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Boston Mushroom Fest 2024 Re-cap

A day celebrating psychedelics, plant medicine, activism, and delicious fungi

Last Sunday, a small cluster of psychedelic enthusiasts congregated in Roxbury for Bay Staters for Natural Medicine’s annual Boston Mushroom Fest. Headlined by a fresh feast full of plant-based dishes and delectables, the casual indoor afternoon among friends and fellow advocates was ripe with conversation and no shortage of political chatter as the race to psychedelic legalization in Massachusetts continues to ramp up.

Attendees came from various walks of life—from twentysomethings to middle-aged enthusiasts, veterans to college students. The mix made for a stimulating dialogue about the future of psychedelics in towns across the commonwealth and beyond. Bay Staters has advocated for decriminalization and resolutions at the local level which recognize the therapeutic potential of psilocybin, and is behind several bill proposals addressing issues including prescription MDMA costs. As a social group, they also get together for fun educational events like mushroom foraging—and community feasts like the one they held on Sunday.

“Everyone from parents to therapists are using psilocybin mushrooms now to work through trauma,” James Davis, founder of the Boston-based Bay Staters for Natural Medicine, said following the weekend gathering. “We’re proud to be offering events where people can celebrate their stories, share healthful food, and learn how to grow.”

The topic of “citizen science” dominated the discussion. Davis described it as “the viewpoint that affordable legalization and broad decriminalization will help humanity collectively learn more about the best settings and intentions in using psychedelics to improve lives.” Hardly unrelated, Bay Staters is currently at odds with a political action committee which placed a psychedelic referendum question his group dislikes on the upcoming Mass ballot.
In addition to animal-free eats and lively dialogue, Bay Staters presented its volunteer of the year awards to a trio of advocates for increased access to psychedelics: documentarian Daniel Montoya, longtime grassroots supporter Graham Moore, and Parents for Plant Medicine founder Jamie Morey.

“Part of the magic of psilocybin mushrooms is the community-based healing they inspire,” Morey said.

No one was visibly tripping, but the group does offer home grow kits with mycelium, shiitake, and lion’s mane spores in exchange for monetary donations. (It’s perfectly legal; a top DEA official even recently “affirmed that spores that produce so-called magic mushrooms are not, on their own, federally prohibited.”)

Morey continued, “People who have used these substances to help heal themselves tend to passionately want to help others who are still suffering do the same. There’s this amazing culture of sharing and caring that is really special.”