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Adèle van der Plas - Ayahuasca Under National and International Law: The Dutch Santo Daime Cases


Ayahuasca Under National and International Law: The Dutch Santo Daime Cases
by Adèle van der Plas, LL.D.

The Dutch Supreme Court chose a far more restrictive drug policy on mushrooms and other psychoactive natural substances than the Convention ever required. The same happened in the United States. The French Minister of Health even extended the list of substances classified as narcotics with the plants of which ayahuasca and jurema are brewed. Recently arrests took place of leaders of the British Santo Daime churches because of importing their sacrament ayahuasca from Brazil. In the legal battles that followed in various Western countries, so far only the Santo Daime churches and the União do Vegetal have been able to successfully fight the diverse criminal accusations, by relying on their fundamental right to freely manifest their religion. The Amsterdam district court in 2001 was the first one that recognized the fundamental right of the Santo Daime churches to use their holy sacrament ayahuasca during their rituals. It considered the prosecution of the churches for possession or delivery of this ayahuasca in violation of the principle of freedom to express someone’s belief which right is protected by the European Convention on Human Rights.
The Mind Altering Science conference was organized by The OPEN Foundation on 23 and 24 October 2010 at the University of Amsterdam. With researchers and therapists from a wide variety of academic disciplines, this event was dedicated to the exploration of a broad range of subjects. From addiction treatment to psychotherapy with the aid of psychedelics, from the neurobiology of ayahuasca to the social, ritual and legal implications of its use, and from human psychopharmacology research and the exploration of exceptional mind states to new views on the legalization of psychedelic substances.
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