Wednesday, October 14, 2009


Despite expectations that the US Department of Justice might be more enlightened under Obama than it was under Bush, and despite a series of court challenges where the Santo Daime has been found in every instance to be an authentic religion deserving the full rights of religious freedom, and despite countless studies demonstrating the religious and therapeutic properties of the church's sacramental tea, the government continues to view it as a drug and has announced its intention to appeal the court victory that recently set Santo Daime free in Oregon.

The US Santo Daime lawyer Roy Haber will be meeting with officials in the Department of Justice in Washington D.C on Thursday October 15, 2009 to discuss the government's ill-advised intention to appeal the recent judicial ruling that declared Santo Daime as a free and fully legal religion in Oregon.

Jonathan Goldman who leads the Santo Daime church in Ashland, Oregon has sent out an alert saying:

"I am asking all brothers and sisters in the whole world to focus your prayer during the hour of 1 to 2 PM EST on Thursday. ... However you feel to join us - from your church, home, your work, your forest, your mountain top - I am positive that all of our prayers will be woven together by our guides and delivered to that conference room in Washington."

TV Interview with Jonathan Goldman

Jonathan also has a podcast with an in-depth discussion of Santo Daime's legal struggle in the US.

There's an excellent collection of documents here.

US District Judge Owen Panner's full ruling is at GREAT NEWS: Santo Daime is free.)


Anonymous said...

It was my understanding from earlier information, though, that if (when) this appeal was won by Santo Daime (a virtual certainty, the government has never won a case against an Ayahuasca church at any level) then the precedent set by the Oregon case would be extended to the whole jurisdiction of the Ninth Circuit Court (the appellate court) which includes California, Washington, Hawaii, and several other western states. Thus, the appeal could have been seen as good news, a blessing in disguise. Much quicker and much less expensive way for all these states to gain legality than to sue one by one, as happened with Oregon.

But this impression must be mistaken if the church is trying to prevent the appeal. Could you clarify this? Thank you.

Lou Gold said...

Indeed you raise an interesting possibility.

I'm not a lawyer and I'm not privy to the on-going negotiations but as they say "the devil is in the details."

Jonathan Goldman stated in his follow-up:

"The baseline is, we [Santo Daime]are free and there is no likely outcome, no matter how things proceed, that would find that freedom removed from us. Some possibilities are longer , more complicated, and way more expensive than others."

So it looks like it's a question of how, what and when. The government can throw a lot of restrictive obstacles in the way that would require further litigation. This is what they are now trying to avoid.