Tune In (But Don't Drop Out): FIU Hosts Cannabis and Psychedelics Conference

FIU's Psychedelic Club has a strict no-drugs rule, but its mission is to educate students about the mental-health benefits of psychedelic substances.
FIU's Psychedelic Club has a strict no-drugs rule, but its mission is to educate students about the mental-health benefits of psychedelic substances. Photo courtesy of FIU Psychedelic Club
While many might associate their time in college with drugs and psychedelic experimentation, a group at Florida International University (FIU) is trying to bring that world out of the dorm room and into the classroom — academically speaking, that is.

Saturday, July 9, FIU hosts Cannadelic Miami, a hybrid cannabis and psychedelics conference and expo. The two-day conference is free to students and faculty. The speaking sessions are open to the public with a paid ticket ($200 and up), but the expo and networking floor outside the lecture halls are free of charge.

Cannadelic features appearances by a host of experts from the fields of alternative medicine and psychedelic research, plus booths manned by local cannabis vendors in the lobby of FIU's Student Academic Success Center on the Modesto Maidique Campus. A livestream will be available via Cannadelic's website for a $53 charge. The vendor booths are free.

"We're doing something very academic here. We'll have researchers from Johns Hopkins, Ohio State University, and local physicians. The event is gonna provide the latest information on cannabis and psychedelics," says Joseph Lichter, director of Pre-Health Advising at FIU and professor of the Psychedelic Renaissance course offered to Honors College students.

Cannadelic Miami is the brainchild of cannabis advocacy couple Colleen (AKA Nurse Colleen) and Pete Sessa, who collaborated with Lichter and the Psychedelic Club to bring the event to FIU. The groups wanted to bring cannabis and psychedelic education together in a university setting and let the broader community learn about something that until now has seemed taboo.

But don't get it twisted: you won't be walking out of the conference with a bag of magic mushrooms and a pailful of weed.

"Come because you're curious to learn. You can't come by to buy drugs," Lichter admonishes.

In fact, the FIU Psychedelic Club, whose mission is to educate students on the benefits of psychedelic research, has a strict no-drug rule, as psychedelics like psilocybin mushrooms are still illegal under the federal Controlled Substances Act.

"We start every meeting saying that we don't condone psychedelic use. We're purely academic and research-based," says Christina Cabrera-Elizondo, a senior in pre-med psychology and the president of the Psychedelic Club.

While attendees may not get to trip out at a two-day university conference, they may learn a thing or two about how drugs like ketamine are being used to treat depression, and how to better market a business in Florida's cannabis industry.
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Joshua Ceballos is staff writer for Miami New Times. He is a Florida International University alum and a born-and-bred Miami boy.
Contact: Joshua Ceballos