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Ronald McNutt is a litigation attorney in Nashville. In 1983, he graduated from The University of Georgia School of Law. He served as executive research editor of the Georgia Law Review and wrote a paper, “The Free Exercise Clause and Religious Use of Psychedelics.” After serving as a law clerk for two federal judges, he practiced civil rights litigation at a minority-owned law firm for ten years. He tried numerous cases involving police misconduct, employment discrimination, and unsafe confinement. For the past twenty years, he has been employed by the State of Tennessee. Ron majored in religion, graduating from Tufts University in 1978, with an emphasis on the religious use of psychedelics and cannabis. He organized the Tufts Altered States of Consciousness Organization which hosted many lecturers including Dr. Carl A. P. Ruck and Dr. Walter Houston Clark. Ron is an administrator for the Nashville Psychedelic Society and is active in the psychedelic space as a volunteer journalist and in local discussion groups. He is an elder and a certified lay pastor with the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.).
The principle from the Northstar Pledge that I enjoy practicing is to study the traditions. When I was a young, I went to the Harvard Botanical Museum and saw the display exhibits with windows featuring peyote, psilocybin, ayahuasca, and other medicinal plants collected by ethnobotanist Richard Evans Schultes. Since I became aware of the transformative benefits of psychedelics, I have studied the individuals and communities that brought the plant medicine traditions to us. I have researched and written about these societies and I volunteer to help pass on what I have learned about Indigenous traditions using major psychedelics in ceremonial settings. I am interested in ways to revitalize and open spiritual traditions in Western society.