Religious Freedom and the Global Regulation of Ayahuasca  book cover
1st Edition

Religious Freedom and the Global Regulation of Ayahuasca

  • Available for pre-order on March 3, 2023. Item will ship after March 24, 2023
ISBN 9780367028756
March 24, 2023 Forthcoming by Routledge
288 Pages

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USD $160.00

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Book Description

This book offers a comprehensive view of the legal, political, and ethical challenges related to the global regulation of ayahuasca, bringing together an international and interdisciplinary group of scholars. Ayahuasca is a psychoactive brew containing DMT, which is a Schedule I substance under the United Nations Convention on Psychotropic Substances, and the legality of its ritual use has been interpreted differently throughout the world. The chapters in this volume reflect on the complex implications of the international expansion of ayahuasca, from health, spirituality, and human rights impacts on individuals, to legal and policy impacts on national governments. While freedom of religion is generally protected, this protection depends on the recognition of a religion’s legitimacy, and whether particular practices may be deemed a threat to public health, safety or morality. Through acomparative analysis of different contexts in North America, South America and Europe in which ayahuasca is consumed, the book investigates the conceptual, philosophical, and legal distinctions among the fields of shamanism, religion, and medicine. It will be particularly relevant to scholars with an interest in Indigenous religion and in religion and law.

Table of Contents

Introduction The Regulation of Ayahuasca and its Challenges: From the Global to the Local

Beatriz Caiuby Labate, Clancy Cavnar, & Henrique Fernandes Antunes

1 2021 Ayahuasca Vision: Legal Status of Ayahuasca in the United States

Sean T. McAllister

2 Church of the Holy Light of the Queen v. Mukasey: The Regulation of a Santo Daime Church in the State of Oregon

Henrique Fernandes Antunes

3 Intersecting Cultures: Exploring Ayahuasca’s Legal and Ethical Journey in Canada

Emma Garrod, Katrina Blommaert

4 Regulating Ayahuasca in the United Kingdom: Proactive Approaches

Charlotte Walsh

5 Santo Daime in Belgium and the Netherlands: Prejudice, Pluralism, and the Daunting Quest for Religious Freedom in Europe

Ben Meeus

6 The Landscapes of Ayahuasca in Contemporary France

Clara Novaes and Marie Rose Moro, Translated from French by Jo Ann Cahn

7 Ayahuasca and Freedom of Religion in Australia: Entheogens in a Post-Colonial Shadow

Amar Dhall, Torsten Wiedemann, & Manav Satija

8 A Genealogy of the Ayahuasca Cultural Heritage Registration Process in Brazil

Beatriz Caiuby Labate and Glauber Loures de Assis

9 "Authorization? That’s Outrageous:" Ayahuasca Environmental Legislation and Indigenous Populations in Brazil

Beatriz Caiuby Labate, Henrique Fernandes Antunes, Igor Fernandes Antunes

10 Debates on the Legality and Legitimacy of Yage in Colombia

Alhena Caicedo-Fernández

11 Ayahuasca in Uruguay: Legal Aspects and Public Debates on Drugs and Religion

Juan Scuro, Ismael Apud & Sebastián Torterola

12 Mystics or Criminals? "Cults," Religion, and Drugs

Massimo Introvigne

13 A Defense Expert Witness on Ayahuasca: An Interview with José Carlos Bouso

Beatriz Caiuby Labate

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Beatriz Caiuby Labate (Bia Labate) is a queer Brazilian anthropologist based in San Francisco. She has a Ph.D. in social anthropology from the University of Campinas (UNICAMP), Brazil. Her main areas of interest are the study of plant medicines, drug policy, shamanism, ritual, religion, and social justice. She is Executive Director of the Chacruna Institute for Psychedelic Plant Medicines and serves as Public Education and Culture Specialist at the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS). She is also Visiting Scholar at Naropa University’s Center for Psychedelic Studies and Advisor at the Synthesis Institute. Additionally, she is Diversity and Inclusion Chair at Veterans of War. Dr. Labate is a co-founder of the Interdisciplinary Group for Psychoactive Studies (NEIP) in Brazil and editor of its site since. She is author, co-author, and co-editor of twenty-five books, two special-edition journals, and several peer-reviewed articles (

Clancy Cavnar has a doctorate in clinical psychology (Psy.D.) from John F. Kennedy University in Pleasant Hill, CA. She currently works in private practice in San Francisco, and is Co-Founder and a member of the Board of Directors of the Chacruna Institute for Psychedelic Plant Medicines. She is also a research associate of the Interdisciplinary Group for Psychoactive Studies (NEIP). She combines an eclectic array of interests and activities as clinical psychologist, artist, and researcher. She has a master of fine arts in painting from the San Francisco Art Institute, a master’s in counseling from San Francisco State University, and she completed the Certificate in Psychedelic-Assisted Therapy program at the California Institute of Integral Studies (CIIS). She is author and co-author of articles in several peer-reviewed journals and co-editor, with Beatriz Caiuby Labate, of eleven books. For more information see: