Nicholas Sand

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Nick Sand (born May 10, 1941)[1] is a cult figure in the psychedelic community for his work as a clandestine chemist from 1966-1996 for the Brotherhood of Eternal Love.[2][3] Sand was also Chief Alchemist for the League for Spiritual Discovery at the Millbrook estate in New York and was credited as the "first underground chemist on record to have synthesized DMT".[4]


Sand grew up in Brooklyn, New York and by his late teens he was already aware of the LSD scene developing around Greenwich Village. While attending Brooklyn College, Sand became interested in the teachings of Gurdjieff, the study of different cultures, and various Eastern philosophers.[5]

In 1961, he had his first mescaline experience.[1]

Graduating in 1966 with a degree in Anthropology and Sociology, Sand followed Leary and Alpert to Millbrook and became a guide to the psychedelic realm for many of the people who came to Millbrook. During this time Sand also began extracting DMT in his bathtub.[5]

Sand later started a perfume company as a front for the production of Mescaline and DMT.[6] During this time Sand began to attract the attention of the police due to his lengthy visits to Milbrook and chose to move his lab to San Francisco after Owsley visited Milbrook in April 1967.[citation needed] Sand's San Francisco Lab was operational by July 1967. Sand wanted to make LSD but was lacking the necessary precursors. Owsley had given him a formula for STP and would tablet Sand's product from his own lab in Orinda.

In 1968 Sand was introduced to fellow chemist Tim Scully, who had been training under Owsley Stanley until Stanley's legal troubles in 1967.[7]

In December 1968 Sand purchased a farmhouse in Windsor, California, at that time a small town in rural Sonoma County. There he and Scully set up a large LSD lab. Here they produced over 3.6 million tablets of LSD that was distributed under the name "orange sunshine".[2]


In 1972 Sand was prosecuted along with several members of the Brotherhood for the manufacturing of LSD, who had been the focus of a lengthy investigation by federal narcotics agents in the early 1970s.[8] In 1976 Sand was found guilty partially due to the testimony of Billy Hitchcock and other "snitches" and was sentenced to 15 years in a federal penitentiary.[2]

Sand's attorney appealed his conviction, based on the fact that Sand never produced LSD-25, but a similar substance called ALD-52, which was not illegal at the time.[2] Sand was released on $50,000 bail and while out of custody, went underground in 1976 and remained a fugitive from federal agents for two decades.[citation needed]


In September 1996, Sand surfaced as a drug suspect in Vancouver, British Columbia. According to the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, he was living under the name David Roy Shepard and his true identity was not discovered until his fingerprints were sent to the FBI lab in Washington, D.C. nearly two months after his arrest.[9] The RCMP says Sand was one of seven people who were operating one of the largest LSD labs in North American history, a facility near Port Coquitlam, British Columbia, that produced enough acid to dose every man, woman and child in Canada 1.5 times.[citation needed]

Sand served prison time in Canada and the United States from 1996 to 2000 for the manufacture of psychedelic drugs including, but not limited to, MDMA, MDA, DMT, LSD, and mescaline. He also produced an analog of LSD known as lysergic acid sec-butylamide (LSB). Sand was sentenced to nine years in Canada but was returned to the United States as he was still living underground due to charges of LSD production from the early 1970s. Nicholas Sand is credited with the largest poly-drug clandestine laboratory to be encountered in Canada.[citation needed] His laboratory was secreted in an industrial complex in a suburb of Vancouver, British Columbia. His lab was of a level of sophistication never encountered before by police investigators or clandestine lab specialists from Health Canada. Sand worked in his lab several months each summer and resided in Mexico for the rest of the year. For 1995, he estimated a net income of 1.8 million dollars for three months of work. The substances produced in his lab were destined for a worldwide market, and also included MDP-2-P or piperonyl methyl ketone (an MDMA precursor), which was quite rare in Canada at the time.[citation needed]

As of 2001, Sand is on a monitored release program and resides in San Francisco, California. He is writing a book and practicing Buddhism.[citation needed]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Erowid Nick Sand Vault
  2. ^ a b c d Nocenti, Annie. Baldwin, Ruth. Krassner, Paul. The High Times Reader. Nation Books. 2004
  3. ^ Oroc, James. Tryptamine Palace: 5-MeO-DMT and the Sonoran Desert Toad. Park Street Press. 2010.
  4. ^ Wilcock, David. The Source Field Investigations Penguin Group. 2011.
  5. ^ a b Lee, Martin A. Shlain, Bruce. Acid Dreams: The Complete Social History of Lsd. Grove Press. 2007
  6. ^ The Brotherhood of Eternal Love Drug
  7. ^ Schou, Nicholas. Orange Sunshine: The Brotherhood of Eternal Love and Its Quest to Spread Peace, Love, and Acid to the World. Thomas Dunne Books. 2010. p. 154-155
  8. ^ New York Magazine. Feb 18, 1991. p. 37
  9. ^ Distant Karma Catches Up With the Brotherhood's Brenice Lee Smith OC Weekly

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