SXSW desires you to vote on marijuana and psychedelics panels for the 2021 occasion

Dozens of marijuana-related panels have been suggested for the South by Southwest (SXSW) event next year, and several other posts mention psychedelics. Now the festival needs the help of the public to decide which ones will make the cut.

By Friday, SXSW is asking people to comment and vote on 48 proposed panels for SXSW 2021 that will affect cannabis, and four that mention psychedelics. The festival, usually a trendy annual event in Austin, will take place online in March.

Suggestions for the panels span the gamut from social justice issues in legal cannabis to DIY health services and entheogenic home remedies. Most of the proposals have an industry feel – an allusion to the festival’s “cannabusiness” track presented in recent years – while other pitches are particularly topical: More than one mentions cannabis and COVID-19.

Help us create #SXSW online! Browse the session proposals and let us know what you would like to see next March. https://t.co/WYYNl9PRgF

– SXSW (@sxsw) November 16, 2020

Anyone can comment on the suggestions using the festival’s PanelPicker tool. To vote, you need to sign up for a free SXSW account.

Notable names proposed for the 2021 festival include Bay Area recording artist and entrepreneur Berner, co-founder of the marijuana brand Cookies; Cat Packer, director of the Los Angeles Department of Cannabis Regulation; Al Harrington, a former NBA player who started his own cannabis company; and Toi Hutchison, senior cannabis control advisor to JB Pritzker (D), Governor of Illinois.

There is a lot of overlap between panel topics. So look at everyone. Try searching with terms like “cannabis” or “psychedelics”. Many wear the “cannabusiness” day of the festival.

Here’s just a taste of some of the options that could be offered at SXSW 2021:

Celebrities redefining cannabis entrepreneurship – It wouldn’t be SXSW without celebrity. This panel features Gilbert Anthony Miliam Jr., the musician better known as Berner who co-founded and runs the pioneering cannabis brand Cookies. The panel will focus on how color entrepreneurs in the marijuana space are working to correct past injustices of the drug war and what the future intersection of entertainment and cannabis might look like.

The future of cannabis is the name of the name – Interested in craft cannabis? Representatives from Big Rock Partners, Sonoma Hills Farm, Henry’s Original and Moonmade Farms discuss how a new California appellation law can affect growers and educate consumers about where their cannabis comes from.

The Stoners and the Suits: Building Bridges – Andrew DeAngelo, President of DeAngelo Brothers Productions LLC, one of the earliest entrepreneurs to introduce legal cannabis, says he was “both a stoner and a suit” during his 35 years in the marijuana business and offers ideas to build trust between groups that are often at odds.

DIY Healthcare: From Seed to Confidence – For those who like to get their hands dirty, Amanda Reiman, CEO and Founder of Personal Plants, explains how herbal medicines, including cannabis and psychedelics, are made and processed at home.

Can we ensure justice in cannabis policy? #Yes we can – This solo panel from Cat Packer, director of the Cannabis Regulatory Department in Los Angeles, looks at how we can “build a fairer society for those previously and currently affected by cannabis policy” and other areas of the world Society affected by cannabis politics. Packer, who previously worked for the Drug Policy Alliance advocacy group, shares her perspective as a self-described “agitator” within the room and admits that there is still much to be done.

The harvest they will not share – legalization will be disrupted – “Legal cannabis doesn’t care about black people,” begins the description of this panel, which states that 96 percent of the licenses for cannabis companies in the USA have gone to white owners. With speakers including Toi Hutchison, Senior Advisor on Cannabis Control at Illinois Gov. JB Pritzker (D), and Melek Dexter, Founders and CEO of Lets ReUP and Do Better Project, this is another worthy look at the need for social justice in the cannabis industry.

The urgency for a just cannabis industry – Another proposed panel, looking at the need for social justice in cannabis, offers a more industry-side perspective. These include Tahir Johnson, manager of business development and diversity and inclusion for the National Cannabis Industry Association, and Curaleaf VP of social responsibility Khadija Tribble and representatives from Lantern and Fyllo.

Psychedelics: Mental Health Care Rewiring – Professors from Johns Hopkins University and the Mount Sinai School of Medicine are among the speakers on this panel addressing the therapeutic uses of psilocybin, the main psychoactive ingredient in psychedelic mushrooms. Panelists explain the potential benefits of psilocybin in treating psychiatric and behavioral disorders, discuss common misconceptions, and examine existing mental health problems.

Reporting on the corporatization of psychedelics – With increasing interest in psychedelic uses in mental health, another illegal drug market could soon become legal. This panel is where the CEO and Editor-in-Chief of DoubleBlind Mag, which deals with psychedelics, will sit down to discuss how cannabis paved the way for psychedelics and how for-profit interests could disrupt efforts to achieve justice.

It is not yet clear how many of the proposals will be selected. In 2019, the festival hosted more than 20 cannabis events, including discussions on women’s entrepreneurship and the prospect of marijuana reform in Texas. Sixty-two cannabis proposals were submitted for consideration at this festival.

SXSX’s 2019 cannabis track also sparked some controversy when former House Speaker John Boehner (R), who joined the board of directors of a major cannabis company after retiring from office, delivered a keynote address following protests from supporters of the social justice who argued that marijuana companies did overlooked stock issues.

SXSW 2020 was supposed to contain 24 different cannabis panels, but the festival was canceled due to the pandemic.

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Photo courtesy of Philip Steffan

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