Mike Margolies is an event/media producer and community builder in the psychedelic space. His interests center on drug policy reform, harm reduction, and blockchain. In 2015, he founded Psychedelic Seminars, a live online event series he hosts that features leaders in the world of psychedelics. Past speakers include Rick Doblin, Michael Pollan, and Paul Austin (Mike was interviewed on Paul’s The Third Wave podcast). Mike is a co-founder of the Baltimore Psychedelic Society, former Co-Director of Psymposia and Co-Founder Psymposia Magazine. Also, he co-founded the CryptoPsychedelic summit in 2017 which brings together leaders in blockchain and the psychedelic sciences for research, innovation, and community building.
From Engineering to Community Building
A native of Baltimore, Mike studied chemical engineering at the University of Maryland and graduated summa cum laude in 2008. He worked for ExxonMobil from 2008 to 2013 as an Advanced Engineer then as a Process Contract Engineer and Optimization Analyst. In 2010, he was part of a team awarded a patent for “Tools for assisting in petroleum product transportation logistics.” Mike left the corporate world after an ayahuasca experience while traveling in Peru. He spent the next 15 months backpacking and living in Southeast Asia and India while hosting his Walking the Earth podcast.
The Baltimore Psychedelic Society came into being because of Mike’s work in the local community building “open and honest conversations about psychedelics.” He mentored the original group of people who formed the Baltimore society and helped start the Global Psychedelic Network. The network website lets users search by location for people, organizations, events, and groups in the psychedelic space.
Reducing Harm and Changing Drug Policy
Besides creating community, Mike is also passionate about reducing drug harms and changing government drug policies. He says although there has been progress in changing the legislation for certain substances like marijuana, drugs are still harming minorities at a disproportionate rate. This is much of the reason, he says, US prisons have more inmates than corrupt countries like Russia and China put together. Mike is working to help people recognize the dichotomy that exists; it’s legal to sell marijuana in Colorado but illegal drug trade in the US imprisons an enormous amount of people who do not have the same privileges and opportunities that many others do.
Mike also advocates about keeping an open mind about all substances, not just psychedelics. He points out many psychedelic users still believe myths about heroin and put it in a different category than psychedelics, saying it should not be decriminalized. Mike makes the point that many people who use heroin are functional and the risks of using the drug are often related to set, setting, and dosage. Therefore, he says, people in the psychedelic community need to be mindful of their prejudices about other drugs—the same way we have discarded the myths and learned the truth about psychedelics.