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Church of the Eagle and the Condor and Chacruna Institute Seek To Raise $US100K To “Set new precedent for ayahuasca religions under the Religious Freedom Restoration Act.”

Here’s their pitch

In order to make the most of your generosity, our lawyers have agreed to work at a discounted rate, as we anticipate that this could be a long process. Please donate to help us pay for legal costs, filing fees, and other resources necessary to take this project to completion.

More at  https://charity.gofundme.com/o/en/campaign/ayahuasca-religious-freedom-initiative?mc_cid=14074dbea6&mc_eid=97f9df24b6

The Church of the Eagle and the Condor (CEC) and the Chacruna Institute are proud to collaborate to raise $100,000 to investigate and resolve disputes concerning the federal government’s approach to ayahuasca importation, establish processes to seek return of seized sacrament, and set new precedent for ayahuasca religions under the Religious Freedom Restoration Act. 

Ayahuasca is a brew used in traditional ceremonies by Indigenous communities across the Amazon basin, and its use has spread across the world. Ayahuasca contains DMT, a Schedule I controlled substance. Today, two ayahuasca churches – the Centro Espírita Beneficente União do Vegetal (also known as UDV) and Santo Daime – are legally permitted to import and utilize ayahuasca as a sacrament in their religious practices. Because of a complex and unclear legal environment involving the religious use of controlled substances as sacrament, other churches around the country practice in a gray area.

Since last year, Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) has seized ayahuasca from dozens of churches – including the Church of the Eagle and the Condor. Right now, there is no way to properly identify ayahuasca as a community’s sacrament without putting one’s self at legal risk.

These actions defy existing Constitutional protections of religious freedom. DEA has provided unclear guidance, and without a clear pathway, these churches remain unsure whether their practice is protected by the law.

What are we going to do about it?

The Church of the Eagle and the Condor and Chacruna Institute are collaborating to carve out a path for churches who have had their sacrament seized by CBP to request a return of their medicine and create a legal process to return the sacrament to its rightful owner – the churches themselves. Our goal is to set a reliable and consistent precedent for churches that use ayahuasca as their sacrament under the Religious Freedom Restoration Act. 

Specifically, this project will:

– Petition the government to acknowledge the legitimacy of Indigenous traditional practice of sacred ayahuasca ceremony, focusing specifically on the example of the Church of the Eagle and the Condor.

– Uncover the mechanism and justification for the seizures of ayahuasca at the border by submitting a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request to Customs and Border Patrol. The information we uncover will be made public, which will illuminate the legal situation regarding ayahuasca for churches across the United States.

– Petition Customs and Border Patrol to establish a process to return seized sacrament to churches that are trying to import sacrament from outside of the country. If successful, our goal is that this process will be utilized by churches who are also seeking the return of their sacrament after seizure.

By working toward and achieving these outcomes, the Church of the Eagle and the Condor is taking the lead – at considerable risk – to be a beacon for other communities dealing with infringement of their religious freedoms. 

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