#89 Lawyered up

No, I’m not in trouble.

Nor do I really consider myself an advocate of psychedelics; however, I do speak about them a lot on this Stream of Consciousness blog, my Iboganautics podcast, master’s thesis, and soon-to-be-published research articles and books. As increasing numbers of people consume my content, I felt it necessary to give myself and my projects some basic legal protection. I’d rather pay up front to protect myself, thinking proactively about my content and message than needing to react to some potential misuse of my content resulting in me defending myself in court and lots of lawyers’ fees. I needn’t say more, you get the point: I’m talking about illegal drugs, even though psychedelics are pretty much non-addictive, and further, we’re ascending a new psychedelic/pharmacological paradigm within medicine and other academic fields.

Like I said, I don’t advocate psychedelics since they’re not for everyone; rather, I’m a self-experimenting researcher applying phenomenology in an attempt to discover the structures of psychedelic consciousness, namely, pertaining iboga. My angle is philosophical and I’m simply sharing my abstract musings and findings about these experiences.

I would like to know though how many bloggers and podcasters of psychedelic content protect themselves with disclaimers. For me, this just seemed obvious to do, leaving no question how my content is intended to be used and construed. I wonder further how many people hire a law firm to craft tailor-made disclaimers and look over documents to ensure the content creator doesn’t get into trouble. I don’t want to say something normative or that could be misunderstood. For example, in addition to the disclaimers for my website and podcast, I also asked these lawyers to proofread a document I call the Iboga Information Document for First Responders. This document is a “cheat sheet” of sorts, stating information about iboga and the experiencer-now-patient that can be handed over to first responders in case of an emergency. The lawyers also wrote my website Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. Note: they didn’t curate every bit of content I have produced or will produce; they revised or drafted documents pertaining to legal or potentially legal matters.

All in all, I could have written these documents myself, and I did write my own disclaimers for some of my content mediums. I could have Googled how to write this or that, but considering the potentially serious nature of psychedelics, particularly iboga which can be extremely cardiotoxic and potentially lethal for some individuals, I thought it best to hire not only lawyers to draft these legal documents for me, but lawyers that specialize in psychedelics.

Enter: Plant Medicine Law Group. The three partners are Ms. Serena Wu, Ms. Hadas Alterman, and Ms. Adriana Kertzer. I haven’t met Adriana yet, but I worked with Hadas and Serena. I was going to go with another (non-psychedelic oriented) firm until a post appeared on my LinkedIn newsfeed. I contacted Hadas since her name was mentioned in the post and we began working on my legal needs right away.

I’m very pleased with their work and I highly recommend Plant Medicine Law Group to people working with psychedelics in whatever capacity. Even if you just have a blog or podcast, I think covering your bases is important. More important in my opinion is the absence of stress you’ll feel about having documents written or proofread by legal professionals compared to constantly second-guessing your own “winging it” versions. Yes, I’ll pay any day for peace of mind. I look forward to working with these ladies in the future. Thanks again.

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