Psychedelic Prohibition and Movie Screening

APS invited supporters to the State Library of Victoria for a special screening of A New Understanding: The Science of Psilocybin and special panel discussion.
The short documentary film produced by Robert J Barnhart has been screening this year at locations around the world, including CoSM. It attempts to investigate the efficacy of psilocybin assisted psychotherapy in both terminally ill and healthy individuals, and follows a small group of Americans along their journey pre and post therapy. It’s a truly inspiring film, and is available to watch on Vimeo, for those of you who couldn’t make it.
The film screening was followed by a panel discussion led by (APS co-founder) Nick Wallis. Local drug law reform campaigner Daniel Witham spoke about his harrowing encounter with NSW police, and subsequent incarceration over possession of Psilocybe subaeruginosa, and we also heard from Murray, Daniel’s father. Murray, a 69 year old author, recently had his first psychedelic experience, and gave a touching and candid testimony of the spiritual significance of his mushroom journey.
Dr Monica Barratt of the National Drug and Alcohol Research Centre offered her perspective on the progress of drug reform both domestically, and around the world. Monica is also the Director of Research at Bluelight and is actively involved in orchestrating the Global Drug Survey.
To round things off, we had Steph Tzanetis offering some valuable insights. Steph always has her finger on the pulse, and is the coordinator of DanceWize, a harm reduction group operating at festivals and events around Australia. Both Steph and Monica have recently visited Lisbon in Portugal to better understand how the Portuguese are leading the way in harm reduction, and how Australia could follow.
A heartfelt thanks to all that came along and made the night such a success. With the smell of spring in the air, and the festival season about to kick off, let’s stay safe, and continue to educate one another.

SSDP Australia Inaugural Conference Launch Party

By Chris McAtomney
As the stigma surrounding drug use in Australia slowly dissipates, and policymakers are forced acknowledge the harm that system of criminalisation causes, it seems change is in the wind, and whilst the battle is far from over, a sensible approach to drug policy feels more tangible than ever.
This calls for celebration! And so on Friday night, Melbourne City Bowls Club played host to The Beginning of the End of the War on Drugs Party, presented by APS in conjunction with SSDP.
 
We had Emily Roseman and DJ Vixen laying down some fresh beats, providing the catalyst for some suitably psychedelic dance moves from some of the attendees. We imagine it was probably the first throbbing drum and bass set the Flagstaff bowls club had heard in a while!
These events are a great opportunity for networking, and we loved seeing like minded individuals connecting and sharing ideas over their beverage of choice. What a way to kick off a big weekend for drug reform in Melbourne. It’s only with your support that we can continue to push this. Big thanks to SSDP and Melbourne City Bowls club. See you at the next shindig!

Melbourne Watches Notes on Rave in Dublin & Discuss Local Issues

By Chris McAtomney
Photos by Ash Blackwell

On Sunday evening, supporters and fans of APS came together for a screening of the documentary film Notes From Rave in Dublin. We’re grateful to the friendly Hope Street warehouse crew for hosting the event and it was great to see attendees getting acquainted and comfy early on among the plethora of couches, beanbags and blankets.

Prior to the screening, we heard from High Alert campaign manager Nevena Spirovska, bringing us up to speed with the success of the campaign and her plans to up the ante even further in response to the outrageous new stop and search powers that police minister Lisa Neville reportedly plans to grant police. Nev is fast becoming one of the loudest voices in our community and one that I hope we hear a lot more of.

Mel from Rainbow Serpent Festival’s The Nest explained the ethos behind the initiative, and shared some insights as to how social cohesion looks in a designated safe space like this, and her future vision for The Nest. Kate and Emily from The Cool Room gave an informative talk on inclusion and diversity at Cool Room, and in the club scene as a whole.

The film took us into the backstreets of early 90’s Dublin and did a great job of capturing something of the essence of the dance movement in its infancy. It illustrated how integral a sense of community is in underground dance culture, and also how greed, fear and capitalism can poison the scene if they’re allowed to. A comprehensive linear narrative of the rise fall and rise of rave culture in Ireland and, as expected, there were some great accents to boot.

Those who were lucky enough to be raving in the 90’s might have felt some nostalgia, and others, myself included, probably a hint of envy.

Big thanks to the APS team and affiliates for putting on such a fun night, and providing enough popcorn to kill a small horse.