All of Molly's Comments + Replies

Legal support for EA orgs - useful?

I'm Open Phil's in house counsel and would love to talk to you about this! I sent you a message with my contact info.

Comments for shorter Cold Takes pieces

Vipassana meditation aims to give meditators experiential knowledge (rather than theoretical/intellectual understanding) of this conception of self. I think that's what a lot of people get out of psychedelics as well. 

I thought this paper was really interesting: https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/epdf/10.1111/cogs.12590 

The abstract: 

"It is an old philosophical idea that if the future self is literally different from the current self, one should be less concerned with the death of the future self (Parfit, 1984). This paper examines the rela... (read more)

Starting a Small Charity to Give Grants
Answer by MollyOct 04, 202111

Giving money to individuals through private foundations is pretty cumbersome, and requires getting pre-approval from the IRS to run a scholarship program; then you have to stick to the same method of selecting recipients as the one the IRS approved you for, and it generally has to be an open application process. 
If you give money to individuals through a public charity it's a lot easier, but to qualify as a public charity you have to meet certain financial requirements. 
Another way of doing this is to just use a 501(c)4 social welfare organizatio... (read more)

3sapphire9mo
Oh wow. This was super informative. Thanks so much.
Research Topics in Nonprofit Operations

A couple of quick ideas from a legal perspective:

  • How to differentiate policy advocacy (which c3's are allowed to engage in without limitations) from lobbying (which c3's have significant restrictions on) in non-US systems (e.g. in the US pushing for agencies to adopt regulatory schemes does not count as lobbying, but the distinction between executive agencies and legislative bodies may not translate well to other governmental systems)
  • Effect of China's NGO law (which creates huge barriers to giving/operating in China) on high impact causes (you'd probably n
... (read more)
AMA: Tim Ferriss, Michael Pollan, and Dr. Matthew W. Johnson on psychedelics research and philanthropy

I can think of a few different inter-related lines of effort in advancing the psychedelic movement, that may be most easily divided into:

  1. policy work
  2. scientific research
  3. grassroots work

Do you have a sense of whether the policy work and scientific research are money constrained, talent constrained or both? For someone looking to enter the field what would be

And as far as grassroots work goes, it seems important to keep the movement "respectable" but at the same time it seems important for more people to have personal experiences with psychedelics if they're go... (read more)

2Dr. Matthew W. Johnson1y
I can answer part of this. For scientific research, the need for money in the field is the largest constraint. Plenty of talent is out there, and they will jump in when the job opportunities are right. Colleagues are still leaving psychedelic science for lack of funding. It's a huge issue.
2Michael Pollan1y
There are movements in many places to decriminalize plant medicines and to legalize drugs. Check out Decriminalize Nature and also Drug Policy Action-- both highly respectable campaigns. Philanthropic monies are flowing into policy work-- Dr Bronner's, for example, contributed quite a bit to the recent Oregon ballot initiative.