Madison Margolin Sounds Off on Mainstreaming of Cannabis and Psychedelics Cultures

Double Blind co-founder Madison Margolin: "I’m not one of these people who’s trying to sterilize psychedelics culture."

Madison Margolin should know. The co-founder and editorial director of Double Blind grew up in a cannabis-reform family and has since worked in the media covering both pot and psychedelics. Her father Bruce has long been associated with NORML as an lawyer and chapter head in Los Angeles and sister Allison is known as "L.A.'s dopest attorney." Rather than follow their leads, Madison went to Columbia Journalism School instead.

When I met her a few years ago, Madison was taking the New York media world by storm, writing for all the best publications (I assigned and edited several of her stories for Freedom Leaf). But she didn't stay in New York for long, moving back to L.A. and traveling to Israel and other places. Then I heard she'd started Double Blind with Shelby Hartman. I immediately subscribed and quickly became a fan of of "the bi-annual print magazine and media company covering timely, untold stories about the expansion of psychedelics around the globe."

Madison Margolin: "If you're going to come for psychedelics, come for the whole package."

Margolin is the subject of an interview with David Hershkovits on episode 99 of his podcast Light Culture. A discussion about Timothy Leary's importance in the evolution of psychedelics segues into a significant statement by her about the mainstreaming of both cannabis and psychedelics cultures.

"I'm not one of these people who's trying to sterilize psychedelics culture. I'm seeing a lot of that today where people are trying to make it palatable to the people who wouldn't be interested in psychedelics otherwise. I understand why they're doing that, why it's good marketing and why it will push forward policy or get people to want to buy a psychedelic medicine or something like that. But I also think, in mainstreaming psychedelics, why not be more psychedelic in and of itself? Extract the values and ethos of psychedelics and apply that into more mainstream consciousness."

Then she zeroes in on pot culture:

"We saw what happened already with cannabis where people tried to do the same thing: Turn cannabis into a wellness product. Cannabis culture today is by and large a shell of what it used to be in the '90s and before that in terms of characters and the fun in it and the people who were really devoted to the cause. Now, it just feels like another consumer product. Again, the culture to me is a little less enticing than what I grew up with in L.A. in the '90s"

She furthers the comparison:

"I think the legacy of people like Timothy Leary and others will help preserve the culture and make it so psychedelics don't have to be this neat thing that fits into a pitch deck or Power Point or whatever because the suits on Wall Street are going to like it better that way. Why should we try to accomodate to people who weren't hip to it before? If you're going to come for psychedelics, come for the whole package."

"Cannabis culture today is by and large a shell of what it used to be in the '90s" 

Madison's comment about cannabis culture hits home. I worked for High Times in the '90s, right when she's talking about. The characters of that era included Jack Herer, Dennis Peron, Brownie Mary, Gatewood Galbraith and others who are no longer with us. Now, all we read about is which company is buying whom. And how we should retire the word marijuana.

Asked about microdosing psychedelics, Margolin scoffs, "Microdosing is the CBD of psychedelics. (It's) for people who are afraid to get high. People do CBD and microdose for similar reasons."


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Steve Bloom

Steve Bloom

Publisher of, former editor of High Times and Freedom Leaf and co-author of Pot Culture and Reefer Movie Madness.