Ayahuasca now banned in the Nederlands

A recent judgment of the Amsterdam court has been issued against members of the Santo Daime church, making Ayahuasca illegal in the Netherlands. Since now this country was known to have a very liberal approach towards psychedelics.

It turns out that the dimethyltryptamine (DMT) substance contained in Ayahuasca is already on the list of the Dutch opium law. This problem had already been discussed in court with members of the Santo Daime church using a brew similar to Ayahuasca the “Daime” for their religious rituals.

Like the United States, Santo Daime has been officially recognized as a religion by the Netherlands. Therefore the use of the drink “Daime” was allowed in the strict context of their religious rituals in accordance with the European Convention of Human Rights. Several charges had been filed against members of Santo Daime but resulted always in an acquittal.

This is an appeal procedure brought by the prosecutor at the Amsterdam court which will perhaps put an end to this “preferential regime”. By verdict of 28 February 2018 the Amsterdam court includes Ayahuasca with the DMT, and according to the opium law it is declared a threat to public health and society in general. This decision, which did not take religious considerations into account, seems largely motivated by the explosion of the use of Ayahuasca in the Netherlands in recent years.

A glimmer of hope

This case nevertheless seems far from closed. The defense appealed to the Supreme Court in The Hague. This case may even go to the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg. That gives back some hope and also give to Santo Daimes a little respite since the decision of the Supreme Court of the Hague ruling on the judgment of the Amsterdam court will only be issued within one or two years.

Meanwhile a team of experts will be formed to counter the current decision of the Amsterdam court. An important argument could be made against the recent attachment of Ayahuasca to DMT. The International Convention on Psychotropic Substances of 1971 outlawed dimethyltryptamine (DMT). But this does not apply to plants containing DMT. Therefore, preparations from such plants as Ayahuasca are not prohibited.

However, faced with the craze of Ayahuasca, cases will succeed and it’s a safe bet that the current “gray zone” in which is the Ayahuasca now can not survive as long as the absence of legal and therapeutic framework remains. In this regard, we invite you to consult our article on the latest researches on Ayahuasca and the project of its use in psychiatric institutions in Zurich.

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