Psychedelic Monopoly: Patenting & Ownership in the Psychedelic Space with David Bronner, Graham Pechenik, Shayla Love, Alexander Beiner & Dr Bia Labate

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Psychedelic investment has been likened to a "gold-mine", and for-profit companies looking for domination in the field continue to emerge. Big investment names are joining the market and applying for legal ownership over various aspects of psychedelics. Recent controversies over patent applications for “holding hands” and “soft furniture” relating to psilocybin therapy has sparked concern in the psychedelic movement. To what extent will corporations dominate the psychedelic renaissance?

Psychedelics now appear in patent applications for Philip Morris e-cigarettes, periodontal disease, hair loss, weight loss, and food allergies. With increasing investment, is the corporate domination of the industry a significant threat? 

Join us as we investigate the psychedelic monopoly, exploring the opportunities and obstacles we face as psychedelics emerge in the capitalist model. Psychedelic capitalism may be a method to decrease the stigma and take these drugs into mainstream healthcare. But is it worth speeding up the process of psychedelic healthcare for the drugs to be largely unavailable to those who can't afford it? Or to have harm-reduction ignored in the face of trying to sell products?

Looking to the corporatisation of the cannabis market as an example and investigating strategies to maintain public health over financial interest, join our panel to discuss the rise of psychedelic capitalism this May. 


David Bronner

David Bronner is the top executive of Dr Bronner’s Magic Soaps, well-known for their ethical business model. Bronner is well known for his activist work in a variety of areas, including drug-policy reform, animal rights, sustainable agriculture, and fair trade. His recent campaign work has been in protecting the psychedelic space from monopolization and ownership, and recently published allegations against Compass pathways in response to their patent claims over psilocybin therapy.

Bronner is the founder of the sustainable model cannabis manufacturer Brother Davids. He also serves on the board of directors for the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS) and has a leadership role in the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society - a non-profit, marine conservation organization. 

Graham Pechenik

Graham Pechenik is a registered patent attorney, and the founder of Calyx Law. He recently brought to light some of the controversies in psychedelic patenting by exposing pending patent claims over psilocybin therapy by Compass Pathways over Twitter.

Graham has a BS from UC San Diego, where he chose his Cognitive Neuroscience and Biochemistry majors after his first psychedelic experiences inspired deep curiosity about the bases for changes in consciousness, and a JD from NYU, where he initially pursued interests in bioethics and cognitive liberty. After a decade at large law firms representing companies in the agricultural, chemical, pharmaceutical, biotech, and technology industries , Graham started Calyx Law to work with cannabis and psychedelics ventures. Graham is also editor-at-large of Psilocybin Alpha, where he provides data for patent trackers and writes about IP in the psychedelics space. He was raised in Oakland, CA, and currently lives in San Francisco.

Shayla Love 

Shayla Love is a science journalist based in Brooklyn and a senior staff writer at VICE News on the features desk. She has written extensively about psychedelic research and culture, with a recent focus on psychedelic patents, intellectual property, and ethics, and wrote articles following the recent controversies with Compass pathways.

She has a master’s degree from Columbia University in science, environment, and medical journalism. Her work has won the Best Feature award from the Asian American Journalists Association, the Next Generation of Science Journalists Award from the World Health Summit, and has been shortlisted for Best Feature in the 2018 Association of British Science Writers Awards.

Alexander Beiner 

Alexander Beiner is co-founder of Rebel Wisdom and one of the directors of Breaking Convention. He has been involved in psychedelic activism for the last 15 years and is particularly interested in bringing a critical lens to the way psychedelics are entering mainstream culture and medicine. He has recently produced a film on Rebel Wisdom exploring these topics through interviews with leaders in the field. 

Moderator: Dr Beatriz Caiuby Labate (Bia Labate) 

Dr Beatriz Caiuby Labate (Bia Labate) is a queer Brazilian anthropologist based in San Francisco. She has a PhD in social anthropology from the State University of Campinas (UNICAMP), Brazil. Her main areas of interest are the study of plant medicines, drug policy, shamanism, ritual, religion and social justice. She is Executive Director of the Chacruna Institute for Psychedelic Plant Medicines (http://chacruna.net She is Public Education and Culture Specialist at the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS), and Adjunct Faculty at the East-West Psychology Program at the California Institute of Integral Studies (CIIS). She is also co-founder of the Interdisciplinary Group for Psychoactive Studies (NEIP) in Brazil. She is author, co-author, and co-editor of twenty-two books, two special-edition journals, and several peer-reviewed articles.



Sounding the Alarm on Compass’s Interference with Oregon’s Psilocybin Therapy Program

The Race to Patent Psychedelics Is Just Getting Started from VICE

Can a Company Patent the Basic Components of Psychedelic Therapy? from VICE

Is it Possible to Create an Ethical Psychedelics Company? from VICE

Where profit-motives and psychedelics meet from THE PSYCHEDELIC RENAISSANCE

Oregon’s and Compass’s Opposite Approaches to Psilocybin Therapy Should Coexist, Says Initiator of Measure 109" from CHACRUNA

Capitalism Goes Rogue with Patent Claims on Psychedelics” from CHACRUNA

Researchers Demand Reparations to Mazatecs for Mushroom “Spirit” from CHACRUNA

Who’s in Charge of Psilocybin? from CHACRUNA


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