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Florida Drug Defense Attorney > Blog > Drug Crime Defense > Is Ayahuasca Legal in Florida?

Is Ayahuasca Legal in Florida?


Ayahuasca is an entheogenic drink made by brewing the vines of the Banisteriopsis caapi plant with ingredients from the Psychotria viridis plant.  It has been a part of religious ceremonies among indigenous peoples in the Andes mountains of South America for centuries.  Like other naturally occurring entheogens such as peyote, psilocybin mushrooms, and Salvia divinorum, it has attracted the attention of modern-day spiritual seekers.  Even the medical establishment has begun investigating the usefulness of compounds found in entheogenic plants in treating mental illnesses such as post-traumatic stress disorder.  Synthetic drugs that produce similar effects to traditional entheogens, such as LSD, are controlled substances, and it is illegal for members of the general public to possess or sell them.  What about ayahuasca, though?  Is it a sacrament or drug?  It turns out that, in Florida, sometimes it is just a plant.  If you are facing criminal charges related to ayahuasca or other entheogens, contact a Florida drug crimes defense lawyer.

What Is Ayahuasca?

Ayahuasca is a brewed beverage that produces intense psychedelic effects, as well as vomiting.  In ayahuasca ceremonies in the United States, as well as those in South America that are open to non-indigenous tourists, participants consume ayahuasca in the presence of practitioners experienced in guiding them through the effects of ayahuasca safely.  At least one ayahuasca church, Soul Quest in Orlando, offers ayahuasca ceremonies in South Florida.

The compound in ayahuasca that causes its psychedelic effects is dimethyltryptamine (DMT), which comes from the P. viridis plant.  The monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs) in B. caapi make the human body receptive to the effects of DMT when the compound is ingested by mouth.

Florida Ayahuasca Laws

According to federal law, DMT is a schedule I controlled substance, which means that it is an illegal drug with no accepted medical uses.  B. caapi, by contrast, is just a harmless plant.  Therefore, growing B. caapi as an ornamental plant is perfectly legal.  Brewing ayahuasca, however, is illegal, and it can get you charged with possession of DMT.  As per a Supreme Court decision in 2006, the First Amendment right to freedom of religion requires that religious ceremonies involving ayahuasca be legal.  Therefore, churches belonging to the Uniao de Vegetal and Santo Daime religious movements may legally import the plants used as ingredients in ayahuasca, and they may brew the drink and administer it to participants in the ceremony.

In summary, if you want to consume ayahuasca legally in Florida, attend a ceremony conducted by a legally recognized ayahuasca church.  Do not attempt to obtain the ingredients and brew the ayahuasca at home.  As always, consult a lawyer if you are accused of possessing or distributing ayahuasca or its ingredients illegally.

Contact FL Drug Defense Group About Entheogenic Drug Possession Charges

What you see as a wholesome spiritual experience might count as illegal drug use under current laws.  A Florida drug offense lawyer can help you if you are facing charges related to entheogens.  Contact FL Drug Defense Group to discuss your case.




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