Matt Stang has seen the future. When the former High Times owner was staring down the barrel of a possible life sentence for cannabis trafficking in 2010, he knew we’d already passed the event horizon — His sentence was somewhere in the epilogue of the war on drugs. Now, Stang is the CEO of Delic, the world’s first psychedelic wellness corporation. “The world is changing every day. … And now, way more people see it,” he says, and he’s far from blowing smoke.
Two years after Stang’s arrest, Colorado and Washington became the first two states to legalize recreational cannabis. Sixteen states followed suit, as well as 35 states that have legalized for medical purposes. Almost a decade later, Stang sees another tipping point coming. “We saw the same signs. The same scientific research [with] great minds doing work on the activism, science side and the business commercialization side, so we built Delic to mainstream psychedelic wellness.” Together with his wife Jackee in 2019, they co-founded Delic (CSE: DELC) (OTCQB: DELCF). On the inaugural World Psychedelics Day, Matt Stang waxes on Delic, psychedelic treatment centers, and our need for healing connection in the aftermath of a global pandemic.
Blazing the trail from cannabis to psychedelics
World Psychedelics Day is a project of the Psychedelic Awareness Foundation, a Canadian non-profit organization. The seminal conference will feature a full day of boundary-pushing discussions led by industry leaders such as Dr. Andrew Weil, Dr. Gabor Mate and Dr. Rick Doblin, Executive Director for Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS). The event this year is fully virtual with free admission.
As someone whose been mainstreaming similar events like Cannabis Cup for decades, Stang knows one day isn’t enough to change opinions — it takes a collective push. Delic recently signed a deal for several psychedelic clinics offering ketamine infusions. Ketamine is presently the only psychedelic legally available to patients in the U.S. outside clinical study, with FDA approval for treatment-resistant depression, chronic pain and more. Only a handful of clinics in Canada like Change Pain offer ketamine infusions, and they come at a hefty price tag not covered by provincial insurance. Still, organizations like the Ketamine Assisted Therapy Association of Canada (KATA) are emerging and continuing to push the envelope in ketamine education and accessibility.
“It comes down to making psychedelics safe and accessible to everyone,” says Stang, acknowledging how it was cannabis that blazed the proverbial trail for psychedelics now: “Each person whose life is impacted for the better will go and tell their loved ones and that’s how it happens. It’s the same thing we did with cannabis, it’s a very grassroots game.”
The industry is taking notice
In October, Vancouver-based company Numinus Wellness Inc. completed the first legal harvest of psilocybin mushrooms by a public company in Canada. The historical decision is one of the first approved medical uses of psilocybin in 60 years. Delic also owns a lab in Canada with a psilocybin and cannabis license doing work on novel delivery methods for psilocybin. While Canada is currently the only country with licensure to allow for psilocybin research, Stang is optimistic that the stateside equivalent could happen within the next year. Stang and other experts are suggesting MDMA could get FDA approval as early as 2023. “For Delic, I see us being a leader in psychedelic wellness and making it as safe and accessible as possible.”
From revolution to evolution
“These substances help change people, psychedelics help people feel heard and seen. … It allows you to see other perspectives and get outside of your ego and feel connected. … That’s not very good when it comes to a regime that keeps people separated, fearful and angry,” explains Stang.
The vestiges of the war on drugs cling to North America like a half-moulted exoskeleton, but Stang insists we’re beyond a revolution — it’s evolution. “In the last election, every single thing that was against the war on drugs was won in America,” he says. This comes at a time when mental health challenges are soaring globally due to the COVID-19 pandemic. “There’s been 15 months of incredible trauma, stress and mental health issues, and there’s no good way to address it. [There are] so many people [who] need psychedelic wellness right now,” he added.
COVID brought mental health and daily life into razor-sharp focus, fast-tracking a collective change in perspective towards accessibility and connection. From the wreckage, mental health issues are emerging like an echo-pandemic. Between the relics of the war on drugs and COVID, Stang believes this is precisely where psychedelic wellness is going to be needed most. “People get so caught up in these stories that are built around like a binary good versus evil rather than understanding that things just are, and people take those things and use them to create meaning.”
The World Psychedelics Day conference will run Sunday, June 20 from 6:45 A.M EST to 3:00 A.M EST. This fall, Delic will host Meet Delic, the world’s largest psychedelic conference, in Las Vegas. “The entire hall and theatre [are] fully immersive, it feels like you’re inside a 3D moving picture.” The event will take place inside the world’s first art mall — a 50,000 square foot art installation by experimental art collective Meow Wolf that is completely motion mapped.