Allison Hoots, Esq.
Best Practices for Legally Protecting Sincere Psychedelic Medicine Churches
Tuesday June 20, 2023 9:00am – 1:00pm MDT
Additional registration fee applies.
This workshop will give clarity and guidance on how sincere psychedelic churches may navigate the risks of and right to religious exercise with psychedelic sacrament by implementing best practices in response to shifts in the psychedelic landscape and applicable law, and how such shifts may impact the legal analysis of the right to the religious use of sacrament(s).
Existing precedent, recent DEA decisions, Homeland Security seizures of sacrament, and myths circulating about whether a psychedelic medicine church is “legal” have created confusion.
The workshop is presented through the lens of Chacruna’s Guide to RFRA and Best Practices for Psychedelic Plant Medicine Churches, the lead author of which is Allison Hoots, Esq. We will discuss the protections under federal law, like the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA), and state law, and how best practices, including procedures and corporate strategies, can strengthen claims and defenses under those laws.
We will explore the impact of the current psychedelic landscape – which includes decriminalization, the surge of churches using psychedelic sacraments, government seizures of sacrament, and medical use of psychedelics – on best practices and operations of psychedelic medicine churches, as well as how a psychedelic medicine church is evaluated in its right to religious exercise.
In addition, we will cover the legal definition of “religion” and whether spirituality is enough under the law; the risks and rewards of incorporation; applying for 501(c)(3) status when the IRS is clearly cognizant of and responding to churches’ using sacraments; the problems with acquiring insurance; and best practices to achieve the safety of participants and to prepare for defending against criminal prosecution or claiming an religious exemption from controlled substances laws.
Bia Labate, Ph.D.