A Celebration of Scotland’s Indigenous Apothecary
20th, 22nd February 2022
In February 2023 we held a 3-day Celebration of Scotland’s Indigenous Apothecary encompassing cannabis and psilocybin mushrooms, as well as other healing plants indigenous to the Scottish land. These events were organised to coincide with the international movement #thankyouplantmedicine. We collaborated with the Scottish Cannabis Consortium, the University of Edinburgh, and many other organisations and people involved in both plant medicine and drug policy reform in Scotland in order to explore the healing potential of these plants.
Each day explored different aspects of plant medicine in Scotland, weaving our three strands:
- community building,
- research and education, and
- policy development
Underpinning and connecting these three strands is the concept of ethics, and how we move towards an integration of plant medicine into our health system and wider social environment with care.
In September 2023 we will be holding an exhibition in the Members Area of the Scottish Parliament showcasing the data from these events, with artwork incorporating the feedback. This will culminate in a lunchtime MSP Q&A in the Scottish Parliament with Professor David Nutt and family members calling for the introduction of psychedelic therapy for trauma and recovery.
The events were recorded by Drug Reporter, and the 40-minute film can be viewed here:
Monday 20th February: Indigenous Apothecary: Stories of healing and thanks
This unique event provided a space for our Scottish indigenous healing community to come together and celebrate in a safe and held space (current laws create an environment where we may feel marginalised, stigmatised and criminalised).
The focus was on the power of storytelling in creating community and connection, and was attended by over 50 individuals, all keen to share their story of healing and gratitude. Because it was a safe and confidential event we did not take any photographs or recordings, however below is a snapshot of the feedback we received from participants on the impact of sharing their story. We are in the process of creating an artist rendition of this feedback for our next event in September.
Tuesday 21st February: The Scottish Cannabis Symposium
Cannabis has been cultivated in Scotland for centuries, and was once a staple medicine in every doctors’ and herbalists’ apothecary. Due to the legal barriers set up in the 1960s and 70s, however, cannabis and hemp were lost to us as a medicine and material, until recently. Increased understanding of the power of cannabis as a medicine has resulted in countries around the world implementing legal medicinal and Adult Use regulatory systems, in addition to the other uses the plant has in addressing many of our sustainability problems.
The half day event brought stakeholders together to connect, share knowledge, have respectful dialogue and importantly envision the future of cannabis in Scotland, both within the UK, and as a potential independent country with the power to write our own drug laws. The day was structured along the lines of a conversation café on cannabis with speed dating.
It was an incredibly powerful event, with networks and collaborations being made between multiple stakeholders in the cannabis community. Importantly it was an opportunity for everyone to tell their own cannabis story, with all stakeholders, regardless of their interest in the industry, feeling safe and able to share why they are passionate about brining cannabis medicine back to Scotland.
The event was recorded and can be viewed here:
Drug Reporter: short film on the event: coming soon
22nd February: Psychedelics in Scotland
This event was twofold: a panel event in which we heard from a range of expert speakers (link to webpage which gives info on speakers), and a Scottish Parliament event, sponsored by Pauline McNeil MSP, with the same speakers and focus, but with MSP’s in attendance.
In keeping with the power of this medicine to inspire and create community, this day was packed full of energy and inspiring, at times painful, stories of healing and gratitude for the plants and the potential they have.
This event was also recorded, and we have both a 30-minute film of the 2 events, plus the full length film of the parliamentary event.
One of the most powerful moments was when Karen Llewellyn spoke of the harm that had been done to her sons and her family by the drug policy and medical framework. In a tragic turn of events, Karen’s son Jake passed away 2 months later. Inquiries are ongoing.
Similarly, John Andersons lived experience presentation send shivers around the room, the power of being heard and having the opportunity to speak our truth in these environments cannot be understated. A selection of photos of the event and links to video footage of both events can be viewed below;
- Full length Parliament session