LEGAL TRACK I
A Climate for Change: ICEERS and the Challenges of the Globalization of Ayahuasca
Benjamin De Loenen (Presenter), Masters in Audiovisual Media Utrecht School of Arts, The Netherlands, International Center for Ethnobotanical Education, Research and Service (ICEERS), Barcelona & Ãscar ParÃ©s Franquero, Masterâs Degree in Drug Addiction University of Barcelona, International Center for Ethnobotanical Education, Research and Service (ICEERS), Barcelona.
While cannabis is currently spearheading a new course in addressing drug policy worldwide, other psychoactive plants, such as ayahuasca, have fallen prey to the intolerance and repression promoted by the United Nationsâ International Narcotics Control Board (INCB). An alarming increase in legal prosecution related to its use and importation has been observed in several countries. In Spain, especially, the scope of legal incidents shows that a true law fare was initiated around 2010. While scientific research and anthropological studies have contributed to a better understanding of ayahuascaâs context of use and itâs psychological and physiological effects, including its risks and therapeutic potentials, unethical practices, romanticization, or commercial opportunism has lead too often to adverse situations and harm. Dealing sensitively and efficiently with the serious challenges related to public policy, law, safety, and ethicsâ¯all of which interrelated â¯is essential to safeguard a constructive future for this ethnobotanical brew in modern society. This presentation shares the vision and experience of the International Center for Ethnobotanical Education, Research & Service (ICEERS), a charitable NGO founded in 2009 in the Netherlands, with offices in Barcelona and Uruguay, that works to address the obstacles that prevent ayahuasca from finding its place as a psychotherapeutic accelerant and personal development tool in modern times. The activities of our multidisciplinary team will be outlined, such as: support in legal defense (in Chile, Mexico, Europe, and with the INCB), public education and scientific debate (e.g., a report of the state of art of the biomedical literature on ayahuasca, and the Ibiza 2014 World Ayahuasca Conference), risk reduction (e.g., dissemination of practical information for those seeking an experience, and personalized educational services) and psychological support in cases of adverse events.
Keywords: Legal Prosecution, Public Policy, Law, Public Education, ICEERS
Viridis: an International Platform for Research and Policy Reform
Eli Sheiner, MSc Candidate, Division of Transcultural Psychiatry, McGill University & Timothy Nest, MSc Candidate at Division of Transcultural Psychiatry, McGill University, Canada
Despite its proven safety, its value as a therapeutic and spiritual tool, and its immense history of use, Ayahuasca and other plant medicines remain the target of prohibition due in great part to a poorly founded and stigmatizing association with illegal drugs, and drugs of abuse. Viridis is a registered non-profit which serves the end of policy reform for therapeutic and spiritual practices involving plant-based medicines. It is a collaborative platform for effective distribution of knowledge and resources surrounding policy and ethical issues. Churches and other groups seeking decriminalization of spiritual practices can apply through Viridis for representation on our website, where upon acceptance, they will be eligible for funding from international donors sympathetic to their legal struggle. Here we introduce Viridis, itâs short and long-term goals, and present preliminary findings from our international survey of Ayahuasca use. The survey employs World Health Orgainization promoted assays for analysing past trauma, anxiety, and addiction, as well as established Psychiatric measures and classic measures of mystical experience in order to probe the depths of international use of - and benefits related to - Ayahuasca, itâs commensurability with social and mental health, and itâs potential for treating substance abuse and buffering against relapse. This research helps to offer a clearer picture of the scale, variety, social benefits and potential pitfalls of Ayahuasca consumption worldwide. http://virid.is
Keywords: Viridis, Research, Policy, Ethics
Cognitive Freedom and Drug Policy Reform
Jonas Di Gregorio, degree in Philosophy University of Rome, co-founder of LibertÃ Cognitiva Association, Italy
This presentation aims at presenting:1. what is cognitive freedom; 2. how cognitive freedom has been restricted in the past, for example with the Index Librorum, the list of forbidden books that was not allowed to read, print or possess, and how it is restricted today, with the list of scheduled substances; 3. why restrictions of cognitive freedom are so difficult to be recognized compared with other form of individual
freedom; 4. what kind of argumentation can be raised in the public debate to spread awareness about the legal restriction to entheogenic exploration. The presentation will also focus: on the work that has been done by the Center of Cognitive Liberty& Ethics (CCLE), in particular by Richard Glen Boire, who produced very effective and valuable arguments about this subject; on how the new discoveries in the field of neuro-technologies are raising interest in the academic world creating a new field of research called âneuro-ethicsâ, that might potentially contribute to the recognition of the use of Ayahuasca and other psychedelic compounds. While for the general public the use of Ayahuasca can be the better understood as a therapeutical tool or as part of a religious activity, from a more general point of view itâs necessary to understand that both therapeutical and religious freedom are consequences of cognitive freedom and a full understanding of its implications canât be underestimated if we want to contribute to a radical and effective drug policy reform.
Keywords: Cognitive Freedom, Drug Policy Reform, Neuro-Ethics, Human Rights
Ayahuasca in the English Courts: Legal Entanglements with the Jungle Vine
Charlotte Walsh, LLB, MPhil, School of Law, University of Leicester, England
This paper considers the somewhat hazy legal status of ayahuasca in England through a consideration of relevant international provisions, domestic legislation and case law, drawing parallels with other psychedelic substances. The central issue is that whilst DMT is scheduled as a Class A drug under the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971, the plants that are combined to constitute ayahuasca are not. It also explores whether prosecutions for drinking ayahuasca could be considered to be a breach of human rights: namely, the rights to religious freedom, to self-medicate, and to freedom of thought, also known as cognitive liberty. These rights are ostensibly protected under the European Convention on Human Rights through the Article 8 right to privacy and the Article 9 right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion.
Keywords: Plant Psychedelics, Legal Uncertainty, Sacramental Freedom, Cognitive Liberty, Incitement
Legal Uncertainty: Ayahuasca in the British courts
Jonathan Hobbs, graduate of Imperial College London, University College London and Cambridge University
Introduction: The current legal situation of ayahuasca in the UK is almost impenetrable, especially in light of recent court cases and appeals. Unlike in other European countries such as Spain, Switzerland and the Netherlands, its exact status is impossible to determine with any precision, even with reference to existing case law and legislation. Methods and Results: The research involves a close study of both reported and unreported proceedings in the British courts regarding ayahuasca and other plant psychedelics. It includes the discussion of a variety of legal texts as well as addition information gleaned from personal communication with defendants, lawyers and other actors in several relevant cases. Results: By examining all these sources, I aim to clarify why the legality of ayahuasca is so difficult to pinpoint in the UK as well as the reflexive implications of this complexity on determining the outcome of future cases. Conclusions and Possible Derived Lines of Research:
Despite binding judgements from the appellate courts, recent events mean that the uncertainty is still no closer to any meaningful resolution. This paper identifies the most important legal points in the current debate. In this way, I am able to identify troubling trends in the strategies used in plant psychedelic prosecutions, as well as give a realistic summary of the challenges to both ayahuasca users and jurisprudence scholars.
Keywords: Law, UK, Ayahuasca, DMT, Psychedelics
Recent Judgements on Ayahuasca Within the Spanish Criminal Jurisdiction
Roberto Castro RodrÃguez, attorney in Barcelona graduated from the University of Barcelona, specializing in drug trafficking offences
In the last few years in Spain there have been a large number of arrests of people accused of an âoffence against public healthâ for importing Ayahuasca by mail or courier or carrying it when crossing the Spanish border and being intercepted at the airport.
In many cases, the criminal proceedings have been closed. Other cases have gone to trial, with the person having to face the State Prosecutorâs demand of three to six yearsâ imprisonment.
We will make an analysis and evaluation of these judicial decisions and, in particular, of the judgements that define the legal status of Ayahuasca in Spain.
Keywords: Ayahuasca, Trial, Spain, Prison, Public Health
LEGAL TRACK II
La DisrupciÃ³n de lo Ceremonial, lo Coercitivo en la Salud (Lectura)
GerÃ³nimo Tejedor Arvigo Luego, Lic. en PsicologÃa, Argentina
A mediados del aÃ±o 2011 en el valle de Punilla, CÃ³rdoba Argentina se realizÃ³ un brutal allanamiento policial a una Ceremonia Tradicional de Ayahuasca. Se hicieron presentes alrededor de 50 policÃas de distintos departamentos y brutalmente interrumpieron, rompieron una ancestral labor terapÃ©utica. Lo que se construÃa desde hacÃa tiempo de manera conjunta a los tratamientos de personas dolientes, que se encuentran enclavadas en la desdicha posmodernista, fue roto. Pacientes dependientes a sustancias altamente tÃ³xicas quedaron sin acceso a una posibilidad de reconstrucciÃ³n de su vida. Durante el allanamiento policial hubo maltrato fÃsico y psicolÃ³gico sobre varios de los presentes. Se quedaron 5 horas, se llevaron una botella de Ayahuasca y nadie fuÃ© detenido. A las 48hs de lo acontecido estÃ¡bamos en un centenar de medios grÃ¡ficos, radiales, televisivos y webs. La versiÃ³n difundida de lo sucedido fue completamente descontextuada, altamente amarillista y revista por una mirada policial, xenÃ³foba y altamente daÃ±ina. Nuestro desconcierto e inestabilidad en el momento de lo sucedido hizo que busquemos asesoramiento legal. En un primer momento nos recomendaron no difundir ni defendernos en los medios. Transcurrido un mes recibÃ la imputaciÃ³n de Suministro a tÃtulo oneroso de estupefacientes. La causa judicial avanzÃ³ un poco al principio pero luego quedo parada. Mi labor terapÃ©utica en el campo de las Plantas Maestras se ha visto interrumpida hasta el dÃa de hoy. Actualmente me encuentro en la encrucijada de esperar varios aÃ±os a que la causa judicial se archive y apagar mi labor o bien reactivarla con todo lo que ello implica. Ambas situaciones tienen riesgos e incertidumbres. MÃ¡s para unos y menos para otros. En el aÃ±o 2013 estallÃ³ un escÃ¡ndalo mediÃ¡tico en el epicentro de la policÃa de drogas de CÃ³rdoba, La Narcopolicia. Fueron removidos varios funcionarios y los mas altos mandos de la fuerza. Varios se encuentran hoy procesados dentro de la cÃ¡rcel. La realidad me mostrÃ³ en carne que aquel que se forma concienzudamente y de manera seria en el estudio de la etnomedicina ingresa en un campo donde el desamparo es un rey sin capa ni espada y la clandestinidad un acecho diario.
Palabras clave: Ayahuasca, Adicciones, Legal, Salud, Allanamiento
Libertad de Consciencia, Libertad de Culto y Salud PÃºblica. El Caso de las Iglesias Ayahuasqueras
Javier Esteban, Dr. Derecho- MÃ¡ster en PsicoanÃ¡lisis
La relaciÃ³n entre ebriedad, estados modificados de consciencia y cultos es tan antigua como la misma religiÃ³n. El empleo eucarÃstico de algunas sustancias ha sobrevivido en culturas amerindias, dando lugar a fenÃ³menos de sincretismo religioso con las iglesias colonizadoras, que ahora retornan a sus respectivas metrÃ³polis. La existencia de estos cultos sincrÃ©ticos y su reapariciÃ³n en Occidente plantea cuestiones morales y legales universales que ya han sido resueltas en otros ordenamientos. Estos mismos cultos han recibido protecciÃ³n constitucional por parte de la Corte Suprema de los Estados Unidos, paÃs pionero en la lucha contra las drogas. Otros paÃses como Brasil u Holanda han establecido acuerdos que permiten a estas iglesias realizar los sacramentos con ayahuasca. La peticiÃ³n de protecciÃ³n constitucional se estÃ¡ realizando en estos momentos en Francia, Portugal y el Reino Unido.
La cuestiÃ³n que nos convoca forma parte de un actual debate global sobre la libertad de conciencia, la libertad religiosa y la salud pÃºblica. Por primera vez en EspaÃ±a, desde la aprobaciÃ³n de la ConstituciÃ³n de 1978, dos entidades religiosas legalmente constituidas se enfrentan con una continuada serie de actos administrativos y jurÃdicos que impiden la realizaciÃ³n de su liturgia. La causa de estos impedimentos y prohibiciones reside en el uso que estas iglesias hacen del brebaje alucinÃ³geno alegal llamado ayahuasca, empleado como vehÃculo de aproximaciÃ³n a la divinidad en sus sacramentos. Estos hechos suponen un verdadero reto para nuestro ordenamiento y para nuestras autoridades, que reaccionan impidiendo el uso de este preparado, invocando para ello la necesidad de proteger la salud pÃºblica. En esta investigaciÃ³n trataremos de aclarar si el derecho de libertad religiosa y la libertad de consciencia debe prevalecer sobre un posible riesgo para la salud de los participantes en estos cultos, y si este riesgo puede ser considerado, desde la hermenÃ©utica constitucional y el Derecho Penal, un riesgo para el orden pÃºblico.
Palabras Clave: Consciencia, libertad, salud pÃºblica, culto, ayahuasca.
Legal Status of Religious use Ayahuasca: How to Continue to Defeat Government Persecution
Roy S. Haber, J.D., Roy S. Haber PC Attorney at Law
In 2008, a federal district court in the United States issued the first and only permanent injunction ever in the United States ordering the Attorney General of the United States to cease âprohibiting the Santo Daime from importation, storage, distribution and use of the Daime Tea for religious ceremonies.â Roy Haber will discuss his representing the Santo Daime for 15 years and how he navigated this case to victory. He is currently representing several of the more prominent Peruvian Shamans and American maestros in an attempt to protect their âchurchesâ from government intrusion. Dennis Mckenna, Luis Eduard Luna and others who are present here are part of the team that defeated the United States despite its vast resources. The Ayahusca Conference 2014 Agenda reveals presentations by experts in ethnobotany, anthropology, pharmacology, drug policy and psychiatry to name a few. Haber will discuss how best to use the existing science to prevail in Court. The governmentsÊ¼ scientific and drug policy presentations were flawed. Why then is it not free in more places. Briefly discuss the Inquisition as the cause of its being illegal which led to drug control laws and huge agenciesand institutions that spend billions of dollars on the war on drugs. We have cracked open the DEAÊ¼s illusory justifications for continuing the myth that the Mother Plant is dangerous to public health. My job has been to make this all very real to an Anglo judge with myopic views on religion. We have learned how to expose the bad guys unreliable scientific opinions and emphasize the righteousness of this cause.Will discuss the Religious Freedom Restoration act that puts the burden on the government to prove that the tea is likely to cause public health risks. Discuss how to use the correct rhetoric when providing scientific opinions about the Mother plant. Discuss acceptable risk. Risk is very important to scientific human health studies. Will focus on how experts should discuss the absence of risk data of any short of long term ill health effects. Will discuss up to the minute activities going on with the DEA and where the agency seems to be placing its emphasis and current strategy. There is a new legal paradigm that we are developing which transmutes science, law, and religion into a weapon for elevating the spiritual and human condition on the planet.
Keywords: Religious Freedom, Law, Science, Human Right
Scheduling in the International Drug Control System
Pien Metaal, Project Coordinator Transnational Institute (TNI)
This session Pien Metaal will present a recent discussion paper on substance scheduling publised by TNI, called âScheduling in the international drug control systemâ (http://www.druglawreform.info/images/stories/documents/dlr25.pdf). The paper argues that while often viewed as an obscure technical issue, the problem of scheduling lies at the core of the functioning of the international drug control system. Scheduling â the classification of a substance within a graded system of controls and restrictions, or 'schedules' â must take place in order for a substance to be included in the international control framework, and determines the type and intensity of controls to be applied. For this reason, the topic is of central importance. In the case of Ayahuasca, the past few yearsâs attempts to challenge its legal status have appeared, seemingly part of a broader âscheduling panicâ that emerged around new forms of drugs and intoxicants in the shape of New Psychoactive Substances (NPS). The situation around Ahyahuasca resembles more the situation of Khat, which proofs an interesting case for comparison.
Ayahuasca and the Drug Policy Reform Movement
Ethan Nadelmann, Executive Director Drug Policy Alliance
Most of the work that I and my colleagues at the Drug Policy Alliance do focuses in three areas: ending marijuana prohibition, treating drug use and addiction as health issues, and generally reducing the overall role of criminalization and the criminal justice system in drug control while protecting public safety and health. So why did I choose to come to an ayahuasca conference? Come find out!