Psychedelic retreats are all the rage (and that’s not a new thing), which causes a variety of organizer legal issues and a corresponding spectrum of liabilities. At Wonderland Miami, Horizons NYC, and on a regular basis outside of conferences, we are asked about legal advice for the organizers of psychedelic retreats. Both recreational and therapeutic psychedelic consumption are often consumed/administered in group settings, lending themselves to psychedelic retreats, usually in rural settings.
Horizons founder and director Kevin Balktick said it best during his speech at Horizons NYC (and I’m very loosely paraphrasing here): using psychedelics is a risk, and a risk that needs to be measured carefully. That sage advice applies in any circumstance and immeasurably so if you are planning on organizing a psychedelic retreat, soliciting participants, or accepting compensation as the organizer.
To that end, there are a few main points to hammer home. The risk associated with psychedelic retreats fall into two main categories: (i) the fact that psychedelics are illegal (but there are paths to federal legalization and change is already afoot on the state level (hi Oregon!)); and (ii) the use of psychedelics, particularly by individuals already suffering from treatment resistant depression, anxiety disorders, and PTSD