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ADF webinar #1: Winning the Right to Religious Use of Ayahuasca



Presented by: Jeffrey Bronfman
Hosted by: Bia Labate

On May 21, 1999 Jeffrey Bronfman answered a loud knock on the door of the offices of the União do Vegetal (UDV) church in Santa Fe, New Mexico. He opened the door to encounter more than a dozen armed US Customs Service and FBI agents with a warrant to seize all the church’s sacramental hoasca tea (ayahuasca) claiming it was contraband and impermissible to possess and distribute under both US and international law. This event initiated a legal action where the small church eventually sued the government of the United States for the return of it’s sacrament and a court order authorizing its religious practice.

The legal action, which occurred over a more than 10-year period, ultimately reaching the Supreme Court of the United States, was fully resolved in the church’s favor. In a truly historic precedent setting decision internationally the UDV ultimately secured it’s rights through an agreement negotiated with the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) whereby it became a legally registered importer, distributor and manufacturer of an otherwise prohibited substance.

Categories: Ayahuasca , ADF