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On 5/11/19 I was featured on The Fox News Channel

James jesso Fox News Watters' World 5/11/19It was at the end of ‘Watters’ World’, a Republican news/comedy interview show. Jesse Watters, the host, interviewed me to discuss the decriminalization of psilocybin in Denver, as well as decriminalization and psilocybin in general.

As you can imagine, this was a huge opportunity and a very stressful process. I figure it made sense to capture the story of how it came about, why I said “yes” to it, how I prepared, and how I feel about it now that it’s all said and done while it was all still fresh in my mind. Also, it is you, the psychedelic community, that helped me get to a place in my career and capacity to be offered the opportunity to represent this culture to such a large audience. So it makes sense to share the whole context too, not just the fruit of it.

Below you will find the original interview, my experience report video, and the pre-interview Q&A I did with the Watters’ World Booking Producer that offers a deeper look at my perspective on this issue.


My experience being interviewed on FoxNews about ‘Magic Mushrooms’

The Fox Interview

Denver, Colorado becomes first city to decriminalize ‘magic mushrooms’ (FoxNews)

Alt LinkALT 2 — If you still can’t find it google “james jesso fox news”

Pre-Interview Q&A

In order to prepare for interviewing me, the booking producer sent me these questions in order to get a sense of my position and how to frame the live questions for me. Answering these questions in writing was very helpful for me to prepare, but much of it didn’t really land in the actual interview. Here they are for your enjoyment. [A couple of grammatical changes were made, but the content remains the same]

Why do you support the decriminalization of Psilocybin mushrooms?

If you mean the decriminalizing of possession for personal use than its because I believe that an adult should have the liberty to choose to alter their mind however they see fit as long as it does not cause harm. Psilocybin mushrooms are incredibly low harm, anti-addictive, and have a high potential for long-lasting positive benefits in people. Also because their most considerable harm is due to a lack of education on responsible use, which is worsened by the stigma that will lessen with decriminalization.

Your background with taking mushrooms? Why you started taking them? How often you take them? Etc?

In my early 20s, I struggled intensely with depression, emotional instability, and lack of purpose and meaning in my life. However, inspired by anthropological and anecdotal reports of both ancient and modern therapeutic use of psilocybin for spiritual wellbeing, I began working with them monthly for 13 months. At the end of which I had turned my entire life around for the better, happy, healthy, stable job and a supportive social circle. I attribute what I learned about myself working with psilocybin mushrooms during those 13 as a massive contributor to my journey back to health. It was what I learned from those experiences that led me to write my first book.

I work with them very infrequently in my life at this point, although when I do, I do with deep respect. Recreational doses can be enjoyable and I believe a person should have the right to use them that way if they choose, but I do not personally consider them a plaything. I consider them a powerful agent of self-inquiry and emotional release, and I treat them as such.

How the decriminalization can benefit people?

It reduces tax spending on unnecessary policing and judicial activity to arrest and sentence simple possession or cultivation of a low-harm substance for personal use. It also saves courts and police from wasting time they could be putting into finding and sentencing violent criminals. Not to mention the protection of otherwise law-abiding, psilocybin-using citizens from having the path of their entire lives dismantled due to an unnecessarily criminal charge.

How it could hurt people?

“it” as in decriminalization or the mushrooms?
Decriminalization: I doubt it will.
Mushrooms in general: psilocybin mushrooms are can be a very intense experience and are not for everybody. Also, poor choice in the context of use and dose can result in incredibly frightening experiences. These harms are easily minimized with proper education.

Do you support just for medical use?

I support educated, responsible, adult use in general. However, I have a very strong support for medical use as it is much safer and holds great promise for many people suffering from otherwise untreatable mental illness. As much of psilocybin mushrooms can be used for a playful good time, they are so much more to offer society as a medical treatment. But all in all, I believe in the personal liberty to choose to alter our minds however we want, as long as it causes no harm.

Should there be restrictions for recreational use?

Absolutely. I believe the restrictions being used for other recreational drugs in our society, like alcohol, such as minimum age and driving restrictions are a good start.

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  1. Aleš Vojta Reply

    Hi, good job with the interview, you handled it like a pro!
    Tricky questions and great answers.

  2. I saw the interview, and you performed a great service to those that listen.
    It seemed Jesse was gonna try and do the gotcha, but he reined it in and conducted a respectful dissemination of his duties.
    Correct me if I’m wrong, but I was led to believe that psilocybin, if dosed too often, can actually become less effective and it’s better to dose at a therapeutic level, then allow for your system to clear itself?
    I’ve never heard of anyone overdosing, and that the real threat, was their inability to handle the intense effects, which go away in a few hours.
    I have had the honor of helping my son to experience the enlightenment of psilocybin, and he agrees that the sense of being unfettered by the maladies of the human experience, is completely natural and leaves one with a refreshing new attitude towards life.
    Please keep up the good work, as the revelation of psilocybin to our mental health spreads.
    Thank you.

    • Thanks, Byron.

      To your question

      Correct me if I’m wrong, but I was led to believe that psilocybin, if dosed too often, can actually become less effective and it’s better to dose at a therapeutic level, then allow for your system to clear itself?

      There is a tolerance that builds up quickly that results in lesser/no effect from them. It is better to work with them sparingly if a strong journey is your intention (microdosing is obv a different thing).

  3. A masterful and intelligent response to a painful douche. The “reporter” was using the classic technique of “humorous” ridicule which was developed and used by intelligence agencies and governments to attack and curtail interest and investigation of UFOs from the 1950s onward. This was meant as a soft attack piece, but that effect was greatly diminished by Mr. Jesso’s intelligence and savvy handling of the situation.

  4. Dude, I am so far away from FoxNews, but it seems like we’ve come a long way if they have air time for you to give so many great positive points. Seemed like he was ready to take advantage if you had slipped up, but you sure didn’t. Haven’t and won’t see the clip in context of the show as a larger piece, but I don’t see how they could really present that in a mocking way. Well done.


    • Thank you! I had my non-slip grips on that day 😉
      Also, I wouldn’t bother with the rest of the show although my friends tell me that it was a bit concerning for them while they watched it prior to my interview coming on. Watters, in their opinion, was just looking to shit talk and mock.

  5. I agree with all but the “douche” comment. You have the right to disagree, but this level of vitriol is unnecessary. Please remember that Jesse Watters is an individual that has deep seated biases based upon his upbringing and the misinformation, perpetuated by society as a whole.
    We must reach out with a level of civility that defuses the ignorant rantings of those who serve another agenda.
    They will soon fall into the minority, as the revelation of natures miracles become documented and more people benefiting from said miracles, announce publicly,their conversion .
    Don’t get me wrong, you have the absolute right to dislike Mr. Watters, but personal attacks take away from our ability to be taken seriously as it “turns off” people who may need to hear and respect testimony.
    I have seen the many pundits rolled out, who spew the jaded and tired diatribes (read as racially and corporately motivated) that exhibits a grave ignorance.
    We win by being positive influencers, armed with the truth and facts.
    Nature is medicine, and our ancestors, used to know this…

  6. Good job! I think you were very clear and articulate, made some good points. This is a pretty exciting time we are in right now on the brink of legalization (in my opinion) and it’s thanks to people like you who are passionate and represent us well. You definitely looked determined and you weren’t going to take any bullshit! LOL I loved it.
    You are so right that the media will put whatever slant they want on and that the show did do well in letting you say what you needed. That man interviews for a living and could have made the interview terrible but didn’t. He could have gotten that drunk guy from Shroomfest that was at the end of his clip in the beginning of the show but thankfully he chose you!

    • Thanks, and ya, that guy was obviously drunk and likely an alcoholic. It was so clear by his speech and mannerisms.

  7. As a sixty-something straight-as-an-arrow conventional mainstream dude (engineer, naval officer, lawyer, just a little more open minded than most, perhaps), I’m just adding my voice and agreement with the compliments above. Good work indeed.

    I’d never heard of Jesse Watters until seeing this clip (nor you until a friend referred me to this clip yesterday), so I don’t know if the clip is representative of his style and content, and I don’t know Fox News except slightly by reputation.. But having seen him described in the Google search results as “Fox News Anchor”, maybe my expectations were raised too high. I was then partly bewildered, partly incredulous, and greatly offended by the overriding tone of the interview: the smirk on his face, the smirk in the questions, the smirk in his voice. If this is Fox “news”, then it’s more dismal than even their reputation led me to believe.

    I’m sure Mr. Watters was surprised and disappointed at the course of the interview. Your handling of it was so good that what was likely programmed as an entertaining bit of mockery of “all those brain-damaged druggies” backfired, and turned out to have true public education value. Thanks to you. Some of the audience probably are intrigued enough to take a peek beyond their popular misconceptions re psilocybin.


  8. That “smirk” on Watters face is a permanent attraction. Believe it or not, his parents are liberal lefties. He is not a news anchor, he’s a commentator of events that allows him to “color” his speech with personal experiences. Certainly, he disagrees with what we are trying to achieve, but he can be fair. With that said, I separate commentator, from news anchor, that makes fox more palatable.
    Steve Hilton is a populist, Greg Guttfeld is libertarian, Tyrus is just dangerous.
    I don’t have an opinion about the “mainstream ” media, as they have become irrelevant to what passes as news.
    Surprise, I’m a constitutional conservative, and that means that I believe that people shouldn’t be told what they can and can’t put into their bodies.
    Yeah, the constitution says that, it’s called liberty and it’s becoming a scarce resource, along with common sense.
    Government works best when it’s the least involved in our lives. Hence, we can’t do anything that isn’t state approved.
    Why would anyone want more of a government that limits the very thing they are sworn to protect?
    Many of the Fox people are anti anything that exceeds religious constraints.
    Unfortunately, it is their scriptural ignorance that keeps them from acknowledging the fact that the Bible states specifically, that every fruit bearing and seed producing plant was given to our benefit and health. Hell! Where do they think medicine got its start? Nature baby.
    Love me or hate me, I’m on your side with this issue, and you know what? It’s okay to disagree, so let me have it if you will, but I am not wrong about the use of certain substances to alleviate or palliate our discomfort.

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