Legal issues surrounding Ayahuasca

The globalization of Ayahuasca: Harm reduction or benefit maximization?

This paper explores some of the philosophical and policy implications of contemporary ayahuasca use. It addresses the issue of the social construction of ayahuasca as a medicine, a sacrament and a “plant teacher.” Issues of harm reduction with respect to ayahuasca use are explored, but so too is the corollary notion of “benefit maximization.”

Representatives of the Cofán people issue a statement about Ayahuasca International

Representatives of the Cofán people have just published a statement about Alberto Varela and his organization: “Ayahuasca International.” For a number of years Varela had claimed to be the recipient of an authorization by the highest traditional authority of the Cofán people: Taita Querubín Queta Alvarado. The 4 page long text exposes how the private organization Ayahuasca International has illegitimately used the name of the Cofán taitas (shamans) from Colombia in order to gain credibility for their ayahuasca business activities, as shown in the following excerpt: “Mister Alberto José Varela has NEVER been given any instructions or training in the knowledge of the Sacred Medicine of Yage, neither has he EVER been authorised to carry it or use it in his international tours. This makes what is said in his alleged “authorisation” ABSOLUTELY FALSE.” Click here and download the original file in Spanish Click here to download the translation to english done by a certified legal translator ——————– Translation of the letter: The undersigned governor of the indigenous reservation Ukumari Kankhe, in use of his …

Representantes de pueblo Cofán emiten comunicado sobre Ayahuasca Internacional

Representantes del pueblo Cofán acaban de hacer público un pronunciamiento público acerca del señor Alberto Varela y la organización que preside, llamada “AYAHUASCA INTERNACIONAL” y una  supuesta “autorización” que Alberto Varela recibió por parte de la máxima autoridad tradicional del pueblo Cofán Querubín Queta Alvarado. El texto de cuatro páginas expone como la organización privada Ayahuasca Internacional ha utilizado de forma ilegítima el nombre de los taitas cofanes de Colombia para legitimar su actividad: “Por lo tanto al señor ALBERTO JOSÉ VARELA, NO se le ha dado instrucción o formación en el conocimiento de la Medicina Sagrada del YAGÉ. JAMÁS se le ha autorizado para su porte y uso en sus giras internacionales, razón por la cual lo que se afirma en la supuesta “autorización”, es completamente FALSO.” (extracto del texto) Sin duda, se trata de un texto implacable que responde con dureza ante lo que se percibe como una usurpación de la tradición y las costumbres ancestrales del pueblo Cofán. Para ver el documento completo pincha aquí. ———————————— COMUNICADO: El suscrito Gobernador del Resguardo …

Public Statement to the Ayahuasca Community

We offer our most heartfelt condolences for the Nolan family on the tragic loss of their son, Kyle. We, the undersigned, people who had direct experience with Shimbre, or have concern over what has transpired, believe Kyle was not given this medicine in a safe or supportive traditional environment. During the Shimbre ‘incident’ we believe this sacred medicine was administered by an irresponsible practitioner who did not follow the ancient traditional practice of staying with the seeker or student to insure physical and spiritual safety.

Ayahuasca: Beyond the Amazon – Risks and Challenges of a Spreading Tradition

By Stephen Trichter, Psy.D.

As the use of ayahuasca shifts to use outside of its original cultural context, we must examine how the spread of this healing practice can not only bring the benefits for which it was originally intended, but how its transfer into a new cultural framework potentially can also cause distress and harm.
(Painting by Augustin Lesage)

By Yvonne McGillivray

Entheogens & Existential Intelligence: The Use of “Plant Teachers” as Cognitive Tools

The use of entheogens such as ayahuasca is exemplary of the long and ongoing tradition in many cultures to employ psychoactives as tools that stimulate foundational types of understanding. That such substances are capable of stimulating profoundly transcendent experiences is evident from both the academic literature and anecdotal reports. This article attempts to present these concepts in such a way that the possibility of using entheogens as tools is taken seriously by those with an interest in new and transformative ideas in education.

Ayahuasca in the Supreme Court

By Steve Beyer
There has been a lot of confusion about the current legal status of ayahuasca in the United States since the Supreme Court decided the União do Vegetal case two years ago. This post attempts to shed some light on the subject in the context of earlier cases involving peyote, the Native American Church, and other claims of religious exemption from the Controlled Substances Act.