Supreme Court to hear UDV case

Does the Religious Freedom Restoration Act protect the ritual use of ayahuasca? The Supreme Court has agreed to decide.

The Supreme Court has granted certiorari and will review a decision by the U.S. District Court for New Mexico and upheld by the 10th Circuit giving the American branch of a Brazilian church that makes sacramental use of ayahuasca (a traditional Amazonian potion made from plants one of which contains the controlled substance DMT) a preliminary injunction allowing it to import and use its sacred mixture. Earlier this year, the Court refused to say the lower-court order, which remains in effect until the case is heard, probably next fall.

Previous posts on the case:

Religious Liberty Meets the Controlled Substances Act

Ritual Use of Controlled Substances

10th Circuit Affirms UDV Ruling

UDV Case Headed to the Supreme Court

Supreme Court Lifts Stay

Feds Appeal Ayahuasca Ruling

As previously mentioned, I was an expert witness in the case, on the church’s side, so I’m biting my tongue and avoiding any public comment. Howard Friedman’s new Religion Clause blog looks as if it will be a good place to follow the case as it unfolds.

Author: Mark Kleiman

Professor of Public Policy at the NYU Marron Institute for Urban Management and editor of the Journal of Drug Policy Analysis. Teaches about the methods of policy analysis about drug abuse control and crime control policy, working out the implications of two principles: that swift and certain sanctions don't have to be severe to be effective, and that well-designed threats usually don't have to be carried out. Books: Drugs and Drug Policy: What Everyone Needs to Know (with Jonathan Caulkins and Angela Hawken) When Brute Force Fails: How to Have Less Crime and Less Punishment (Princeton, 2009; named one of the "books of the year" by The Economist Against Excess: Drug Policy for Results (Basic, 1993) Marijuana: Costs of Abuse, Costs of Control (Greenwood, 1989) UCLA Homepage Curriculum Vitae Contact: Markarkleiman-at-gmail.com