Dear friends,

After a lengthy judicial process that eventually acquitted French daimistas for the use of Daime (ayahuasca) in their rituals, a law published on May 3rd in France definitively includes ayahuasca in the list of substances forbidden by the State in that country.

Another victory for the insane prohibitionist international movement.
See the text of the law and my commentary below.

May 3, 2005 JOURNAL OFFICIEL DE LA RÉPUBLIQUE FRANÇAISE – Texte 18 sur 138
DÉCRETS, ARRÊTÉS, CIRCULAIRES [Official Journal of the French Republic – Text 18 on 138 Decrees, Edicts, Circulars]

General Texts
Ministry of Solidarities, Health and Family

Edict of April 20, 2005 amending edict of February 22, 1990 establishing the list of substances classified as narcotics
NOR : SANP0521544A
The Minister of Solidarities, Health and Family,

Considering the Code of Public Health, notably the articles L. 5132-1, L. 5132-7, L. 5132-8, L. 5432-1, R. 5132-43 and following, notably the article R. 5132-74;Considering the Penal Code, notably the articles 222-34 to 222-43;
Considering the edict of February 22, 1990 modified fixing the list of substances classified as narcotics;
Considering the recommendation of the National Commission on Narcotics and Psychotropic substances given on December 16, 2004;
Concerning the proposal of the General Director of the French Agency for Sanitary Safety of Health Products given on March 23, 2005,

Decree:

Art. 1 – To annex IV of the edict of February 22, 1990 referred to above, include “Banisteriopsis caapi, Peganum harmala, Psychotria viridis, Diplopterys cabrerana, Mimosa hostilis, Banisteriopsis rusbyana, harmine, harmaline, tetrahydroharmine (THH), harmol, harmalol”.

Art. 2 – The General Director of Health and the General Director of the French Agency for Sanitary Safety of Health Products are charged, each within his or her competence, with the execution of the existing edict, which shall be published in the Official Journal of the French Republic.

Given in Paris, April 20, 2005.

On behalf of the minister and by delegation:

The General Director of Health,
D. HOUSSIN.

COMMENTARY
Some of the international judicial processes that awarded legal victory to the religious groups that use ayahuasca abroad had emphasized in the final verdicts that the brew “ayahuasca” (generally composed of Banisteriopsis caapi + Psychotria viridis or Diplopteris cabrerana) cannot be forbidden on the basis of containing DMT (present, among others, in the plants P. viridis, D. cabrerana and Mimosa hostilis, prime ingredient of the jurema brew). It was emphasized that ayahuasca (consumed orally in the form of a brew) cannot be confused with pure or synthetic DMT – the latter definitely prohibited.

While I am satisfied with the outcome of these judicial processes, I have always been pessimistic concerning this kind of reasoning, considering that it “gets it right for the wrong reasons”. The reasoning “ayahuasca is not DMT” does not depart from the perverse logic of juridical pharmacological prohibitionism. It is simply a matter of inserting ayahuasca in the list of forbidden substances to settle the matter. This is exactly what has happened with this new decree in France. In addition to representing an enormous regression, it opens up a dangerous international precedent – especially right now that Italian daimistas are on trial in Italy.

From now on, no use of ayahuasca (whether in Santo Daime rituals or by indigenous healers) is authorized in France. According to Claude Bauchet (claudebauchet@yahoo.fr), leader of the Santo Daime in France, there is a chance that the group may eventually challenge the decision. Let’s see how things develop.

Let’s join in every respect with the anti-prohibitionist movement, and not just concerning ayahuasca!

Cheers,
Bia Labate

Translation: Christian Frenopoulo

2 Comments

  1. Huasquero says:

    While the situation in France is reason enough to be worried, there may be a ray of sun in that case, it is this: the legalisation of the Santo Daime in Holland was allowed under the freedom of religion act, which means that other cases may still remain to be brought against the Santo Daime at a later date. In other words: although the Santo Daime won a battle in the struggle for legal recognition of their sacrament, by distinguishing their use of this entheogen calling it a religious sacrament the question of Ayahuascas status and legal classification still remains to be defined, together with that of other medicinal and entheogenic plants such as Marihuana. The Dutch case may have been a victory for the Dutch Santo Daime, but the French case points out the necessity of working together and combining our struggel with that for the legalisation of Marihuana, and calling for an end to the war on drugs which is causing terrible damage to people, environment, and entire nations!

    The French case is a wake-up call. Spirituality and politics are disciplines that are connected in many ways. We cannot allow ourselves the luxury of calling Santo Daime ‘merely’ a religious or spiritual movement. Our sacrament requires of us that we live what we learn, and that means we also have to drop-in to what is going on in society and actively engage the forces of ignorance that yearn to subdue and enslave us and keep us in the consumer mode.

    To all those who are interested in seriously challenging the prohibition I ask you to check out this document and send your comments so that it can become the charter with which we shall eventualy win our case: http://defenseofthemind.blogspot.com/

    Love light and peace

    Daniel Waterman
    waterman.design@wxs.nl

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