Religious Freedom Restoration Act Protects Church's Use of Hallucinogenic Tea

November 15, 2004

Source: The First Amendment Center Press

Wire Service: AP

On November 15, 2004 the Associated Press reported, "a federal appeals court on Nov. 12 upheld a lower court's ruling that temporarily stops the government from preventing a New Mexico church from using a hallucinogenic tea. The U.S. attorney general, the Drug Enforcement Administration and other government agencies are trying to stop the Brazil-based O Centro Espirita Beneficiente Uniao do Vegetal from using hoasca tea, which is brewed from plants found only in the Amazon River Basin. Last year, a three-judge panel of the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals upheld a federal district court's ruling granting the church a preliminary injunction, blocking the government from stopping the use of the tea while the church sues the government. The district court said use of the tea was likely protected by the federal Religious Freedom Restoration Act."