Reform Conference 2015

Written by on September 24, 2015

Hi there!

Ok, this one is a little personal. So let me introduce myself properly.


My name is Nick Wallis and I produce Enpsychedelia. I used to work in commercial radio and volunteered in community radio long ago. Back in 2012, while studying a Bachelor of Politics, Philosophy and Economics and having not been behind a microphone for a while, I decided to start a podcast covering drug issues.
Through that podcast I started to chat with more people and gained a better understanding of the complex issues surrounding drugs.

Before that, I had been involved with the fledgling Australian Sex Party, a political party focusing on civil liberties. I was (and still am) quite fond of Victoria’s “Bush Doof” parties and the sub-culture that breathes life into these psychedelic events. Through that culture, I became involved with DanceWize, an organisation that promotes harm reduction to party-goers.

The Enpsychedelia podcast in 2012 brought me in contact with Fiona Patten, leader of the Australian Sex Party. At the time, she was also the President of the Eros Association and was looking for someone to do research, and other membership-based activities for businesses retailing in Social Tonics some of which contained various NPS (Novel Psychoactive Substances). This is a particularly unique area that I won’t discuss much here (too much to discuss!) but would love to chat about with anyone who’s interested.

Through this work I have been brought up close and personal to the War on Drugs and its front line.

Since 2012 I have run as a candidate in both a State (Victoria) and Federal election for the Australian Sex Party.
I helped draft the party’s drug policy and am planning to work further on it for the 2016 Federal election in Australia.

I’ve been to New Zealand to visit the Pathway to Reform conference and watched as NZ passed their Psychoactive Substances Act and then castrated it due mostly to the politics of the situation.
I have been elected as a board member to Harm Reduction Victoria, the parent organisation of DanceWize and I have become an integral member to the DanceWize team.
As part of my work with EGA (Entheogenesis Australis) I helped to organise the premiere of Neurons to Nirvana in Melbourne and hosted a panel on the future of drug policy at their 10 year conference at RMIT.
I have helped to organise two years of Support Don’t Punish events in Melbourne, helped promote Melbourne’s 420 Picnics, managed to catalyse the publication of an article on Bicycle Day in one of Melbourne’s leading newspapers (The Age) and recently held an event for the 920 Coalition for magic mushrooms.
And over the past couple of months, I have been producing a weekly radio show on Melbourne’s activist community radio station, 3CR.

I’m trying to summarise a variety of things I’ve been part of, but it’s sometimes hard to remember them all!

I am passionate about changing the way our society relates to drugs. I’m a bit geeky… so my passions lie in things like philosophy, science and science-fiction (GOOD sci-fi). The word ‘drugs’ to me feels like an inadequate and loaded term which is often misused in order to pursue certain heavily biased agendas (DRUG FREE WORLD, WE CAN DO IT!).
I see drugs as tools that humans can learn to use and integrate to make their lives better, heal the sick and explore the nature of consciousness with. However, I understand that the balance in this is almost like a holy grail that human societies have battled with for millenia – Some reverently embracing certain substances while casting others aside, while others seek prohibition of anything that is difficult to explain or deviant from a ‘norm’.

We are in the midst of global prohibition, an agenda largely spread through bigoted beginnings, misinformation, fear and control. Problems with drugs will exist regardless of whether or not prohibition exists. Prohibition doesn’t stop people from using drugs but it does make every aspect of that use more dangerous. And what’s more, it does this in a homogenous manner across a HUGE variety of vastly different substances. It treats cannabis, heroin, magic mushrooms and ayahuasca as all the same (Drugs of Abuse), despite their huge differences. The system is unworkable because it is broad, ill-defined, unscientific, bigoted and ethically corrupt.

I know that the pathways to reform are long and windy and require a lot of discussions. And I know that many people have good intentions, no matter their position toward drugs. I know that drug abuse does harm more than the individual… but I also believe that good drug use provides benefits far beyond the individual too… the word ‘drug’ in this is the variable and the way that it is used provides the context.

In November 2015, I will be travelling to New York and Washington with my partner Kula and 5 month old daughter, Acacia. I will be attending the Drug Policy Alliance Reform Conference.

While I’m over there, I plan to meet as many people as possible, especially those who I have corresponded with over email. I’m hoping to see some of the harm reduction efforts in Washington and New York, like Drug Policy Alliance and DanceSafe and hoping to visit some of the psychedelic organisations/institutions, like Alex Grey’s Chapel of Sacred Mirrors.

I will be producing a podcast / blog while over there whenever I can and will record interviews for the Enpsychedelia radio show for when I get back.

We have a limited budget and have taken out a loan to cover most of the costs, which have been exacerbated by Australia’s crappy exchange rate to the USD at the moment.

This is where you come in. I would like to cover at least some of the costs associated with the trip through sponsorship. Much of what I do is voluntary and I do it out of passion, but that still leaves the costs there. I am hoping that you might be able to help support me and my family get to the US, meet the people we want to meet and attend the places we want to attend.

We have our plane and conference tickets, which have cost nearly $4000 AUD so far.

Any amount of financial support will help us with the costs of the trip.
Please send me an email if you can assist, or call me on my mobile number. If you don’t have it, send me an email with your contact details and I’ll get in contact with you.

I hope that through meeting people in the US and attending this conference, I will get a better grasp of how the cannabis law reform movement has worked there, how the psychedelic science and medicine movement is going and what harm reduction initiatives are happening over there. I hope to be able to bring that knowledge back to Australia and work toward reforming Victoria and Australia’s drug laws and conversations around drugs.

Thank you for taking the time to read this and please get in contact with me if you would like to financially support my trip.

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