Rabbi Ben Gorelick Plans to Use Religious Freedom Against an 8-Year Minimum Psychedelic Charge

in Culture

It’s not common to hear from a defendant during an ongoing case, especially when involving felony drug charges. Denver-based Rabbi Ben Gorelick is bucking that norm. Instead, the 42-year-old is using the media to amplify his message about psychedelic ceremonies, as well as their connection to Judaism and numerous other religions.

Aware of the potential legal consequences, Gorelick appeared anything but fazed by the situation when he spoke with High Times in early June. Calm, friendly and confident, the Rabbi said he was ready for his day in court—whenever that may come.

A Religious Awakening Leads To Psychedelics

Religion has always been part of the Gorelick family. The first decade of Ben’s life was spent in a tight-knit Orthodox community in northern New Mexico. At 10, a move to Albuquerque saw the family join a conservative Jewish synagogue when they couldn’t find an Orthodox community nearby.

“I had a very strongly religious childhood and upbringing, which I mostly appreciate,” said Gorelick.

He credits his religious upbringing for driving home critical life lessons, including his small role in a larger society. Despite the largely positive experiences, Gorelick felt his upbringing left him naive, thinking life was fair and equal for all. That viewpoint and his connection to religion waned after moving to Alaska at 17 for college.

He always loved nature, with Alaska making the fondness stronger. Two years in, however, Gorelick’s views would be immensely tested when a close friend died in his arms during an avalanche. The experience and reading Nietzsche propelled him in a direction away from religion. He searched for life’s answers, often ending up in nature.

By 25, he had co-founded Mountain Training School, a program for aspiring mountain guides. He claims that most people can learn about the mountains with four years …

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Author: Andrew Ward / High Times

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