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Set the Setting: June 2023
Meme drop, Catch me IRL at Psychedelic Science in Denver, EDC Recap, Set the Setting Playlist: Pride Edition, Dating While Asian
Meme of the Month
Does anybody remember the “Flat Girl” commercial? If you know, you know! It was one of the anti-marijuana commercials of my youth. They were all hilariously ineffective; I’m convinced that the “Talking Dog” one only made people want to smoke more. Here’s a top-5 collection to take you down memory lane:
You want to know who was subject to watching these commercials? Feast your eyes on this:
Yes, Mom sent me to school for picture day in my D.A.R.E shirt (“it was one of your best shirts!”). Tragic. I would like to point out that because I’m proactively sharing this picture that it cannot be used as blackmail against me.
This photo, the D.A.R.E. program, and these anti-marijuana commercials are from the same era that Purdue Pharma introduced OxyContin (in 1996) and began aggressively marketing and promoting it.
From 1996 to 2000, by the time I graduated middle school, sales of OxyContin had gone from $48 million to $1.1 billion. The widespread misuse and misinformation around OxyContin is the main driver of the opioid crisis that is destroying families and communities today. Meanwhile, cannabis is enjoyed safely and responsibly by millions of adults.
Want to know what the “War on Drugs” was really about? Let me take a minute to deprogram you from those stupid “Above the Influence” commercials and D.A.R.E. programs:
Nine out of 10 of marijuana arrests are for possession.
Black people are 3.6 times more likely to be arrested for marijuana possession than white people.
In Montana, Kentucky, Illinois, West Virginia, and Iowa, Black people are more than seven times more likely to be arrested for marijuana than white people. At the county level, there are places where Black people are more than 20, 30, 40, or even 50 times more likely to be arrested than white people.
Black people are still more likely to be arrested for possession than white people in states that have legalized or decriminalized marijuana.
Racial profiling among law enforcement is directly to blame for these disparities. Police often target people (for stop and frisk, search, and arrest) based on their actual or perceived race rather than reasonable suspicion of criminal activity. Minor offenses — including marijuana possession — are aggressively enforced in communities of color while these same offenses are rarely enforced in more affluent, predominantly white communities. The result is the disproportionate arrest and incarceration of people of color, and particularly young people of color, who can wind up entangled in the criminal legal system with lifelong implications because of a minor offense. - ACLU, A Tale of Two Countries: Racially Targeted Arrests in the Era of Marijuana Reform
These are more than just numbers. The personal impact of marijuana arrests can be devastating. In many states, a marijuana arrest can carry life-altering collateral consequences: parents may lose their children in court proceedings; disabled and low-income recipients of public benefits may lose health care; immigrants can face deportation; families can be evicted from public housing; and finding a job can be difficult and outright impossible in some cases.
The “War on Drugs” was never really about keeping us safe. It was always a war on Black and Brown people. Enough is enough. “Just say no” to ineffective and racist drug policy.
Catch me IRL at Psychedelic Science in Denver, June 17-25
As the Justice, Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Officer at MAPS (the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies), I lead the social justice and health equity initiatives to develop medical, legal and cultural contexts for all people to benefit from the careful uses of psychedelics and marijuana.
And next week…. holy shit balls. Over ten thousand attendees are coming to Psychedelic Science 2023, a conference that has consumed me and my team. It’s the largest psychedelic conference in history. We’ve assembled 14 stages, 270 exhibitors, 570 speakers, and all sorts of activations across 2 million sq. ft. Not to mention morning events, evening events, welcome parties, fundraiser dinners, decompression events and harm reduction services.
To be completely honest, I hold a lot of resentment for how frustrating it has been to be tasked with the planning. By next month’s blog post I’ll be stoked to tell you about how amazing it was. I’m proud of the work I did on this historic event, and, I’m really excited to move past it and get back to building MAPS’ health equity program!
Jesus… take a look at these freaks. Fuckin’ weirdos! God I love ‘em.
RYAN! Ok, so the backstory with this next video is that the reason our rave squad keeps getting bigger every year is because we keep making new friends along the way. Our rave totem for the past few years has been the Rave Ranch, but I’ve always had a little nostalgia for mostly-SF squad, the Rave Guards. Ryan totally surprised me with a custom Rave Guards totem - and - he added a rainbow stripe because I was always complaining that our squad wasn’t gay enough.
Thank you Ryan, for making my 10th EDC feel so special. I love that you challenge me to think outside of the bubble and contexts that I come from - and that you let me do the same to you. Our life differences make our friendship stronger.
In a cultural zeitgeist defined by shunning people that think differently than us; you remind me that I'd rather be excluded for who I include, than be included for who I exclude.
Now let’s all watch some EDC fireworks!
Overheard in the control room: “PUSH ALL THE BUTTONS!”
Set the Setting Playlist: Pride Edition
So before you click play, I should preface this isn’t a typical pride playlist. There’s no Madonna, Lady Gaga or Mariah Carey.
There have been 491 anti-LGBTQ+ bills in State Legislative Sessions in the first half of 2023. LGBTQ+ rights are under attack in the United States. WE NEED BASS! Bass vibes are how I typically set the setting for empowerment (see March 2023’s Set the Setting empowerment playlist for more inspiration). This playlist is curated for standing up for ourselves and fighting for our right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. So hit play and strike a (power) pose!
Like what you hear? Well guess what, every track in this playlist features a queer DJ/producer. So this playlist wouldn’t exist without us! Clockwise from Top Left: Wreckno, Rezz, Griz, CloZee:
This pride month, I encourage you to reach out to your LGBTQ+ friends and check-in with them. It’s been pretty rough out there to see so many headlines about our communities and rights being threatened. Tell them you love them year round, but especially this month.
Dating While Asian
As you may (or may not?) know, I have a consulting practice under the same name (Set the Setting). I’m picky with who I work with, since my time is limited — focusing mostly on consumer brands with social justice-oriented customer bases (e.g. Pinterest, Taco Bell, Sephora, Allbirds).
For Asian American & Pacific Islander Heritage Month, a friend at Bumble reached out for a pitch. I knew exactly what I wanted to do… a “Dating While Asian” Storytelling Hour! The entire staff of Bumble was invited to hear stories from myself and Bumble employees about the experience of dating while Asian. There were laughs, there were tears. And of course, there was love. Facing sexual racism on dating apps is not uncommon in the LGBTQ+ community, unfortunately. But helping Bumble employees deepen their understanding of these issues actually helped me feel personally resourced to download the apps and emerge from my dating hiatus. Let’s see what the second half of 2023 has in store for me!
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