Lucid News – Opinion: Don’t Count on RFRA to Protect Psychedelic Churches

Lucid News – Opinion: Don’t Count on RFRA to Protect Psychedelic Churches

In the past decade, clinical research has been the vanguard of the psychedelic renaissance. But in recent years, many have sought to widen another pathway for legal psychedelic use: religion. Under the auspices of religious freedom laws like the Religious Freedom for Restoration Act (RFRA), many psychedelic users across the nation have taken to forming churches in hopes that religious freedom laws will provide refuge from national and local drug laws. Use of entheogenic substances in religious or spiritual worship is, of course, not new. Not even close. Indigenous peoples have used entheogenic plants for millennia, long before the idea of a War on Drugs preoccupied public consciousness. What is new, however—and what has been rapidly accelerating—has been use under a claim of right: that freedom laws provide a shield against the War on Drugs. Hence, a “Mushroom Rabbi” grows “ceremonial psilocybin” for his congregation, and weekend ayahuasca retreats are publicized on the internet. This is an untested and highly uncertain area of law. Law is inherently uncertain, but typically, after a short period of application, courts formulate precedents and agencies promulgate regulations to concretize and refine the law and guide the regulated public. For a variety of reasons, this has not happened yet with RFRA and psychedelic use, despite the fact that the law has been around since 1993. For this reason, in November, 2021 Chacruna published the Guide to RFRA and Best Practices for Psychedelic Plant Medicine Churches to fill this gap, which is a good start. What Is RFRA? Congress enacted the Religious Freedom for Restoration Act to protect those engaged in sincere religious exercise from government laws. According to the statute, the federal government shall not substantially burden a person’s “exercise of religion” unless the government shows that that application of the burden to the person furthers a “compelling governmental…

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Source : Lucid News – Opinion: Don’t Count on RFRA to Protect Psychedelic Churches

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