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Legalize Psychedelics? The Results Are In.

John Donvan
Friday, April 30, 2021

First off, we at Intelligence Squared would like to extend a warm thank you to all of those who attended and cast their votes during the premier and nationwide broadcasts of our most recent hotly contested debate: Legalize Psychedelics. It drew audiences and reporters from across the country. And with Oregon last year becoming the first state to decriminalize drugs and legalize psilocybin therapy; Peter Thiel having recently invested big in a psychedelic startup; and Mass General Hospital having just launched a new research center dedicated exclusively to the study of these substances, psychedelics are clearly a topic on the minds of many.
 
And of course, we couldn’t have had such a compelling exchange of ideas without the participation of our esteemed debaters: Rick Doblin, Jeffrey Lieberman, Bia Labate, and Kevin Sabet.
 
Now, onto the results. (Remember, our victor is determined by which team changed the most minds). 
 
Arguing against the motion, Jeffrey Lieberman and Kevin Sabet pulled up their vote tally to 30%, after starting in pre-debate voting at just 11%. Whereas, arguing for the motion, Rick Doblin and Bia Lebate dropped to 62%, after starting in pre-debate voting at 74%. 
 
The winner is... 

 

But the real winner here, as we like to say, is debate itself. The ability to bring these premium events to the broader public, where a healthy exchange of ideas and dissenting opinions offer a deeper and more nuanced understanding of the issues that affect our lives, is something we value quite a bit at Intelligence Squared. Just the capacity to change minds in these polarizing times is something extraordinary. 

We also learned a lot from you, our audience, this time around. After the debate, many of you participated in a survey related to the topic at hand. Here’s what we learned: 60% have tried psychedelics, 89% think the “War on Drugs” has failed, and 68% heard the most persuasive argument in the debate during the panel discussion.
 
That’s all for now. See you on the (virtual) stage. Our next Oxford-style debate is on Taiwan, and whether amidst a rising China, it is indeed defensible.
 
This should be a good one.

Sincerely,


John Donvan
Host, Intelligence Squared U.S.

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