I recently wrote a post outlining the long history of religious exemptions to the federal Controlled Substances Act (CSA). In this post, I’ll provide a brief overview of the hoops that religious organizations have to jump through.
Religious organizations that want to use psychedelics for religious purposes and comply with U.S. law are forced to petition the United States Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) to do so. The petition process is set out in a set of interim guidelines published by the DEA (Interim Guidelines).
Before I explain what the Interim Guidelines require, it’s important to note that they may not be around for very long. As noted in my last post on this topic, the Arizona Yagé Assembly and North American Association of Visionary Churches sued the federal government over the Interim Guidelines earlier this year, alleging that the Interim Guidelines are illegal for a host of reasons (I analyzed the suspect legality of the Interim Guidelines in an article published here). The plaintiffs in that case were denied some major rulings on largely procedural grounds, but if they succeed then the Interim Guidelines may no longer govern.
Additionally, the DEA noted in the Arizona Yagé case that it