Ore. church's use of hallucinogenic tea contested
Thursday, July 14, 2011
PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) -- A federal court will hear an appeal from the U.S. attorney general regarding a ruling on an Ashland, Ore., church's use of a hallucinogenic tea.
The Church of the Holy Light of the Queen, a Brazilian-based Christian church, is permitted to import, distribute and brew the sacramental tea known as ayahuasca (aye-yah-WAS-ka).
U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder appealed, saying the ruling constrains federal drug regulations. On Wednesday, a panel of three federal judges was assigned to hear the appeal.
The tea is brewed from two Amazonian plants that contain the hallucinogenic drug DMT.
U.S. District Judge Owen Panner ruled in 2009 that the church's activities are legal.
His order prohibits the federal government from interfering or prosecuting church members who follow a list of regulations set out in his order.