Dr. Bronner’s is pushing for psilocybin reform once again. According to state filings, Washington D.C.-based New Approach PAC, a lobbyist group, funded $14,000 between August and September to local firm Grossman Solutions to promote drug policy reform in Connecticut. Dr. Bronner’s is among New Approach’s biggest donors.
CT Insider reports that a task force in Connecticut is examining the efficacy of psilocybin mushrooms for use in therapeutic settings. House Bill 6296, sponsored by Representative Josh Elliot and four other representatives, created a task force responsible for studying the efficacy of psilocybin for a variety of conditions—a key step in legalizing psilocybin for therapeutic purposes. Grossman Solutions will help New Approach engage with Connecticut’s psilocybin task force.
“New Approach’s mission is to end the senseless and destructive policies of the War on Drugs and replace them with policies that prioritize public health, science, healing and community instead of criminalization,” Ben Unger, director of psychedelic policy for New Approach told CT Insider. “We approach this work knowing that the fight to end the drug war is a political fight, and we need to run professional and strategic political campaigns to make progress.”
The task force examining psilocybin includes several current state legislators, academic researchers, clinicians from Yale, University of Connecticut and Midstate Medical Center, and representatives from several state agencies. It also includes former state representative Jesse MacLachlan.
CEO David Bronner is the grandson of company founder Emil Bronner. He said his goal is to free psychedelics, specifically legalization of psilocybin for therapeutic purposes, adding it’s exactly what his grandfather would have done. “The passion of my grandfather was to unite spaceship earth,” Bronner said. “We honor that legacy in different ways,” among them “integration of psychedelic healing in medicine and therapy.” Bronner also said that he believes “psychedelic medicine can really help people heal and wake up, and grapple with pressing problems.”
The funding arrived with a little bit of luck. Bronner admitted that his company experienced “windfall profits from being a soap business in the time of COVID,” and appropriated $15 million for advocacy—half of which went straight toward drug policy reform.
Dr. Bronner’s and Psilocybin Efforts
Dr. Bronner’s Magic Soaps are known for organic materials and sustainable practices. The company was founded in 1948 by Emmanuel “Emil” Bronner, selling castile soap after fleeing from the Nazis in Germany under a rise in fascism. The family’s roots go further back, with soap-making skills dating decades.
More recently, the company shifted its main focus on organic and sustainable practices. Many of the company’s products already contain hemp extracts and/or CBD, among other useful ingredients. Earlier this year, the brand launched into the food market, using organic materials. The company added chocolate to Dr. Bronner’s line of products after the company learned that many of the farmers in Ghana who supply its Regenerative Organic Certified Serendipalm (used in Dr. Bronner’s soaps) also grow cocoa.
In 2019, Dr. Bronner’s pledged support of psilocybin efforts in Oregon, including a public endorsement of Oregon’s statewide Psilocybin Therapy Service Initiative of 2020 (PSI 2020), Oregon’s statewide Drug Addiction Treatment & Recovery Act of 2020 (DATRA), as well as Decriminalize Nature’s efforts to decriminalize natural psychedelic plant medicines in cities around the country including in Oregon.
Oregon Measure 109, the Psilocybin Program Initiative was on the ballot in Oregon as an initiated state statute and approved on November 3, 2020. “We were the major financial backer of Oregon’s 109 measure,” Bronner said.
In November 2020, Dr. Bronner’s released a cannabis-scented soap bar to benefit a new consumer education and crowdfunding campaign to promote the regenerative organic cannabis standard, Sun+Earth Certified. The scented soap bars contain specific terpenes found in cannabis for a unique smell.