CrimProf Blog

Editor: Kevin Cole
Univ. of San Diego School of Law

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

SCOTUS: Church May Continue to Use Hallucinogenic Tea

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled unanimously Tuesday that the congregation of a small Brazil-based church in New Mexico, may continue to use hallucinogenic tea, which contains the illegal drug DMT. In the case, Gonzales v. Centro Espirita Beneficente Uniao do Vegetal,  No. 04-1084, the court  held that the government failed to show, as required by the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, that barring the religious sect from using the sacramental tea for religious purposes is the least restrictive means to advance the federal Controlled Substances Act's ban on the use of hallucinogens. The hoasca tea is considered sacred to members of O Centro Espirita Beneficiente Uniao do Vegetal, which has a blend of Christian beliefs and South American traditions. Members believe they can understand God only by drinking the tea, which is consumed twice a month at four-hour ceremonies. More. . . [Mark Godsey]

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