Madison Margolin: “Traditional market”

I am excited about the wave of decriminalization, the promise of introducing an element of mysticism into science and treatment, and the overall effects that bringing down prohibition may have on our socio-political paradigm. As a part of my series about the women in psychedelics, I had the pleasure of interviewing Madison Margolin, Co-Founder, Managing […]

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I am excited about the wave of decriminalization, the promise of introducing an element of mysticism into science and treatment, and the overall effects that bringing down prohibition may have on our socio-political paradigm.


As a part of my series about the women in psychedelics, I had the pleasure of interviewing Madison Margolin, Co-Founder, Managing Editor of DoubleBlind.

Madison Margolin is the co-founder and managing editor of DoubleBlind,a biannual print magazine and digital media company at the forefront of the rapidly growing psychedelic movement. Also aLos Angeles/New York-based journalist, Margolin covers psychedelics, cannabis, drug policy, and spirituality. She’s written for Playboy Magazine, Rolling Stone, Nylon, VICE, LA Weekly, High Times, Tablet, and others. A graduate of Columbia Journalism School and UC Berkeley, Margolin has traveled everywhere from pot farms in the Emerald Triangle to the shores of the Ganges River, and all over Israel-Palestine, exploring the role of plant treatment in religion, mental health, and conflict resolution. She got her start in journalism with a column on cannabis at the Village Voice, after having lived in south Tel Aviv working with Eritrean refugees. With more than 4 years of experience covering cannabis and other remedy, Madison has spoken on topics like social equity, cannabis feminism, cannabis journalism, and so forth at conferences like Digital Hollywood, the Association of Alternative New Media, the American Society of Journalists and Authors, The Rind’s Women in Cannabis, Pepperdine’s Cannabis Law Symposium, and more.

DoubleBlind is a print magazine and digital media company at the forefront of the rapidly growing psychedelic movement. With contributors around the globe, DoubleBlind covers stories from South America’s ayahuasca tourism industry to the Silicon Valley microdosing trend and the groundbreaking research at leading universities. At the core of DoubleBlind’s reporting are some of the most important issues of our time: the depression epidemic, the corporatization of treatment, and the aching people feel for spirituality or some other collective sense of meaning — all presented in visually compelling, rigorous long-form features, poetry, art, and photo essays. In 2020, DoubleBlind debuts events, transforming these potent topics into community engagements for psychonauts and the psychecurious.


Thank you so much for doing this with us! Can you tell us the “backstory” about what brought you to the psychedelics industry?

I grew up in cannabis and psychedelic culture. My parents and their friends had all been influenced by psychedelics, all regularly smoked pot, and much of their spiritual practice was based on a combination of Judaism and Hinduism (my dad is a devotee of Neem Karoli Baba, the same guru as Ram Dass). I didn’t try psychedelics, however, until I was 18. I was a freshman at Berkeley and did a whole research paper on the cultural influence of Huxley’s The Doors of Perception, and then decided that after doing all that research, I would finally trip. So I did mushrooms with two close friends, and with my older sister and the family medical marijuana doctor as guides, and it was one of the most influential days of my life. When I was in journalism school, I fell into reporting on New York’s medical marijuana policy, as well as psychedelics within the Orthodox Jewish community, and that’s what got me started on those beats (cannabis, psychedelics, and Jewish culture).

Do you have a funny story about how someone you knew reacted when they first heard you were getting into psychedelics?

I don’t think anyone in my life has been the least bit surprised by me getting into the psychedelic space. For starters, it’s a natural progression from cannabis, but more so, this has been my life for most of my life. In college, I lived at a crazy co-op called Cloyne, where I had many of my initial drug experiences. And I’ve also been very curious about remedy items and the brain from an academic perspective, as well. So what I’m doing today is basically a continuation, or another iteration of what I’ve always done. I think the funny thing is people would probably be like, “Oh that’s just Madison being Madison.” Although I want to point out that I’m not the world’s biggest psychonaut by any means. I don’t even know that I’d call myself a psychonaut, so maybe there is something funny about that. I use my journalism as a means of learning about the things that resonate with me on a personal level, as well.

None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story?

I am grateful for my co-founder Shelby Hartman. The idea for DoubleBlind came to her when she was meditating and she called me immediately afterward to share it with me and to ask that I co-found a magazine with her. We had no idea where it would lead, but I can’t believe how lucky I got to be able to work with such a visionary who has so much drive and compassion.

Are you working on any new or exciting projects now? How do you think that will help people?

We have so much going on with DoubleBlind, it’s hard to pinpoint just one thing. Issue 4 is coming out this December. We also have a few online courses on how to grow your own mushrooms and how to take psychedelics for personal growth (that’s a good course for newbies, or for people who want to go deeper).

Can you share 3 things that most excite you about psychedelics?

I am excited about the wave of decriminalization, the promise of introducing an element of mysticism into science and treatment, and the overall effects that bringing down prohibition may have on our socio-political paradigm.

Can you share 3 things that most concern you about the industry? If you had the ability to implement 3 ways to reform or improve the industry, what would you suggest?

I am concerned about 1) people having access to psychedelic treatment, 2) pharmaceutical companies and clinicians implying that there is a singular “right” way to do psychedelics, and 3) nefarious players in the psychedelic space, using these treatment without proper reverence for the environment, social equity, and the importance of psychedelic integration in actually applying and putting into practice the ethos of these treatment.

What are your thoughts about federal legalization of psychedelics? If you could speak to your Senator, what would be your most persuasive argument regarding why they should or should not pursue federal legalization?

I believe that all remedy should be decriminalized. Drug use is a public health concern, not one meant for the criminal justice system. Prohibition does not actually limit drug use, but makes it less safe because people can’t verify that they are getting clean or properly dosed products — and furthermore, it puts people at risk of having their lives ruined by potential legal interference, and may deter people from seeking out help in an emergency situation. I would also show the Senator the scientific research coming out of institutions like Johns Hopkins or MAPS, as well as point to legally protected churches that are using plant treatment — safely — as they have been used for centuries.

Today, cigarettes are legal, but they are heavily regulated, highly taxed, and they are somewhat socially marginalized. Would you like psychedelics to have a similar status to cigarettes or different? Can you explain?

No, psychedelics should have a different status. The mistake of the cannabis industry was treating cannabis like a consumer product, as if it were cigarettes or alcohol, and given that the psychedelic space is modeling itself after cannabis, I don’t want to see the same happen to psychedelics. Cannabis consumption habits should not mimic cigarette or alcohol consumption habits and therefore neither should buying habits — and these same logic transfers to psychedelics. These aren’t substances that people should necessarily be taken often or casually, as you would tobacco. Moreover, we’ve seen absurdly high taxes destroy the legal cannabis industry, pushing out many of the less well capitalized players (and consumers), who have turned back to the “traditional market.” This defeats the purpose of legalization, and denies people the opportunity to legally verify that their products are safe, tested, dosed properly, etc.

Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?

Rebbi Nachman of Breslov said something along the lines of, “the world is a narrow bridge, the essential thing is not to be afraid.” I think that is relevant in that things are always going to be difficult and it will often feel like you’re treading a path you could easily fall from — but as long as you are walking the right path for yourself personally (for your soul) and you have faith in yourself and in the divine, then that path, as narrow as it may be, is still the path for you. The idea here is to know that no path is easy, but even so, if you feel like you’re called to it, then it’s your path and therefore the right one.

Thank you so much for the time you spent with this. We wish you only continued success!

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