Category: Uniao do Vegetal

Court Affirms Church Tea OK

A federal court has ruled for the third time that the Santa Fe-based affiliate of a Brazilian religious sect should get back the hallucinogenic tea its practitioners take as a sacrament. The U.S. 10th Circuit Court of Appeals in Denver ruled 8-5 for the small religious group, O Centro Espirita Beneficiente Uniao do Vegetal, or UDV, which has waged a 41/2-year legal battle for return of the tea. In a convoluted, lengthy and often esoteric discussion of legal issues, the appeals court upheld the ruling two years ago by Senior U.S. District Judge James A. Parker. Parker ordered federal authorities

Religious Group Wants Tea Back

Armed with a favorable decision from a federal appeals court, lawyers for members of a Brazilian religious group in Santa Fe are seeking the return of a hallucinogenic tea used as a sacrament. O Centro Espirita Beneficiente Uniao do Vegetal, or UDV, has now won legal victories twice — at the U.S. District Court in Albuquerque and at the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals in Denver — but still hasn’t managed to exact return of the tea, known as hoasca. The UDV, in a motion filed last week, is asking the appeals court to lift a stay imposed by the

Appeals Court Rules on Tea

A federal appeals court has decided that a New Mexico church’s use of hallucinogenic tea is likely to be protected under freedom of religion laws. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 10th Circuit upheld a preliminary injunction against the U.S. attorney general, Drug Enforcement Administration and other government agencies that sought to prohibit use of hoasca tea by Brazil’s O Centro Espirita Beneficiente Uniao do Vegetal church, whose U.S. operations are based in Santa Fe, N.M. The appeals court, in Denver, agreed with a lower court that the church has shown “substantial likelihood of success” in winning exemption for

Man faces drug charges over South American jungle vines

The Associated Press, Oct. 15, 2002 ATLANTA — A man from Peru faces federal drug charges for importing jungle vines and leaves that he planned to make into tea for a religious ceremony. Alan Thomas Shoemaker said he uses the Peruvian jungle vine ayahuasca and huambisa leaves to make a bitter, rust-colored tea that is part purgative and part-hallucinogen. South American shamans use the tea to heal the sick, bring contact with spirits and divine the future. Shoemaker said it’s part of a religious ritual that has been used for centuries by Amazon Indians. But federal prosecutors in Atlanta

Group Wins Hallucinogenic Tea Case

The Guardian, Aug. 24, 2002,1282,-1968043,00.html ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) – A federal judge has ruled that a Brazilian religious group that uses hallucinogenic tea in its ceremonies should get back a shipment of the substance seized by U.S. Customs agents. U.S. District Judge James Parker found that church members’ rights under the federal Religious Freedom Restoration Act were being violated by withholding the tea. Jeffrey Bronfman, president of O Centro Espirita Beneficiente Uniao do Vegetal, or UDV, sued the U.S. Department of Justice after the Customs Bureau and the Drug Enforcement Agency seized 30 gallons (114 liters) of hoasca tea

Federal Court Rules in Favor of Ayahuasca-using Church

Center for Cognitive Liberty and Ethics, Aug. 13, 2002 By Richard Glen Boire Members of the ayahuasca-using religious group known as the Uniao Do Vegetal (UDV), won a major legal victory on Monday (August 12, 2002), when a federal court ruled that the group’s use of ayahuasca was likely protected under the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA). Ayahuasca (also known as hoasca) is a visionary tea that serves as the sacrament of the UDV religion. In May 1999, US Customs agents seized several bottles of ayahuasca imported from Brazil for use by members of UDV’s US Branch headquartered in

Tea Might Be Ok’D For Religious Practice

Judge to make decision on hoasca in early September Source: The Santa Fe New Mexican Publication date: 2002-08-18 http://– BROKEN URL -/pages/newsreal/Story.nsp?story_id=32257486 A Santa Fe-based group might get permission to drink a hallucinogenic tea called hoasca. U.S. District Judge James Parker says he is leaning toward granting the group’s right to use the tea, based on the Religious Freedom Restoration Act. Parker last week issued a 61-page memorandum opinion and order in a lawsuit filed against the federal government and scheduled a Sept. 3 hearing to determine how to implement his order. Jeffrey Bronfman, a member of the Canadian

Sect leader sues U.S. government after hallucinogenic tea seized

A lawsuit between the U.S. government and a member of the wealthy Bronfman family hinges on an obscure Brazilian religion that worships spirits in plants and animals and encourages ritualistic vomiting. Jeffrey Bronfman, second cousin to Edgar Bronfman Jr. and grandnephew to dynasty founder Samuel Bronfman, heads a chapter of the Union of the Vegetable based in his home in Santa Fe, N.M. His group, with the unwieldy name of O Centro Espirita Beneficiente Uniao do Vegetal (Portuguese for the United Beneficent Spiritual Central of the Vegetable), is suing the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency for the return of a shipment

Seizure of hallucinogenic tea causes a stir

A hallucinogenic tea called hoasca that is used by members of a Brazil-based religious group has become the focus of a legal battle in New Mexico. Adherents of O Centro Espirita Beneficiente Uniao do Vegetal, or UDV (Portuguese for “union of the plants”) say the herbal brew of two plants is a central sacrament in their religious practice, which is a blend of Christian beliefs and traditions rooted in the Amazon basin. Jeffrey Bronfman, whose family owns a substantial interest in Seagram Co. Ltd., is president of the church in the United States. He contends federal authorities are unconstitutionally denying