Society for the Anthropology of Religion Spring Meeting “The Re-Enchantment of the World?”
April 13-16, 2007
Wyndham Phoenix Hotel, Phoenix, Arizona
Panel: Psychoactive Substances: Law and ReligionCo-organizers: Alberto Groisman (UFSC) and Michael Winkelman (ASU)
Recently the Brazilian parliament approved a law permitting the”ritualistic-religious” use of psychoactive substances. The US Supreme Court also recently decided to uphold a preliminary injunction that assures to the Brazilian religion União do Vegetal the right to usea yahuasca for ceremonial-religious purposes.
These decisions are part of an increasing body of similar legal approaches to psychoactive substances use also made in recent years inthe Netherlands and Spain. They constitute legal responses to acontemporary phenomenon: the expansion of the ritual-religious use of ayahuasca, peyote, jurema, iboga and other psychoactive substances known as entheogens, hallucinogens or psych-integrators, classified as illicit substances in the national legislation of many countries.
These recognitions of ritual-religious use of psychoactive substancesas legitimate in South America, North America and Europe has relied on related knowledge and expertise concerning social, cultural, ethno-botanic, health and religious to making legal decisions. A few of a variety of themes and questions raised by these disputes include: issues regarding the definitions of religion and ritual for legislative purposes; “cultural defense” in religious related trials; cosmological/theological views confronting forensic discourse; social scientists’ expertise in lawsuits related to religious issues; internal or external process distinguishing unauthentic or illegal practices, among others.
The panel we are proposing aims primarily at addressing these issues within the context of established legal disputes, and to exchange theoretical, empirical and analytical basis for substantiating the diverse approaches that legal systems might take in dealing with the existence of these religions and their use of psychoactive substances.
Alberto Groisman, PhD
Departamento de Antropologia
Universidade Federal de Santa Catarina
Visitor Scholar – Arizona State University – U.S.A. – 2006
Fax: (55) 48 – 33319751
Tel: (55) 48 – 33319714
==We are all prisoners of our minds. This realization is the first stepon the journey to freedom.
— Ram Dass