Symposium in Aspen a day-long dive into healing with psychedelics

Staff report
Hallucinogenic mushrooms, or psilocybin, are being tested as treatment for a number of mental conditions.

On Friday, June 2, Aspen Public RadioHealing Advocacy Fund, and the Aspen Psychedelic Resource Center will hold the inaugural Aspen Psychedelic Symposium from noon to 7 pm. at the Wheeler Opera House.

The recent successful state passage of the Natural Medicine Health Act (Proposition 122) is seen as a shift in public perception regarding psychedelics. Colorado’s ballot initiative was the first to decriminalize the possession and use of psychedelic mushrooms and certain plant-based psychedelic substances in Colorado law for individuals aged 21 and over and requires the state to establish a regulated system for accessing psychedelic mushrooms and additional plant-based psychedelic substances.

This day-long event is a deep dive into the tradition, science, and advocacy behind integrating medicinal use of psychedelics into modern culture. Panels throughout the day will include experts from Colorado and across the country.

Between each panel discussion, participants will be invited to explore a resource fair providing information to those excited about the promise of plant medicine, those concerned about possible misuse, those who are well-acquainted in the field and to those who are learning the basics, while networking with others interested in better understanding the implications of our society’s increasing acceptance and legalization of plant-based psychedelic medicines.

Symposium tickets are available at for $28 (All handling fees included) per person for the full day.

Pre-symposium event

On Thursday, June 1, symposium participants are invited to the Aspen Film Isis Theatre for a complimentary screening of “Psychedelia: The History and Science of Mystical Experience,” in partnership with Aspen Film (Limited seating available). This hour-long documentary film about psychedelic drugs and their ability to induce mystical or religious experiences is directed by Pat Murphy and explores this relationship by chronicling their use in controlled-research studies prior to the cultural upheaval of the 1960s, at a time when LSD was regarded as one of the most promising discoveries in the field of psychiatry.


Brandon Burns (moderator): CEO/owner of Peaks Recovery Centers, a comprehensive dual diagnosis drug and alcohol addiction treatment center, who sees the behavioral health-care industry as fraught with fragmentation and challenges industrywide narratives in support of patient care and outcomes, including his focus and support for the Natural Medicine Health Act and the potential for plant based medicines within behavioral health-care settings.

Jaz Cadoch (moderator): Cultural and medical anthropologist who has been studying the psychedelic movement since 2016; director of the Global Psychedelic Society, a collection of leaders of psychedelic societies around the world and co-founder of ALKEMI Consulting & Development.

William Wildcat Coakí: Executive director of Mother Tree Food & Forest; ethnobotanist; agroecology and ecorestoration researcher, practitioner, and educator; indigenous ecologist and psychonaut philosopher with a focus on using psychedelics, nonviolent communication, Western and traditional ecological knowledge, and modern understanding of anthropogenic landscapes to heal intergenerational trauma.

Nicole Foerster (moderator): Co-proponent of Initiative 61 and founder of Decriminalize Nature Boulder County; advocate for psilocybin mushrooms as a treatment for cluster headaches; a mental-health professional, and a proponent for the full decriminalization of entheogenic plants and fungi.

Kevin Franciotti: A Colorado-based writer, therapist and adviser in the fields of psychology, psychedelics and substance-abuse counseling. He is a licensed addiction counselor and the founder of Psychedelics in Recovery, a 12-step based program for individuals using plant medicines in their recovery.

Zach Leary (moderator): Host of the MAPS and “It’s All Happening” podcasts; writer, futurist, spiritualist, wellness facilitator, integration coach, and socio-cultural theorist; son of psychologist author and champion of psychedelic counterculture Tim Leary. Zach Leary studied under Ram Dass, giving him a front-row seat to cultural movements of the late 20th century.

Matthew X. Lowe: Director of research for Realm of Caring, a non-profit cannabis research organization; executive director and chief scientific officer for Unlimited Sciences, a psychedelics research non-profit.

Scarlet Masius: Head of community at Tactogen; formerly ran a creative consultancy called Liminalia; working with MAPS, Esalen, Omidyar Network, and other organizations to build creative and participatory communities; former executive director of the Safety Net Fund, which financially supported 1,200 artists impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic; and trained psychedelic peer support facilitator.

Kevin Matthews: A leading advocate for access to psychedelic plant and fungi medicine nationwide; co-designated representative of the Natural Medicine Health Act of 2022; coalition director for Natural Medicine Colorado; and president of the Denver Psilocybin Mushroom Policy Review Panel.

Remi Olajoyegbe: Coach to C-suite leaders, social entrepreneur, named one of the Top 100 Women in European Finance; selected in 2014 to be part of BBC’s BAME (Black & Asian Minority Ethnic) Expert Voices; co-founder of Medicine Festival, launched in 2020; a trustee of BOA Foundation; and advisory board member of Woven Science.

Veronica Lightning Horse Perez: Trainer of NLP, TLT, hypnosis and life coaches, psychedelic practitioner, and integration specialist; founder of Lightning Horse Healing Grounds; and co-chief proponent for the Natural Medicine Health Act of 2022 in Colorado.

Natasia Poinsatte: Director of Healing Advocacy Fund in Colorado, a non-profit working to support safe, equitable access to psychedelic therapies, and research director at RBI Strategies and Research.

Dr. Dave Rabin: A board-certified psychiatrist, neuroscientist, entrepreneur and inventor; co-founder and chief innovation officer at Apollo Neuroscience, focusing on plant and natural medicines and medicine-assisted psychotherapy, specializing in treatment-resistant mental illnesses including depression, anxiety, and post-traumatic stress disorder.

Meg Richmond: A Celtic medicine woman, Ayahuasca church founder, and policy reform advocate; co-founder of The HeartQuarters organization in Denver, pioneering a hybrid profit/non-profit model for community centers which facilitate the use of entheogens under the constitutionally protected liberties of the Religious Freedoms and Restorations Act.

Scott Thompson: Professor and director of the Center for Novel Therapeutics at the University of Colorado School of Medicine’s Department of Psychiatry. His research is focused on understanding brain plasticity and how psychedelic compounds engage these processes to exert their antidepressant actions.

Court Wing: Founder and CEO of REMAP Therapeutics, exploring, and developing the intersection between psychedelics and chronic pain; study participant in NYU’s clinical trial of “Psilocybin for Major Depressive Disorder” (March 2020).


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