Voices of Change: Exploring Psychedelic Not-for-Profits

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Voices of Change: Exploring Psychedelic Not-for-Profits in Drug Law Reform, Education, and Advocacy

About: Drug law reform, advocacy, and harm reduction manifest through diverse avenues, yet share a common thread: community engagement. In recent decades, grassroots movements have evolved into not-for-profit organisations and charities dedicated to challenging the status quo of drug policies and fostering safer, informed communities. These entities strive to dismantle the stigma surrounding drug use, creating spaces where individuals can openly discuss altered states and associated behaviours. From the depths of underground networks emerged resilient peer-to-peer organizations that now provide essential support and education for drug users and psychonaughts. Simultaneously, we witness a transformative era where psychedelic and plant medicines gain recognition within medical spheres. With these substances receiving validation from the medical establishment, it’s crucial to amplify the voices of those with lived experiences and insights from the underground and on the edges of the establishment.

Join us to delve into the impactful work of Australia’s most compelling not-for-profit organizations, both above and below ground, as they navigate the complexities of drug reform, education, and advocacy. Our esteemed panel guests bring a wealth of knowledge and experience to shed light on the vital contributions of their respective organizations in shaping progressive drug policies and fostering safer, more informed communities.

Facilitator: Jonathan Carmichael (Entheogenesis Australis)


Jonathan Carmichael (Ronny) is an ethnobotanical activist who is interested in social justice and the environment. He is a co-founder, conference director and President of the charity Entheogenesis Australis (EGA), which is devoted to critical thinking and knowledge sharing around ethnobotanical plants, fungi, nature, and sustainability. Jonathan has been working as its primary driver in a volunteer capacity for almost two decades. He is also a founding member of the charity Psychedelic Research in Science & Medicine (PRISM) and is active on their committee. He is also an artistic and freelance photographer, and his photographic works have been published and shown in a number of galleries.

Michael Balderstone is the President of Nimbin HEMP Embassy, Legalise Cannabis Australia (Formerly Australian HEMP Party) & Nimbin MardiGrass and has been campaigning for the legalisation of the plant for over 30 years. The Legalise Cannabis party now boasts five elected members of State governments in Western Australia, Victoria and NSW. The party’s aim is to “re-legalise and regulate personal, medical and industrial use” of Cannabis.

Caine Barlow is a Fungi Educator and Mycologist based in Melbourne, Australia. He has a Bachelor of Science from the University of Tasmania, and a Master of Science from the University of Melbourne. Caine also has qualifications in horticulture and permaculture. He works closely with the Australian organisation Entheogenesis Australis, and is a co-founder of US-based organisation The Entheome Foundation.

Symon Beck is a mushroom enthusiast with over ten years of experience foraging and eating many different species of fungi on Australia’s East Coast. He has a particular interest in Psilocybe and other psychoactive species, and helps run the PMANZ group on Facebook. He is the secretary of the Australian Psychedelic Society. He is interested in the potential benefits of psychedelics and has a passion for harm reduction and advocacy. Symon’s academic background is in medicine and psychiatry.

Sianna-Rose (Pixie) is the founder of the Psychedelically Aware harm minimisation network and The PATCH – The Psychedelically Aware Talking Circle Hub. Having studied psychology and health science, while pursuing postgraduate neuroscience, she has a broad understanding of how entheogens affect both the body and mind. Sianna-Rose is passionate about research and how entheogens could be used in therapeutic models. Sianna-Rose is also a volunteer and supporter of Entheogenesis Australis.

Dr Martin Williams is a Senior Research Fellow at the Centre for Mental Health, Swinburne University. His research background is in Medicinal Chemistry and Pharmacology. Martin is a co-investigator on a number of Australian clinical trials of psychedelic-assisted psychotherapy, including the St Vincent’s Hospital Melbourne study of psilocybin-assisted psychotherapy in palliative care; the Monash PsiConnect neuroimaging study of psilocybin with mindfulness meditation; the Swinburne pilot study and 3PAP RCT of 2- vs 3-dose psilocybin-assisted therapy for depression; and several other studies of psilocybin, MDMA and other psychedelics for the treatment of a range of mental health conditions. Martin is also a founding member and volunteer supporting Entheogenesis Australis & PRISM.

MardiGrass is also all about sensible law reform for ALL drugs, so this year we will partner with Entheogenesis Australis [EGA] to present a program dedicated to other medicinal plants. Don’t miss it! 10am – 10pm Saturday 4 May in the Town Hall Garden.

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