Zide Door Church of Entheogenic Plants in Oakland, California has filed a lawsuit against the city, claiming religious discrimination, according to Reuters.
What Happened: Police conducted a raid weeks ago after receiving an anonymous tip that the church was running an unregulated marijuana shop.
The church declined the claim, citing how the church’s marijuana is “collectively owned by the members.” All payments happening are just a way of reimbursing the church for its services, and do not represent a retail sale, the report continued.
Zide Door founder Dave Hodges said the police took $200,000 worth of marijuana and psilocybin mushroom products and $4,500 in cash.
According to his complaint, the police raid was unlawful and violated the plaintiff’s Fourth Amendment rights. Nevertheless, the focal point of the lawsuit is actually Oakland’s land use regulations.
The problem is that there are no locations zoned for the religious use of entheogenic plants, and permits are requiredd for all establishments in the city.
These rules impose a “substantial burden on the religious exercise of a person, including a religious assembly or institution,” the plaintiffs claim.
Psilocybin Primates: Zide Door follows a nondenominational, interfaith religion known as the Church of Ambrosia. The “foundation” is based on the so-called “Theory of Religious Evolution;” among the beliefs: primates ate psilocybin mushrooms, had spiritual visions and learned to communicate.
“Magic Mushrooms were the reason for the evolution of both abstract human communication and the concept of religion itself. Monkeys trying to explain god to each other,” the church website reveals.
Since its founding in 2019, the church claims to have held “several hundred religious services” and engaged in the use of marijuana and entheogenic plants like magic mushrooms.
Through these rituals, members are given “a direct connection with a higher consciousness, their own eternal souls, spiritual beings and God,” as per its complaint filed in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California.
The Oakland City Council approved a resolution in 2019 that confirms entheogenic plants “can catalyze profound experiences of personal and spiritual growth.”
Why It Matters: As psychedelics become more widely accepted, and more counties choose to decriminalize magic mushrooms and other entheogenic plants, it is likely that similar lawsuits would become more common, Reuters reported, citing sources.
Photo: Benzinga Edit; Sources: Courtesy of Gwoeii and Cannabis_Pic and nito by Shutterstock
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