Planning the Largest Psychedelic Conference in History: Interview with Ben Greenzweig, Co-Producer of PS23

September 25, 2023

Imagine an event that serves an industry where the products are still illegal at the federal level. Now imagine that show’s attendance growing four times. 

That’s exactly what happened in June when Psychedelic Science 2023 (PS23) landed in Denver at the Colorado Convention Center.

When the last Psychedelic Science conference was held in Oakland, Calif., in 2017, more than 3,000 attendees from the international scientific community came together to explore new research into the benefits and risks of MDMA, LSD, psilocybin, ayahuasca, ketamine, ibogaine, medical marijuana and more. 

Since then, states across the U.S. have passed legislation that ranges from decriminalizing the possession of psychedelic substances to regulated access at certified clinics for anyone over the age of 21.

PS2023, a co-production by Momentum Events with the Multidisciplinary Association of Psychedelic Studies (MAPS), brought together more than 12,000 researchers, experts, cultural icons, investors and thinkers in the evolving world of psychedelics.


Ben Greenzweig, CEO of Momentum Events, an event company he founded in 2012 after working on conferences and trade shows at the Institute for International Research and The Economist, said, “PS2023 far exceeded our expectations. When we first started planning this conference in 2021, we hoped for 8,000 attendees, yet more than 12,000 people came together to celebrate the path we have all been on for more than 35 years.”

He added, “PS2023 is a testament to the work MAPS has done to help mainstream psychedelic medicine.”

Event highlights

Education. Over the course of five days from June 19-23, attendees participated in more than 400 panels, training seminars and cultural events. 

Expo. For the first time, the event featured a trade show floor with 200 exhibitors showcasing everything from clinical companies and contract research organizations to wellness retreats and practitioner training services.

Keynotes. The keynote stage featured speakers like football star Aaron Rodgers, rapper/artist Jaden Smith, as well as politicians like Gov. Jared Polis (D-CO) and former Gov. Rick Perry (R-TX). During the event, Toms Shoes Founder Blake Mycoskie announced a $100 million commitment to psychedelic research and investment.

Deep Space Psychedelic Science

Fun. Networking events included a Welcome Party & Psychedelic Drag Bingo; Psychedelic Leaders Gathering: Authentic Relating, Cacao Ceremony, Talent Show & Dance Party; Opening Psychedelic Therapy Mixer; Taco, Yoga and Beer; and Plants, Yoga and Wine — to name a few.

Fest. Deep Space, sponsored by Dr. Bronner's, featured a festival-like atmosphere with tea ceremonies, yoga and movement, music and dancing, connection exercises, storytelling and more. 

Buzz. The event garnered some mainstream media exposure, including coverage by NPR, Bloomberg, Vox, Axios and Forbes — among others.

Deeper dive

Rick Doblin, founder and president of MAPS, a non-profit research and educational organization founded in 1986, said, “PS2023 has proven to be a breakthrough moment for the national conversation around psychedelics. While the days of this effort have been long, the years have flown by, and I’m more enthusiastic and excited than I have ever been about the future of psychedelic medicines.”

He continued, “Momentum has been a vital partner in making PS2023 the massive success it has been. We couldn’t have asked for a better, more intentional and committed partner in this effort.”

As the organizing partner, Momentum was responsible for the event production, marketing, registration, trade show and management of all the affiliated programs.

Mushroom Area at PS23

When asked to describe the event, Greenzweig said, “It was part expo, part festival, part business conference, and it all was woven together by an audience brought together for a common purpose, which are these medicines, and that is nothing I've ever experienced before in my life.”

The future of psychedelics has never looked so bright. 

We caught up with Greenzweig to get the inside scoop on planning and producing the biggest psychedelics conference in history.

Watch or listen to our interview here.

Don’t miss any event-related news: Sign up for our weekly e-newsletter HERE, listen to our latest podcast HERE and engage with us on TwitterFacebook and LinkedIn!

Add new comment

Partner Voices
Overview: The award-winning Orange County Convention Center (OCCC) goes the extra mile to make every day extraordinary by offering customer service excellence and industry-leading partnerships. From their dedicated in-house Rigging team to their robust Exhibitor Services, The Center of Hospitality brings your imagination to life by helping you host unforgettable meetings and events. With more than 2 million square feet of exhibit space, world-class services and a dream destination, we are committed to making even the most ambitious conventions a reality. In October 2023, the Orange County Board of County Commissioners voted to approve allocating Tourist Development Tax funding for the $560 million Phase 5A completion of the OCCC. The Convention Way Grand Concourse project will include enhancements to the North-South Building, featuring an additional 60,000 square feet of meeting space, an 80,000- square-foot ballroom and new entry to the North-South Building along Convention Way. “We are thrilled to begin work on completing our North-South Building which will allow us to meet the growing needs of our clients,” said OCCC Executive Director Mark Tester. “As an economic driver for the community, this project will provide the Center with connectivity and meeting space to host more events and continue to infuse the local economy with new money and expanding business opportunities.” Amenities: The Center of Hospitality goes above and beyond by offering world-class customer service and industry-leading partnerships. From the largest convention center Wi-Fi network to custom LAN/WAN design, the Center takes pride in enhancing exhibitor and customer experience.  The OCCC is the exclusive provider of electricity (24-hour power at no additional cost), aerial rigging and lighting, water, natural gas and propane, compressed air, and cable TV services. Convenience The Center is at the epicenter of the destination, with an abundance of hotels, restaurants, and attractions within walking distance. Pedestrian bridges connect both buildings to more than 5,200 rooms and is within a 15-minute drive from the Orlando International Airport. The convenience of the location goes hand-in-hand with top notch service to help meet an event’s every need. Gold Key Members The OCCC’s Gold Key Members represent the best of the best when it comes to exceptional service and exclusive benefits for clients, exhibitors and guests. The Center’s Gold Key memberships with Universal Orlando Resort, SeaWorld Orlando and Walt Disney World greatly enhance meeting planner and attendee experiences offering world-renowned venues, immersive experiences and creative resources for their events. OCCC Events: This fiscal year, the OCCC is projected to host 168 events, 1.7 million attendees, and $2.9 billion in economic impact.  The Center’s top five events during their 2022-2023 fiscal year included:  AAU Jr. National Volleyball Championships 2023 200,000 Attendees $257 Million in Economic Impact MEGACON 2023 160,000 Attendees $205 Million in Economic Impact Open Championship Series 2023 69,500 Attendees $89 Million in Economic Impact Sunshine Classic 2023 42,000 Attendees $54 Million in Economic Impact Premiere Orlando 2023 42,000 Attendees $108 Million in Economic Impact