On Tuesday, April 19, a small group of Brooklynites supporting the Brooklyn Psychedelic Society’s psilocybin cycled through Prospect Park to support the decriminalization in New York of the “magic mushrooms” or psilocybin mushrooms.
This event also celebrated “Bicycle Day,” the famous anniversary of the first time LSD inventor Albert Hoffman intentionally ingested the hallucinogenic drug.
After the trip, the group broadcast live a virtual panel hosted by the Sanctuary for Independent Media, which talked about the healing potential and decriminalization of psilocybin. The Brooklyn Psychedelic Society organized the event with the support of other local psychedelic societies.
According to Colin Pugh, executive director of BPS, the Brooklyn Psychedelic Society’s mission is to “make psychedelic healing a public good by creating a national network of psychedelic cooperatives.”
“I think there’s a real opportunity here to build a new kind of mental health care system that is owned and managed by people,” Pugh said.
Through its efforts, BPS is working to create a different modality of psychedelic healing. Using psilocybin and other psychedelics as medicine, the organization promotes community-based healing. This method contrasts sharply with the current mental health system in the United States, which is based on clinical methods.
“Community is the core of what we’re doing,” Pugh said. Local events such as the April 19 bike ride play an important role in the “authentic social component” that embraces the Brooklyn Psychedelic Society.
“It was a very fun and joyful celebration,” one attendee said. “I wanted to learn more about the BPS … I wanted to get to know the community and meet nice people, and I got it.”
While New York is still a long way from fully legalizing psilocybin mushrooms, BPS members hold out hope. “I feel very optimistic about the panel and all the effort, energy and time that has been put into it,” said Isabella Rischall, the organization’s head of operations.
On December 13, 2022, New York MP Pat Burke introduced Bill A8569, a bill that will establish “psilocybin service centers” to treat mental health conditions such as addiction, depression, anxiety disorders, end-of-life psychological distress and more.
However, Pugh sees the cooperative model as the most efficient way to sell mushrooms, one he says is “very appropriate for the psychedelic ethos,” because they are community-governed, democratically owned, and prioritize l access and healing. instead of treating only the symptoms.
“We hope community-based healing can become a ubiquitous model in the next 5-10 years,” Pugh said. “I think we are up to the task as a society. I think it’s time. “