Avery Stempel (Collar City Mushrooms) Talks About The Benefits of Psilocybin -Interview By: Rob Smittix  

Written by on August 1, 2022

RRX: I am here at Collar City Mushrooms, never been here before. Avery has shown me around a little bit. I got to see some mushrooms in development, this is a pretty cool place. So, in your words, what’s going on here tonight. 

AS: Tonight, we are hosting the third meeting of the New York Psilocybin Action Committee. We are a group of people interested in changing the legal climate around psilocybin. We want to create an accessible system for people in the future that can utilize psilocybin as a medicine for their well-being and also incorporating recreation as a means towards wellness. Because you know…you do have to dance around a fire and hang out with your friends and laugh a little to feel good. 

RRX: Absolutely, I was going to ask if you were interested in seeing both medicinal and recreational psilocybin becoming legal. 

AS: I want to see people able to access the medicine. The way our system is structured and the fear culture that has been created does not really allow a direct unleashing of all the hounds at once. Similar to how cannabis was passed, I do believe we have to take steps in order to get to that…you know? Hanging out in a field with our friends, having a good time, enjoying ourselves in the sunshine. So, we’re gathering people to create an advisory committee right now and one of the people that we met with helped pass the legislation in Oregon. He now works for TheraPsil in Canada, and they are unveiling a medicinal model for people in Canada to have access. It is legal in Canada for medicinal use. 

RRX: Canada and Oregon for that matter always seem to be ahead of the curve on these sorts of things. It took a very long time to get where we are now with marijuana, I imagine for psilocybin it will be a long process. 

AS: I’m sure New York is very rigorous in how they roll out legislation. There is a lot of movement and interest in allowing access because people recognize that the drug war has done nothing but harm people. To transition out of that fear-based culture into one where the stigma has been removed and people are free to enjoy different substances either with the help of a clinician, in the company of their friends or alone is going to take time. We have been meeting with politicians in setting up the system that we’re creating right now. We have Pat Burke who submitted a bill last year, Linda Rosenthal who has submitted bills multiple years and John McDonald who is our local assembly member are all coming in upcoming weeks to directly discuss what we can do to help them move these legislations forward. 

RRX: It’s got to start somewhere.

AS: Right. So, a place like Oregon and Colorado can get ballots put on their voting register and allow the people to just enact things. We don’t do that here in New York, where everything has to be a bill that is passed through committee, evaluated and voted on by the assembly, passed by the senate and then ratified by the governor. So, the legal system is a little different here and we have to work with the system that we have. 

RRX: That’s what we’ve got! I’ve got to grab my drink here real quick. I’m drinking oyster mushroom, turkey tail, reishi, lion’s mane with herbal peach iced tea. It’s damn good!

AS: And I have lion’s mane, reishi, shiitake, maple syrup, lime and water, so it’s a limeade drink. 

RRX: I’m going to have to try that one as well. I am someone that has actually recreationally used mushrooms in the past. Back when I was much younger to me it was the funnest thing ever. You sit around with your friends and we all realize how beautiful the room is, which we never noticed before. We had some laughs and no harm done. You’ve got to be responsible obviously and stay where you are. More recently when I tried it, I feel like I took too much and it was intense. I saw these tubes in my living room that contained hundreds of ancient symbols flowing through them, which were cool visuals but the intensity was a bit too much to handle.

AS: Dosage and understanding the right amount is something that is difficult to determine right now because it’s so underground. There hasn’t been appropriate scrutiny on informing people how to safely consume. 

RRX: I knew it was too much after it was too late. I snuggled with my cat for a while to have a companion to help me get through it. After some time elapsed the feeling was where it was supposed to be. I didn’t take it for medicinal purposes, but I did find something within myself that I needed to work on. A voice inside that scolded me for everything I’ve ever done wrong in my life. It put me on a path to be a better person, so I think that was recreational but with a splash of medicinal help as well. As far as medicinal uses, what can psilocybin help with?

AS: Wow, so really the applications of psilocybin right now for medicinal purposes are still being studied. Stress, depression, PTSD, inflammation and people have even recovered from irritable bowel syndrome. One of our members actually healed from a spinal injury with psilocybin and physical therapy and got movement back in her foot. Before that she was in a wheelchair and on the cusp of having her leg amputated from the knee down. She was depressed and suffering, took a larger dose of psilocybin and basically had not only a mental reset but a physical reset as well. It has some neuro regenerative properties in it. It can kind of move and reconnect pathways. The real major movement right now is palliative care, end of life stress and existential dread. People who have been diagnosed with terminal cancers or some other thing that they are passing from are staring at that approaching light with horror. Psilocybin can often help people come to terms with that transition.

RRX: Anything else you’d like to share? 

AS: Inform yourselves, so many people have bought into the culture of fear and misinformation that’s been propagated by the people in power. There are more and more studies coming out discussing the positive effects, so before you judge, understand what the possibilities are. On our Instagram I’ve been posting articles as they come out that are really talking about how we can come together in order to influence people that can make those changes. 

RRX: Of course, there is the stigma but look at prescription medications, what it does and how so many of them destroy lives and families with the addiction that comes with it. As far as I know I don’t really think that mushrooms are addictive. 

AS: They’re actually anti-addictive, that’s another thing I should have mentioned as a medicinal benefit. 

Instagram: @NYpsilocybinaction committee

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