark reminder of vast racial inequity in healthcare, gave MAPS a meaningful opportunity to clarify and refine our own commitments to ourselves and to our community. We set out to update and expand our Values, and for the first time, we articulated MAPS’ core principles. 

We sought to memorialize the values and principles that have guided and grounded MAPS for the past thirty- five years, and simultaneously encourage our collective growth by committing to long-held aspirations. We hope our community will join us in our work to center these principles and values in all that we do. 

MAPS’ four core values: 

I. Integrity

Information is shared transparently. Communications are respectful, honest, and forthright, and our decisions are informed by compassion and research.

II. Perseverance

We mindfully persist in the face of challenges, and we build with a balanced, long term vision.

III. Curiosity

We are always open to new possibilities: we try new things, take risks, and learn from our mistakes.

IV. Equity

We work for ethical and equitable access for all.

These values ground and inform MAPS’ 7 Principles, integrating our values into our daily work. To develop these principles, we sought input from MAPS and MAPS PBC staff and board members, and reflected on our own understanding of fundamental psychedelic values.

We also drew inspiration from a number of sources. The 10 Principles of Burning Man have inspired many of MAPS staff, board and community to build a loving and sustainable community, and we similarly hope MAPS’ 7 Principles can support our broader community in its multitudes of creation, inspiration, and healing. We were deeply influenced by Adrienne Maree Brown’s principles of Emergent Strategy and Dr. Bronner’s 6 Cosmic Principles. MAPS Founder Rick Doblin has also long drawn on Saul Alinsky’s “Rules for Radicals,” and many in the MAPS community are guided by the late John Perry Barlow’s “Principles of Adult Behavior.” We also applaud the North Star pledge, a strong starting point for conscious psychedelic businesses. 

Without further ado, MAPS’ 7 Principles:

  1. Healing for All

We proactively and creatively work to overcome cultural, legal, and economic barriers to equitable psychedelic access. We work to catalyze mass mental health and spirituality with the belief that saving one life saves a whole world.

  1. Prioritize Public Benefit

We prioritize the good of our collective humanity and planet over organizational or individual gain. We strive to honor the communities, ancestral and modern traditions, and struggles we have learned from by practicing reciprocity and working for the good of future generations.

  1. Open Science, Open Books

We commit to sharing what we learn and create, including our findings, protocols, and finances.

Transparency creates a culture of accountability and contributes to the public domain, facilitating ethical collaboration toward a greater shared purpose.

  1. Set the Setting

We approach everything we do like a journey: with clear intention, a resolve to face our shadow, and a commitment to ongoing integration. Guided by history and inspired by visionary possibilities, we aim to build foundations and tools for symbiotic and inclusive ecosystems.

  1. Consciousness Without Criminalization

We advocate for the dignity and rights of all people who use drugs, free from fear and stigma. We firmly reject criminalization of people for growing, making, distributing, or using drugs.

  1. Be the Bridge

We build common ground between the medical, the mystical, the marginalized, and the mainstream. Uniting divergent communities and traversing new territory demands spiritual audacity.

  1. See Past the Paradox 

We take an incremental approach to radical change. We employ a diversity of tactics, perspectives, and strategies because we recognize the wisdom that unites seemingly paradoxical approaches. Everyone carries a piece of the puzzle.

MAPS is committed to working towards upholding and embodying these principles and values in our daily work, and we are grateful for our community and supporters who constantly teach and remind us how to do so with integrity. We look forward to the ways these principles can help us collectively manifest the future we all know is possible. 


Ismail Lourido Ali, J.D., As MAPS’ Acting Director of Policy and Advocacy, Ismail advocates to eliminate barriers to psychedelic therapy and research, develops and implements legal and policy strategy, and supports MAPS’ governance, non-profit, and ethics work. Ismail earned his J.D. at the University of California, Berkeley School of Law in 2016, after receiving his bachelor’s in philosophy from California State University, Fresno. Ismail has previously worked for the ACLU of Northern California’s Criminal Justice & Drug Policy Project, and Berkeley Law’s International Human Rights Law Clinic. Ismail is licensed to practice law in the state of California, and is a founding board member of the Psychedelic Bar Association. He also currently serves on the board of the Sage Institute, contributes to Chacruna Institute’s Council for the Protection of Sacred Plants, and participates on the advisory council for the Ayahuasca Defense Fund. He has also previously served as Chair of the Students for Sensible Drug Policy Board of Directors. Ismail is passionate about setting sustainable groundwork for a just, equitable, and generative post-prohibition world.


Natalie Lyla Ginsberg, M.S.W., is the Director of Policy & Advocacy at the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS), where she works to disentangle science from political partisanship, and to create safe, equitable and regulated access to psychedelics, and all criminalized substances. She is also partnering with Israeli and Palestinian colleagues to develop a psychedelic peace-building study. Natalie is particularly inspired by psychedelics’ potential to assist in healing intergenerational trauma, for building empathy and community, and for inspiring creative and innovative solutions. Before joining MAPS in 2014, Natalie worked as a Policy Fellow at the Drug Policy Alliance, where she helped legalize medical cannabis in her home state of New York, and worked to end New York’s race-based marijuana arrests. Natalie received her B.A. in history from Yale, and her master’s of social work (M.S.W.) from Columbia.