Dr. Gary Kono
Dr. Gary Kono, 72, is a retired hospice volunteer (5 yrs.), surgeon in Dentistry (25+ yrs) and non-profit fundraiser (40+ yrs). He grew up in Berkeley CA. attending UC Berkeley during the free Speech Movement, UCSF at the height of the Haight/Asbury and USC. Recipient of two humanitarian awards, he has been mentored by Bob Otis Stanley on plant and fungi entheogens and involved in the Sacred Garden Community since it’s inception. In December of 2018, Gary attended a SGC meeting and spontaneously brought together the group which later became the leadership team that successfully decriminalized enthogens in Oakland. Gary provided the initial seed funding for Decriminalize Nature Oakland, became one of the initial five voting members in the ad hoc Steering Committee, and then a founding DNO Board member with fellow SGC leaders and community leaders.
Of the 300 cities in the U.S. with populations over 100,000, Oakland is the second most diverse. Learning this, Gary reflected on the city where he’s lived and loved for 45 years and realized it has been ravaged more than most by institutional racism, insufficient access for the poor and elderly, and false promises to the benefits of our health care system. Thus driving his education of the Oakland Council Members that ALL districts of Oakland must have access to entheogens, not just affluent ones. Highly supporting the SGC/DNO position that these wonderful healing and sacred entheogens should not be commodified and used for high profit taking, regulation or taxation. He continues to educate that entheogens should have never been criminalized in the first place. Schedule I states that they are among the most dangerous substances known to man because they are highly addictive, have no medicinal value and there are no guidelines for safe use in a medical setting. Gary desires as many as possible to know that, in 2020, these are all false and unsubstantiated statements. He believes his own personal journey can help many to consider and understand what safe use of enthogens is and what transformational growth and healing of these sacred plants and fungi can provide. For he fully believed the misinformation and stigmatization about them propagated so much that he feared taking them and jeopardizing his education and career. He waited until he retired to begin learning about them and finding guides, shamans and leaders in the underground to share them with him.
The Sacred Garden Community has helped Gary move from feeling disconnected, fearing death, and feeling unhappily alone most of his life to now feeling connected, not fearing dying, and feeling more joy in the moment. He’d rather build SGC than working on movements to legalize entheogens because of time. Legalization in cities, states and federally may take decades. Time is running out for his fellow Baby Boomers, most who’ve been wrongly taught to fear entheogens for half a century, to now legally reap the benefits of these plants and fungi. To Gary, SGC and DNO are two vehicles to allow safe use of entheogens above ground. Like a fractal in nature, the intention of the SGC can be duplicated in cities throughout the United States.
His intention is not for him but for you, the public.
Dr. Gary Kono
Education Steward & Author