Put That in Your Thurible and Smoke It: Religious Gerrymandering of Sacramental Intoxication


In February 2006, the Supreme Court ruled on the case Gonzales v. O Centro Beneficente Uniao do Vegetal, granting an injunction permitting the use of ayahuasca, a plant containing the Schedule I substance Dimethyltryptamine, for sacramental intoxication purposes. The unanimous Court justified this injunction by comparing the Uniao do Vegetal's use of the illegal substance with the Native American Church's use of peyote, which contains another Schedule I substance, mescaline. This ruling is incomptabile with lower court rulings rejecting the Ethiopian Zion Coptic Church use of marijuana, consistently stating that the Native American Church has rights beyond those of other religions. The following article compares the rights of the three organizations, and offers a test that courts should utilizem while considering permissive use of illegal substances for religious purposes.


Civil Rights and Discrimination | Constitutional Law | Religion Law

Date of this Version

January 2007