Mocktails, Mushrooms & Marijuana

Attendees gather during Mocktails, Mushrooms & Marijuana on May 23 in Buffalo.
story and photos by Ethan Ashok

On May 23, Lions Mane Infusions and Blossom Buffalo hosted Mocktails, Mushrooms & Marijuana at SoHo Bar and Restaurant in Buffalo. This event, the first of its kind in Western New York, was created to connect curious clients to licensed medical providers.

The evening of education and entertainment featured a panel of knowledgeable experts who discussed the current and potential options available for psychedelic treatments in New York State. Attendees were treated to mushroom-infused mocktails and fine hors d’oeuvres provided by Flat 12 Mushrooms while they casually mingled and conversed with doctors, dispensary owners, clinical practitioners, lawyers, advocates, politicians and cultivators to the sounds of reggae music by Olmstead Dub System.

Panelists, from left, are Dr. Laszlo Mechtler, Rohini Bhalla, Lisa Smith, Dr. Gregory Loewen, Assemblyman Pat Burke, Melissa Ferguson of Bison Botanics, Tom McManus of DRS Testing, Tony Ferro of Change MS Welness Foundation and Michael Nicosia of Lions Mane Infusions.

Dr. Laszlo Mechtler, medical director of the Dent Neurological Institute, chief of neuro-oncology and founder of the MIND Clinic, sparked the evening with his profound insight, story-telling and witty humor. He stressed the importance of clean cannabis, detailing the history of the plant as an agent for soil cleansing used in the toxic cleanup from Chernobyl. Dr. Mechtler went on to relate his experience learning Rastafarian history while hanging with Bob Marley’s son, Stephen.

“Cannabis doesn’t help with everything, but it does improve quality of life with a lot of people,” he stated.

Jack Porcari The Canna Professor and Dr. Laszlo Mechtler from the Dent Institute

Phillips Lytle Partner Lisa Smith, one of the country’s top psychedelic lawyers, described the intricacies of working within the boundaries of DEA licenses and the changes that will occur with legalization. She praised Assemblyman Pat Burke for creating NY’s first psilocybin legalization bill with its progressive outlining of the distribution of medicine. Throughout the night, Smith generously provided information to practitioners trying to navigate the nuances of psychedelic medicine.

Burke shared the challenges of introducing NY’s first psilocybin legislation. He was initially ridiculed, but has now found support from more than 50 legislators in both parties. Burke is determined to fight for the public benefit.

Dr. Gregory Loewen from Samadhi Therapy Associates spoke about the experience with psychedelics needed in order to properly guide clients in a safe way.

“Like a sherpa, we guide patients towards the next step on their individual healing journey,” he assured the audience. Loewen believes psychedelic treatment is a procedure that utilizes a controlled set and setting to obtain desired results. With proper treatment, he has witnessed the wounds of past traumas simply dissolve.

Tom McManus, one of the founding members of DRS Testing, answered questions about the rigorous standards of testing and the upcoming challenges facing laboratories to ensure the safety of psilocybin. It was a common agreement that evening that clean cannabis is important, and that something must be done to make testing more affordable.

Rohini Bhalla from Blossom Buffalo (far right), poses with a couple guests at the event.

Melissa Ferguson, education director of Bison Botanics, reminded everyone of their humanistic traits while sharing her experience in training budtenders. She related her life experiences with cannabis and talked about her direct knowledge acquired from using CDB with her immediate family members.

Tony Ferro, founder of the Change MS Wellness Foundation, stressed the importance of un-learning our past in order to reform our habits. Ferro has spent many years adjusting his lifestyle to successfully combat the symptoms associated with an MS diagnosis. He is always eager to assist and encourage others on the self-healing path.

Lions Mane Infusions and Blossom Buffalo hope to provide more of these kinds of events in WNY and across New York State as plant medicine becomes more acceptable, legalization progresses and more people seek out creative treatments to heal and better acclimate to the modern world.

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