Arizona Church Secures Right to Use Ayahuasca in Religious Ceremonies

A groundbreaking settlement has been reached between an Arizona-based Indigenous church and federal agencies, granting the church the right to utilize the psychedelic brew ayahuasca for religious purposes. The Church of the Eagle and the Condor (CEC) announced the agreement, marking a significant milestone in Indigenous religious freedom.

The legal battle began in 2022 when the CEC filed a lawsuit against several federal entities after shipments of ayahuasca were seized by officials. The settlement now permits the church to import, prepare, and distribute ayahuasca for sacramental use without fear of prosecution under federal drug laws.

Under the terms of the settlement, ayahuasca can be obtained and used in paste or liquid form, to be transformed into ceremonial tea by church members during religious gatherings in Phoenix. Importantly, the agreement ensures that the DEA can verify the contents of imported shipments to confirm their compliance with regulations.

Ayahuasca, traditionally used by Indigenous cultures in South America, holds deep spiritual significance. CEC Ayahuasquero Joseph Tafur emphasized the importance of the sacrament, rooted in ancient traditions and now extended to North America in fulfillment of prophecy.

Belinda P. Eriacho, a CEC board member, highlighted the settlement as a validation of Indigenous belief systems and a step towards honoring ancestral practices. She expressed gratitude for the recognition of spiritual freedoms, acknowledging the historical suppression faced by Indigenous communities.

The settlement represents a victory for religious freedom and cultural preservation, allowing the CEC to continue its sacred practices in harmony with federal regulations.


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