This article sets forth the long-term strategy of MAPS, which was developed by the MAPS Strategy Department in collaboration with the MAPS Board of Directors, staff, and numerous allies. This strategy articulates a long-term, achievable, and aspirational goal and highlights the areas of focus that require a significant investment of time and resources to achieve that goal.
MAPS and its subsidiary MAPS Public Benefit Corporation (MAPS PBC) have complementary missions and strategies. While this article focuses on the broader strategy of MAPS, it is essential to note the current priorities of MAPS PBC as they reflect a major focus of MAPS’ strategy:
Within a year, MAPS PBC aims to submit to the FDA a New Drug Application for MDMA-assisted therapy as a treatment for PTSD, which has been the primary focus of the company for the past eight years. As MAPS PBC approaches this monumental milestone, the team is focused on completing the critical work required to make this submission successful and establishing the commercial functions necessary to support MDMA-assisted therapy as an approved treatment for PTSD. Some specific areas of focus include: completing Phase 3 clinical trials, working with regulatory agencies to establish minimum safety standards, and increasing awareness among healthcare providers and payers (insurance companies) about research into MDMA-assisted therapy for PTSD. Concurrently, MAPS PBC is developing a research pipeline in other mental health conditions and compounds.
Big Hairy Audacious Goal (BHAG)
Our BHAG is a vision statement that orients the MAPS strategy around a simple and specific objective:
Legal and equitable access to psychedelics for healing and personal growth for a billion people by 2035 in a post-prohibition context
Here is an overview of our vision:
- Legal and Equitable Access: We advocate for legal access to psychedelics through multiple channels, including working toward FDA approval; state and federal decriminalization; and legalization for social, spiritual, or sacramental use. MAPS seeks to develop socially and economically suitable solutions to help ensure safe, responsible accessibility.
- Healing: A primary focus of our work is enabling the healing use of psychedelics in medical contexts (e.g., sponsoring research that promotes healing regardless of financial potential).
- Personal Growth: MAPS also believes that the careful use of psychedelics can be beneficial in non-medical contexts. These compounds have a variety of uses that allow for the flourishing of healthy individuals, groups, and communities.
- A Billion People: Our aim is an audacious expansion of access into geographies around the world for anyone who may benefit from the careful uses of psychedelics.
- Post-Prohibition Context: Although our work focuses on psychedelics, we stand firm on our commitment to reform broader drug policy, to end the War on Drugs, and to set the groundwork for a post-prohibition reality. We work for a world where no one is incarcerated for drugs — and drugs are legal and regulated according to their potential benefits and risks.
2026 Strategic Priorities
To move toward our BHAG, MAPS sets forth the strategic priorities below to realize by the end of 2026. These priorities will be the focus of new resources as we build up our staff and capabilities over the coming years. These Strategic Priorities will be pursued in alignment with the MAPS Values and Principles1, which are core to our mission.
- Be financially self-sustaining
MAPS seeks to create financially self-sustaining models both for itself as a non-profit entity and for its public benefit subsidiary MAPS PBC. This requires securing financing for MAPS PBC to attain commercial viability as a psychedelic drug development company. It will also require MAPS itself to raise sufficient philanthropic funds to enable success for its other strategic priorities.
Example Initiative: In December 2021 MAPS and Vine Ventures announced a novel financing model called the Regenerative Financing Vine (RFV)2, which aims to infuse $70 million into patient access infrastructure and research for MDMA-assisted therapy for PTSD. This model fully maintains both MAPS’ non-profit mission and governance as well as MAPS PBC’s public benefit drug development and patient access activities.
- Become a leading activist think tank for psychedelic policy and major funder for drug policy reform
MAPS seeks to significantly influence drug policy reform (not just psychedelic drug policy reform) as an activist think tank in the near term and as a granting organization in the long term. As an activist think tank, MAPS’ Policy and Advocacy Department will continue to employ legislative, judicial, and direct action pathways to achieve landmark reforms in decriminalization, regulated adult use, and in the criminal justice system. Once MAPS PBC generates sufficient revenue to send a portion to MAPS, we will provide grants to other drug policy organizations to further our vision of a post-prohibition world.
Example Initiative: MAPS provides expert advice, training, and resources to advocates, legislators, and regulatory and advisory bodies involved in passing and implementing psychedelic policy reform. In these contexts, we advocate for a broadly accessible network of harmonized, complementary systems of access to psychedelics as well as for broader drug policy reform. Highlights include providing key input on California Senate Bill 5193 (slated for reintroduction in 2023); the Natural Medicine Healing Act (NMHA)4 in Colorado (on the ballot in November 2022); and Connecticut House Bill 53965 (passed in 2022); and related bills in Florida, Hawaii, New York, and Washington.
- Catalyze research for the humanitarian use of psychedelics
MAPS seeks to ensure culturally-informed MDMA therapy is available to those who most need it. We are committed to developing multidisciplinary research and access projects for people in global conflict zones and communities experiencing social and political marginalization. We seek to partner with researchers and research institutions around the world to explore psychedelic therapy’s potential role in addressing a broad range of issues, from climate change to political conflict.
Example Initiative: MAPS worked with researchers at Imperial College London and Holy Land Trust Institute to develop and conduct an observational study interviewing Palestinians and Jewish Israelis who participated in ayahuasca ceremonies together. The purpose of the study was to explore the potential impact of psychedelic experiences on conflict transformation and healing intergenerational trauma. The results of the study were published in the 2021 Frontiers in Pharmacology papers: “Relational Processes in Ayahuasca Groups of Palestinians and Israelis”6 and “On Revelations and Revolutions: Drinking Ayahuasca Among Palestinians under Israeli Occupation.”7
- Mainstream psychedelic & harm reduction education
MAPS seeks to strengthen and amplify its role as the “go to” source for mainstream audiences to learn about psychedelics and harm reduction. We will invest in our reach to become a top hit for common search engine queries related to psychedelic education and harm reduction, ensuring that the public has access to valid, useful information. We intend to educate 700,000 people through our conferences and courses between 2022 and 2026.
Example Initiative: In July 2022, MAPS launched Psychedelic Fundamentals8, an online psychedelic education program which provides people with accurate, evidence-based information about psychedelics. The educational curriculum, developed in collaboration with Interwoven and delivered over five modules, covers a range of topics including psychedelic history, science, clinical research, therapeutic uses, and harm reduction.
How You Can Help
MAPS has been and continues to be successful due to the support of thousands of individuals like you. If you believe in our mission and its potential, please consider donating or volunteering your time.
1 Ginsberg, N. L., & Ali, I. L. (2021, November 12). Announcing MAPS’ Values and Principles – Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies. MAPS. Retrieved August 25, 2022, from https://maps.org/news/bulletin/announcing-maps-values-and-principles-bulletin-2021/
2Aldworth, B. (2022, February 2). MAPS and Vine Ventures Pioneer Novel Regenerative Funding Structure to Infuse Psychedelic-Assisted Therapy Research and Access with Timely $70 million – Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies. MAPS. Retrieved August 25, 2022, from https://maps.org/2021/12/02/maps-and-vine-ventures-pioneer-novel-regenerative-financing/
3 Bill text. Bill Text – SB-519 Controlled substances: study of decriminalization of certain hallucinogenic substances. (2021). Retrieved August 25, 2022, from https://leginfo.legislature.ca.gov/faces/billTextClient.xhtml?bill_id=202120220SB519
4Colorado Secretary of State. Natural Medicine Health Act of 2022 . (n.d.). Retrieved August 25, 2022, from https://www.sos.state.co.us/pubs/elections/Initiatives/titleBoard/filings/2021-2022/58Final.pdf
5Raised bill no. 5396 – cga.ct.gov. An Increasing Access to Mental Health Medication . (n.d.). Retrieved August 25, 2022, from https://www.cga.ct.gov/2022/TOB/H/PDF/2022HB-05396-R00-HB.PDF
6Roseman, L., Ron, Y., Saca, A., Ginsberg, N., Luan, L., Karkabi, N., Doblin, R., & Carhart-Harris, R. (2021, January 1). Relational processes in ayahuasca groups of Palestinians and Israelis. Frontiers. Retrieved August 25, 2022, from https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fphar.2021.607529/full
7 Roseman, L., & Karkabi, N. (1AD, January 1). On Revelations and Revolutions: Drinking Ayahuasca Among Palestinians Under Israeli Occupation. Frontiers. Retrieved August 25, 2022, from https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fpsyg.2021.718934/full
8Psychedelic Fundamentals – Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies. MAPS. (2022, July 22). Retrieved August 25, 2022, from https://maps.org/psychedelic-fundamentals/?pk_campaign=2022-07-Psychedelic-Fundmentals-Full-List&pk_kwd=text-psychedelic-fundamentals&mc_cid=7cfee5ec74&mc_eid=UNIQID
Fede Menapace, M.B.A., M.S., serves as the Chief Strategy Officer for MAPS. Born and raised in the Trentino region in northern Italy, he began his career as a civil engineer, working on road and railway bridge construction projects in the Italian Alps. He then joined McKinsey & Co. in Milan, Italy, where he worked as a management consultant advising multinational financial institutions. He later moved to the internet technology sector, most recently at Segment in San Francisco, where he built and led the Business Operations and Business Development teams. In his role at MAPS, Fede aims to continue building bridges – this time among people and organizations in the psychedelic medicine field – to further MAPS’ mission to provide broad and safe access to mental health treatments for those who are most in need. Fede also works on internal strategy projects to identify and execute growth opportunities for MAPS and its subsidiaries. Fede received his M.B.A. from the Stanford Graduate School of Business and his M.S. in structural engineering from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor.
Kan Yan, J.D., M.A.L.D., served as Strategy and Partnerships Officer at MAPS. Kan has worked as an international humanitarian for the United Nations, a lawyer for the US Federal Courts, and a management consultant for McKinsey & Company where he consulted Fortune 500 clients across numerous industries with a focus on organizational health and leadership development. He has a law degree from Harvard Law School and a masters in law and diplomacy from the Tufts Fletcher School. He currently works as an executive coach and consultant to psychedelic organizations.