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July 12, 2019 - Guest: Jerry B. Brown, Ph.D.

Topics: Psychedelics, Marijuana, Mushrooms & More

Show Details

On this episode of Solutions News, we explore marijuana, mushrooms and other entheogens.  Our guest is Dr. Jerry B. Brown, co-author of The Psychedelic Gospels, and a sought after scholar on the subject of psychedelics.  Topics that we cover today include a brief overview and update on legal cannabis in America, the movement to decriminalize psilocybin based on beneficial therapeutic uses in various states and cities around the US, and a case study on Portugal - the first modern country to decriminalize drugs. We also share some wonderful “didyaknows”. 


Story #1, Alcohol Prohibition Didn’t Work Either

American society learned a tragic lesson between 1920 and 1933 when it made alcohol illegal.  It was a tragic mistake that lead to the formation of vicious gangsters, a period of incredible corruption, and created an entire illegal industry that terrorized the public even while drying up (you should pardon the expression) the tax revenues that legal drinking provides. When Prohibition finally ended, the gang violence is spawned did as well. And, since then, governmental agencies have collected massive amounts of tax on the consumption of alcohol as well as the on the income of those making, distributing and selling alcohol. Well, that’s also been true with the marijuana, with the added challenge that drug laws in general, and marijuana laws specifically, have been disproportionally been enforced against minorities and people of color. Viewed this way, marijuana being illegal is not only economically unwise it is a social justice issue.  


So, what’s the solution? Legalization, plain and simple.

How do we define success from marijuana legalization? Well, for every dollar spent on recreational or medicinal marijuana that’s one dollar less that will go into the pockets of the underground illegal drug economy.  The Drug Cartels never paid any tax, so that is really icing on the cake. AND, by not prosecuting tens of thousands of people for victimless drug crimes we are saving massive amounts of money in dramatically reduced police, court and prison costs! Now that’s a solution! 


Story #2: Psychedelics, a “telescope” for the mind

Our second story today zooms into another area of controversy surrounding several plants and chemical substances that have been demonized in our culture for the last few decades, but which are now back in vogue - largely due to their significant promise in healing and personal growth.  

So what do magic mushrooms, ecstasy, and LSD all have in common?

They are all street drugs being studied and used for legitimate medical purposes.  In the past two months, both Denver, Colorado and Oakland, California have legalized psilocybin (also known as magic mushrooms) because of studies proving that it can help with anxiety and depression. 


Story #3: SUNNY, HEALTHY, CATHOLIC AND SAFE: That’s Portugal!

Our last story this week explores a case study on a revolutionary approach taken about 20 years ago by one country to address its Drug Problem.  Portugal, which many see as a very catholic, conservative and religious country, was actually the first country in the world to decriminalize ALL drugs.  

Activists hope to make Denver the first U.S. city to decriminalize psychedelic mushrooms
Activists hope to make Denver the first U.S. city to decriminalize psychedelic mushrooms

Jerry B. Brown, Ph.D.

Jerry B. Brown, Ph.D., is an author, anthropologist and activist. From 1972 to 2014 he served as founding professor of anthropology at Florida International University in Miami, where he taught a course on “Psychedelics and Culture.” Dr. Brown is coauthor with Julie M. Brown of The Psychedelic Gospels: The Secret History of Hallucinogens in Christianity (Inner Traditions, 2016). He is also coauthor of “Sacred Plans and the Gnostic Church,” Journal of Ancient History (2014) and of the forthcoming “Entheogens in Christian Art,” Journal of Psychedelic Studies (2019). Brown received his B.A. in Philosophy and Religion from Antioch College and his Ph.D. in Anthropology from Cornell University.

Over the past decades, Dr. Brown has worked to create positive social and environmental change through public policy organizations. In the 1960s, Dr. Brown coordinated Cesar Chavez’s Grape Boycott on behalf of California farm workers. In the 1980s, he worked with Business Executives for National Security, an organization of Fortune 1000 executives that lobbied to prevent nuclear war and end the Cold War. From 2013-2018, he coordinated the World Business Academy’s Safe Energy Project to close the San Onofre and Diablo Canyon nuclear power plants in California. He serves as an Academy Fellow and Director.

Dr. Brown is co-author of Profiles in Power: The Antinuclear Movement and the Dawn of the Solar Age (Simon & Schuster, 1997), and of numerous articles on energy policy and social change. He is co-author with Rinaldo S. Brutoco and James A. Cusumano of Freedom from Mid-East Oil(2007), which describes how America can significantly decrease dependence on foreign oil in ten years. 

For background information see:

Jerry Brown, Our Guest on July 12, 2019
Jerry Brown, Our Guest on July 12, 2019