The Psychedelic Bar Association Board stewards the purpose of the organization, which includes the PBA Mission, Vision, and PBA North Star Invitation.
Ismail Lourido Ali, JD (he/him or they/them) has been personally utilizing psychedelics in celebratory and spiritual contexts for over fifteen years, and has been actively participating in the drug policy reform movement since 2013. As the Director of Policy and Advocacy at the Multidisciplinary Association of Psychedelic Studies (MAPS), Ismail advocates to eliminate barriers to psychedelic therapy and research, develops and implements legal and policy strategy, and supports MAPS’ strategy, organizational development, and ethics work. Ismail presently serves on the Board of Directors for Sage Institute in the California bay area. Ismail advises, is formally affiliated with, or has served in leadership roles for numerous organizations in the drug policy reform ecosystem, including Students for Sensible Drug Policy, Chacruna Institute, and the Ayahuasca Defense Fund. In addition, Ismail works with clients on matters related to the religious use of psychedelics as sacrament.
Nicole Howell (she/her) practices law, inquiry, meditation, journeying, and being here now. She is the co-founder of Clark Howell LLP, California’s leading women-owned law firm serving the cannabis and hemp industries and leaning into discussions around the culture and ethics of psychedelics legalization and commercialization. Nicole has been working against prohibitionist drug laws since the beginning of her career and is passionate about the cognitive, therapeutic, and spiritual healing that results from the perspective shift psychedelics provide. Today, Nicole’s sincere hope is to be a part of finding solutions to the question of how to harness “just enough” of the entrepreneurial and innovative spirit that exists in our culture and markets to fuel thoughtful access while not letting a free market, free-for-all swallow the movement whole. She believes unequivocally that when we show up with a beginner’s mind, and with curiosity, honesty, and generosity, we are capable – individually and collectively — of transformation beyond limit. Nicole has been recognized as one of the top 75 “Most Important Women in Cannabis” by Cannabis Business Executive, of the “30 Most Powerful Cannabis Lawyers” by MG Magazine, annually ranked by Super Lawyers magazine since 2012, and recognized for several years running as an “Attorney to Watch” by Chambers and Partners USA. Nicole regularly speaks, teaches, and writes on the topics of cannabis and hemp law and business, and drug policy reform for plant medicines and other emerging therapeutics. She currently serves on the board of the North Star Project. She lives in the mountains by a sweet creek and is available worldwide by the magical power of the internet.
Hadas Alterman is a Founding Partner at Plant Medicine Law Group. She has a J.D. from Berkeley Law and a B.A. in Community Studies/Agriculture & Social Justice from the University of California at Santa Cruz. Hadas advises cannabis and psychedelic companies on regulatory compliance, policy advocacy, risk management, strategic planning, alternative finance structures, corporate governance, dispute resolution, and transactional matters. Prior to founding PMLG, she worked with a leading cannabis law firm in San Francisco. Hadas has led clients through successful cannabis license applications in California, Maryland, Ohio, and Pennsylvania; served as counsel to equity applicants in Oakland and San Francisco, and works with legacy growers in the Emerald Triangle. Hadas is a former restorative justice practitioner and community organizer dedicated to using the law to expand equitable access to plant medicine. Hadas was the Policy Director of NYMHA, an organization that she co-founded that successfully lobbied for the introduction of a New York bill to decriminalize psilocybin by statute, and serves on the Equity Subcommittee of the Oregon Psilocybin Advisory Board.
Ariel Clark (she/they) is an attorney, activist, and co-founder of Clark Howell LLP, a women-steered law firm focused on cannabis, hemp and psychedelics. Clark Howell LLP is actively engaged in conversations regarding interconnectedness-driven law reform, psychedelic lawyering, and helping to shape policy that emphasizes ethical business models that reimagine a new role for capitalism in commercialization. Ariel walks the Red Road and is on a healing path. She is biracial, Odawa Anishinaabe and mixed European lineages. After practicing law at California Indian Legal Services, she started her own firm in 2010, to be of service to the plants and communities she is in deep connection with.
Ariel is a founding Board Member of the Psychedelic Bar Association (PBA), serves as the Board Steward of PBA’s Religious Use Committee, and participates in the Ethics Committee and Legislation and Regulation Committee (LARC). She co-founded and served on the Executive Committee of the Cannabis Law Section of the Los Angeles County Bar Association. She also co-founded the Cannaboss Womxn’s Circle, an active community of professionals collectively advancing feminine leadership in the cannabis ecosystem. Ariel’s other affiliations have included Chacruna Institute for Psychedelic Plant Medicines’ Council for the Protection of Sacred Plants, the International Cannabis Bar Association, California Native American Cannabis Association, California and National Cannabis Industry Associations, and California Growers Association.
Ariel has been in the trenches of drug policy reform for over 15 years, helping to enact ecosystem-defining regulations while being deeply committed to her clients — leading operators, entrepreneurs, innovators, investors, and healers. When the idea of a robust, diverse, and regulated cannabis supply chain was considered impossibly out-of-the-box, she committed her practice to be of service to the plants and communities she is in deep connection with — foresight that was recognized by Rolling Stone, which named her one of 18 “Women Shaping The Culture of Tomorrow.” Ariel’s hard work, intelligence, and tenacity have earned her a national reputation as one of the fiercest lawyers working on law reform related to drugs, plant medicine, and psychedelics. Ariel’s extensive legal and political expertise provide valuable counsel to other trailblazers building successful, impactful, and mindful organizations and offerings.
Ariel has been involved in numerous policy-change organizations, one of which was the Los Angeles Cannabis Task Force, which Ariel founded and ran. The Task Force was instrumental in the passage of Measure M, which authorized the creation of a legal, regulated cannabis ecosystem that prioritized social equity in LA. Over the last ten years, she has advised many other trade associations and drug policy reform organizations on regulatory and legal issues. Ariel regularly guest lectures at universities and law schools, including Columbia, Yale, and Harvard, and participates in community gatherings, conferences, and festivals.
Ariel’s nationally-recognized leadership is reflected in her inclusion in, among other accolades, Cannabis Business Executive’s “75 Most Important Women in Cannabis”; mg Magazine’s “30 Most Powerful Cannabis Lawyers”; Cannabis Law Report’s “Global Top 200 Cannabis Lawyers”; and Entrepreneur’s “Top 100 Cannabis Leaders.”
Prior to founding Clark Howell LLP (originally Clark Neubert LLP), Ariel captained her own firm, as well as worked in California Indian Legal Services’ Oakland, Santa Rosa, and Eureka offices. While in law school, she participated with a group of other Native American law students in discussions at the United Nation for what became the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. Her holistic, forward-thinking, and thorough approach to law – coupled with deep policy expertise and progressive vision – is of enormous benefit to clients, colleagues, and fellow paradigm-shifters. She is licensed in California; J.D., University of California Berkeley School of Law (2005); B.A. in Religious Studies, University of Michigan (2000).
Terry Gross has engaged in significant complex litigation on behalf of private clients and civil liberties organizations for over 35 years. Mr. Gross was the first general counsel to the Electronic Frontier Foundation, a civil liberties organization focusing on first amendment issues surrounding Internet-based technology. He is a founding board member and vice-president of the Burning Man Project, was its General Counsel for over twenty years. Mr. Gross advises and litigates extensively in the blockchain and cryptocurrency area, representing blockchain luminaries in various litigation and business matters, and is General Counsel and a founding director of the EOS Alliance, a nonprofit addressing governance issues in EOS cryptocurrency, and is General Counsel of Helios, an entity dedicated to furthering the EOS ecosystem. He is also the Executive Director of the Brock Pierce Foundation, with a philanthropy focus on environmental issues, plant medicine and social justice. Mr. Gross regularly litigates cases in which he defends constitutional rights, such as representing non-traditional religions in various types of litigation raising issues of religious freedom, due process, and improper government activity, both in affirmative lawsuits and in defending damage lawsuits by ex-members; represents journalists and news organizations; and recently had a victory in a wrongful conviction case. Mr. Gross also has an active practice representing victims of clergy abuse and sexual abuse.
Madalyn is a fierce advocate for the dismantling of, and healing from, systems of oppression. With over a decade of experience in drug policy reform and social justice nonprofit leadership roles, Madalyn offers unique insight into organizational operations, growing pains, and theories of change. In her former role as Chief Legal Officer of a grassroots, direct service nonprofit, Madalyn reimagined new ways to organize and share power as a leader, and put the infrastructure in place to actualize a growth in the operating budget from $400k to $4.3 million in five years.
In her current role as board member and founding member of the Psychedelic Bar Association (PBA), and co-Chair of the Legalization and Regulation Committee of the PBA, she is outspoken about the potential harms of psychedelic exceptionalism and incrementalism, and envisions equitable policies for psychedelics and other drugs that give the power back to communities. She is an expert in nonprofit operations and compliance, has years of experience serving on nonprofit board of directors, and is a skeptic of moving forward with the legalization and regulation of psychedelics and other drugs under the current extractive dominant culture.
Madalyn believes that a paradigm shift within the legal profession is upon us, and changing how people lawyer and engage with their privilege as attorneys will be a true vehicle to enact everlasting change within the psychedelic renaissance and beyond.
Robert “Roman” Haferd (he/him) is the Restorative Justice Coordinator for the Office of the Attorney General of the District of Columbia, where he has helped build a nationally-recognized restorative justice program inside Washington DC’s Justice Department. In the psychedelics space, Roman serves as the Director of Community Engagement for the Plant Medicine Coalition, a non-profit hub and advocacy organization that promotes safe, equitable access to psychedelic and plant medicines. In 2020, Roman was a Steering Committee Member of the successful Decriminalize Nature DC campaign to pass Initiative 81, the Entheogenic Plant and Fungus Policy Act, which made entheogenic substances among the lowest law enforcement priorities in Washington DC. Prior to joining the AG’s office, Roman worked as a Senior Program Associate with the Restorative Justice Project at Impact Justice, an Oakland, California-based research and innovation institute. Roman has also represented civil rights plaintiffs in cases around the country involving deprivations of Constitutional rights and law enforcement misconduct. He previously worked as a Senior Associate in the Litigation & Controversy Department of international law firm WilmerHale LLP’s Washington, DC office. Roman has a Bachelors of Arts from Bucknell University in Economics and Philosophy, and a Juris Doctorate from Harvard Law School.
My legal practice is centered on drugs; the law, business, policy, and (sometimes even) politics of psychedelics, cannabis, and other controlled substances. I practiced “traditional” healthcare law for ten years, then focused on cannabis for four years before pivoting to psychedelics/ plant medicine. I am currently of counsel with Emerge Law Group, and serve on the Board of Directors of the Psychedelic Bar Association.
I earned a J.D. with a Certificate in Health Law from DePaul University College of Law, where I served as the editor-in-chief of the Journal of Healthcare Law. I also earned a B.A. in Political Science and Economics from The Ohio State University, graduating cum laude from the Honors College.
Licensed to practice law in Colorado and Illinois.
Graham Pechenik is a registered patent attorney and the founder of Calyx Law, a law firm specializing in cannabis and psychedelics related intellectual property.
Graham has a BS from UC San Diego, where he chose his Cognitive Neuroscience and Biochemistry majors after his first psychedelic experiences inspired deep curiosity about the bases for changes in consciousness, and a JD from New York University, where he initially pursued interests in bioethics and cognitive liberty.
After a decade at large law firms defending and challenging patents for Fortune 500 companies across the agricultural, chemical, pharmaceutical, biotech, and technology industries, including working on several landmark patent cases both at trial and on appeal, Graham started Calyx Law in 2016. At Calyx Law, Graham helps cannabis and psychedelics ventures design and implement their IP strategies, including by developing alternative patent strategies that temper the exclusive monopoly right to permit certain uses or encourage follow-on innovation, such as through patent pledges and IP commoning.
Graham is also editor-at-large of Psychedelic Alpha, where he writes about psychedelics IP, provides data for patent trackers, and maintains a psychedelics legalization and decriminalization tracker, and he is a member of Chacruna’s Council for the Protection of Sacred Plants.
Graham was raised in Oakland, CA, and currently lives in San Francisco.