It only took one grassroots group of volunteers to kick off the second psychedelic revolution by winning a paper-thin 50.5% victory on Initiative 301, decriminalizing “magic mushrooms” in Denver. Now nearly 100 cities are considering similar proposals, laws, and propositions, and the FDA has declared breakthrough status for the medicinal properties of psilocybin in treating depression, PTSD, seizures, and even Alzheimer’s and dementia. These are the most resistant conditions to traditional pharmaceutical pathways, but psilocybin and other plant medicines are providing a way forward.
Oliver Tang and Devin Greene rebuilt an RV and spent a month with Decriminalize Denver, the Christian opposition, the Parliament Funkadelic, along with mycologists like Tradd Cotter, “the protege of Paul Stamets,” at the Telluride Mushroom Festival. Makayla Menard (@makaylamenard) was our sober guide for our own mushroom trip, and Dr. Danielle Wise took us through “integration therapy,” which helps people make sense of their psychedelic experience and integrate the profoundly positive realizations we had into our lives. We wouldn’t advocate anything on this channel that we’re not willing to try (on camera). Now we’re giving this year-long labor of love away for FREE here on YouTube. If you want to share this film, or support us with a micro-donation at Patreon.com/TeamFriendship, we can create even more empowering stories that you’d never see in the mainstream media. All of this is possible because of YOU, and we need gonzo journalism more than ever.
We interviewed field coordinator Travis Fluck, who was arrested for having spores in his apartment after being pulled over for a routine traffic stop. This led to incarceration where he contracted HIV. Mushrooms led him to activism, and activism gave him a second home. He credits his moments of awakening, experienced with the help of mushrooms, with helping him forgive the people who put him behind bars.
The “criminalizing of nature” as psychedelic activists call it, affects more than just the ones who go to prison. Dr. Danielle Wise, who was integral in getting Initiative 301 passed in Denver, was afraid to go public for fear of losing her therapy practice. She’s not alone, everyone who “comes out of the closet” in support of psychedelics risks their livelihood to do so, and all of our subjects put their skin in the game when they agreed to be filmed. Everyone who fights for the freedom to take plant medicines believes they have massive potential to preserve and improve life. In fact, according to the Good Friday Study, most people who take mushrooms consider it to be one of the most significant experiences in their lives. Kevin Matthews, the co-founder of Decriminalize Denver, believes they saved his. Lindsey Hall, who lost her husband to PTSD, knows that they saved hers. These are not the hippies you’re used to. Former army recruits, nurses, psychotherapists, and a lot of people who have lost loved ones to mental illness and addiction.
You can come at this remarkable social movement to reintegrate psychedelics into society in a number of different ways, and a few successful films and series have covered it in the last year or two. For me, the most compelling angle that was missing from Michael Pollan’s best-selling book on psychedelics, or the hugely popular new Netflix series that features celebrity “trip reports,” was the criminal justice angle. When I think of the greatest atrocities committed against the human race, the mass incarceration of free people for non-violent crimes is first and foremost. What we learned from making this film, was that mushrooms seem to pull back the veil of our ruminating minds, by way of shutting down activity in the prefrontal cortex responsible for our “default mode network.” Essentially, that means we can see the world as children again, face our emotions head on, and learn to build an identity that puts us back in the driver’s seat. The significance is comparable to a near-death experience or the birth of a child. We are the only documentary that features a full mushroom trip, which we took legally thanks to Decriminalize Denver, and a psychological integration session with Dr. Danielle. It’s funny, it’s informative, and it’s our first time filming on a quarter ounce of mushrooms. We’re very proud to offer you this unique film, the culmination of our 100+ mini-documentaries here on YouTube and elsewhere, and we’re determined to be an unbiased intermediary and journalistic resource for some of the most interesting and controversial subjects of our time. Come along for the ride with Team Friendship, and you could be in our next movie!