Dr. Bronner’s, family-owned maker of the top-selling natural brand of soap in North America, celebrates the successful passage of two ballot initiatives the company has funded as part of its Heal Soul Campaign, which supports public education efforts, advocacy organizations, and political campaigns around the country working to mainstream psychedelic-assisted therapy and medicines to treat depression, PTSD, addiction, and end-of-life anxiety. Both the Oregon Psilocybin Therapy Initiative Yes on 109 in Oregon, Decriminalize Nature DC Initiative 81 in Washington, DC, reported victories on November 3, 2020. These victories represent a pivotal shift among the American public in support of psychedelic-assisted therapy, and the need to decrease law enforcement prioritization of arrests for entheogenic plants. Dr. Bronner’s also celebrates the passage of Measure 110 in Oregon that implements a “treatment not jail” approach to drug addiction, to which it donated $1 million. And Dr. Bronner’s is pleased by the end of cannabis prohibition in Montana and South Dakota, and passage of a medical cannabis measure in Mississippi, to which collectively the company donated over $1 million, to make the case that this is a bipartisan issue and it is time to end prohibition at the federal level.
“Our world is grappling with epidemics of depression, anxiety, PTSD, and addiction that modern pharmaceutical approaches often fail to adequately address. Psychedelic-assisted therapy is life-saving medicine that the world needs now.” —David Bronner
“The Oregon Psilocybin Therapy Initiative creates a well-regulated program for psilocybin-assisted therapy for mental health and personal growth. This sets a nationwide precedent for how we should integrate the life-saving potential of psychedelics,” said David Bronner, CEO of Dr. Bronner’s. “And in Washington DC, where people of color are disproportionately arrested for drug possession, the Decriminalize Nature campaign makes personal cultivation and use of entheogenic plants for healing, the lowest priority for law enforcement.”
The company has donated over $5 million this year to support these and other efforts on behalf of psychedelic medicine, and created a special limited edition “Heal Soul!” label on its 32oz. Castile Liquid Soaps now available nationwide. The label aims to educate the public about these life-saving therapies and medicines, and the advocacy organizations and ballot initiatives that are advancing this work. To read the “Heal Soul!” label in its entirety, please visit: https://bit.ly/2EUnoxb.
“Our world is grappling with epidemics of depression, anxiety, PTSD, and addiction that modern pharmaceutical approaches often fail to adequately address. Psychedelic-assisted therapy is life-saving medicine that the world needs now, especially highly traumatized populations like veterans, first responders and marginalized communities generally,” said David Bronner, Cosmic Engagement Officer (CEO) of Dr. Bronner’s. “Our family is no stranger to severe depression and anxiety, and I’ve personally experienced the deep healing that these medicines can provide.”
Psychedelic-assisted therapy has shown great promise in clinical trials at John Hopkins, NYU, UCLA and elsewhere for treating severe psychological disorders. In 2017 and 2018, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) granted “breakthrough status” for MDMA-assisted therapy for treatment-resistant PTSD, and psilocybin-assisted therapy for treatment-resistant depression, respectively. Breakthrough status means that the FDA considers that these therapies may demonstrate substantial improvement over other available options and prioritizes review of safety and efficacy studies in clinical trials accordingly. Canada recently approved psilocybin-therapy for people who are terminally ill and grappling with severe end-of-life anxiety.
“Used in the right settings, in combination with good diet, fitness, and other healthy lifestyle choices, psychedelic-assisted therapies and medicines offer dramatic healing for many people suffering from depression, end-of-life anxiety, PTSD, and other mental health conditions,” said Michael Bronner, President of Dr. Bronner’s. “Our Heal Soul message and campaign is about mainstreaming this conversation in a rational and compassionate way, to help enable access to these life-saving therapies as soon as possible with the goal of evaporating the misguided stigma that these medicines face.”
Dr. Bronner’s Commitment to Psychedelic Advocacy
Dr. Bronner’s Heal Soul campaign builds upon the company’s track record of more than two decades of advocacy and financial support of drug policy reform, including legalization of hemp farming in the US, ending cannabis prohibition, advancement of FDA approved clinical trials for MDMA and psilocybin-assisted therapy, and psilocybin decriminalization in Denver, CO, to name a few. The current landscape of advocacy in support of psychedelic medicine is composed of diverse policy and political strategies. These include the integration of psychedelic-assisted therapy into Western medicine, efforts to decriminalize safe individual use of plant medicines, and protections for sovereignty of use and cultivation among Indigenous Peoples.
Even as modern Western medicine integrates the healing potential of psychedelic-assisted therapy, Dr. Bronner’s Heal Soul campaign recognizes the longstanding history and culture of Indigenous Peoples who have, for millennia, practiced sacred healing and traditional rites with use of psychedelic plant medicines. Dr. Bronner’s is committed to an approach that honors, respects, and protects the cultural sovereignty of Indigenous Peoples.
“Our work focuses on promoting health and wellness and revitalizing native cultures by preserving the traditions and protecting the sustainability of peyote for generations to come,” said Sandor Iron Rope, President of the Native American Church of South Dakota, and board member of the Indigenous Peyote Conservation Initiative. “It’s imperative that as interest in psychedelic medicine grows outside indigenous cultures, that Indigenous Peoples’ sovereignty and cultural history be respected, not exploited, as psychedelic plant therapies become more mainstream. We are grateful for Dr. Bronner’s support, and their recognition of our voice and leadership in the psychedelic advocacy movement.”
Support Across the Movement
Dr. Bronner’s cumulative donation of over $3 million this year to psychedelic healing efforts is broad and deep, but the Heal Soul campaign is focused on a few key representative efforts and organizations, including:
Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies
Dr. Bronner’s has committed $1 million to Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS) in 2020, in fulfillment of the fourth year of a commitment of $10 million over ten years. MAPS is driving MDMA-assisted therapy for treatment-resistant PTSD through the FDA approval process. In May, MAPS announced an interim analysis of the first Phase 3 trial, which showed greater than 90% probability that the therapy will show a statistically significant effect in treating PTSD. This is the highest validation an interim analysis can provide, and it puts MAPS’ clinical trial on track to submit MDMA-assisted psychotherapy to the FDA for approval as soon as 2022. MAPS, generally, is an educational and research organization that develops medical, legal, and cultural contexts for people to benefit from the careful use of psychedelics. Its work includes programs to train therapists and establish treatment centers; support scientific research into spirituality, creativity, and neuroscience regarding psychedelics; provide honest public education about risks and benefits of psychedelics; and develop psychedelics into prescription medicines. To learn more, visit: https://maps.org.
Oregon Psilocybin Therapy Measure, Yes on 109
Dr. Bronner’s has committed over $2 million to the 2020 Oregon Psilocybin Therapy Measure, Yes on 109. Measure 109 organizes a formal, licensed, state-regulated program that would, after a two-year program development period, allow access for all adults who can safely benefit to psilocybin-assisted therapy in licensed facilities, under the supervision of practitioners specifically trained in psychedelic facilitation. Among its many careful provisions, Yes on 109 will ensure quality training of facilitators by setting minimum criteria for third-party therapist training programs. To learn more, visit: https://voteyeson109.org.
Decriminalize Nature DC, Initiative 81
Dr. Bronner’s has committed over $500,000 to the Decriminalize Nature DC campaign, Initiative 81. Organized by local DC residents as part of the national Decriminalize Nature movement, The Entheogenic Plant and Fungus Policy Act of 2020 seeks to lower law enforcement priorities regarding entheogenic plant and fungi medicines used for personal healing. Entheogens are natural plant and fungi medicines including psilocybin-containing mushrooms, ayahuasca, and mescaline-containing cacti, that initiate states of consciousness which can inspire emotional, relational and spiritual growth and healing. To learn more, visit: https://decrimnaturedc.org.
Indigenous Peyote Conservation Initiative
Dr. Bronner’s has committed $100,000 to the Indigenous Peyote Conversation Initiative (IPCI) in 2020. IPCI is an international collaboration of top leaders in the peyote conservation effort, members of indigenous peyote communities and their partners. This organization focuses the best of its prayer and thinking and action on the sustainability and indigenous sovereignty of peyote across the US, Mexico, and Canada. IPCI engages in many strategies for spiritual reconnection and restoration of Peyote, including land access and stewardship, youth education and engagement, peyote tending, and a system of harvest and distribution that is regenerative and spiritually sound. To learn more, visit: https://www.ipci.life.
VETS: Veterans Exploring Treatment Solutions, Inc.
Dr. Bronner’s has committed $100,000 to the non-profit, VETS, Inc. in 2020. VETS, Inc. intends to change the landscape of veteran healthcare by finding meaningful, alternative solutions to mild traumatic brain injury and post-traumatic stress. Its core mission involves providing resources, research, and advocacy to improve the quality of life for US combat veterans seeking healing through psychedelic-assisted therapies. VETS, Inc. intends to end the veteran suicide epidemic. To learn more, visit: https://www.vetsolutions.org.
Heroic Hearts Project
Dr. Bronner’s has committed $100,000 to the Dr. Bronner’s has committed $100,000 to the non-profit, Heroic Hearts Project in 2020. Heroic Hearts Project connects military veterans who are struggling with PTSD, depression, and other traumas associated with violence, to psychedelic therapy retreats where they can access ayahuasca, and other related psychedelic plant medicines. To learn more, visit: https://www.heroicheartsproject.org.
Opening the Hearts and Minds of Consumers
Available from September through December of 2020, the special “Heal Soul!” Castile Liquid Soap label seeks to educate the public about the power of psychedelic-assisted therapy and medicines. Dr. Bronner’s has produced a series of blog posts and short videos, to support the campaign. The Heal Soul series of 8 short videos includes an introduction video by David Bronner, a second video featuring David, shot in Amsterdam, that tells the story of how he came to support drug policy reform, and then an additional 7 videos that share the perspectives and experiences of prominent leaders in the psychedelic medicine advocacy community.
Additionally, for a limited time, starting October 1, up to 10% of webstore sales on Dr. Bronner’s website will be donated to Dr. Bronner’s Heal Soul campaign partners, through a consumer-directed giving campaign. Buyers of Dr. Bronner’s products on the company’s webstore will have the opportunity to direct a portion of their purchase to support one of Dr. Bronner’s partner organizations. Dr. Bronner’s Heal Soul campaign is part of the company’s commitment to social justice, drug policy reform, ending mass incarceration, and spreading its “All-One!” mission.