Students for Sensible Drug Policy is hosting three activist speakers, Dana Beal, John Sinclair and Justin Kirkland, in support of Ibogaine legalization. The event takes place Thursday at the Architecture Building, 608 E. Lorado Taft Drive, Champaign, in Room 120 at 7 p.m.
Ibogaine is a psychoactive compound found in the bark of an African shrub. Some research shows that it can treat drug addiction by alleviating painful withdrawal symptoms. Ibogaine is available in Canada and Mexico but is a Schedule 1 illegal substance in the United States.
"It's a new drug that they're using in rehab because it's not addictive," said the group's president, Laura Allured, a sophomore in LAS. The group focuses on educating and engaging youth in the political process and discussing our national drug problems candidly.
"We try to get speakers whenever we can," Allured said. "Especially when there's something important going on like the medical marijuana bill."
The speakers will discuss Ibogaine legalization as well as other activist issues, such as the war on drugs. Ashley Barys, graduate student, is a member of Students for Sensible Drug Policy. She met Beal last year at an activist event, forging a connection that led Beal to the University on his tour.
Dana Beal is perhaps most famous for his support of the legalization of marijuana through the Global Million Marijuana March, which takes place annually on the first Saturday in May in cities worldwide. He is also an activist for the Youth International Party.
John Sinclair is a co-founder of the White Panther Party, an anti-racism political group, as well as a musician and a music journalist. According to Sinclair's official Web site, he regularly attends rallies supporting marijuana legalization across the United States.
Justin Kirkland is working to develop a safer form of Ibogaine called 18MC, which he will discuss Thursday night.
"I don't know much about Ibogaine, and it's really controversial," Barys said. "I'm excited to become more informed on the issue."
Some students have mixed feelings about the event.
"I'm against the legalization of marijuana," said Mary Margaret Brown, freshman in LAS, "but I'm all for free speech."
By Rebecca Spizzirri