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KEVIN FEENEY, J.D., Washington State University
“Ayahuasca & Law: International Perspective”
Religions have established a global presence; as a result, many nations are faced with the predicament of balancing the interests of these religious minorities with the international “war on drugs.” On the international stage, three prominent regulatory themes have emerged in response to the expansion of ayahuasca religions. The first concerns the scope of international treaties regarding plant-based psychoactive substances. The second concerns the scope of religious liberty and the problem of determining religious legitimacy. The final theme addresses the potential dangers of ayahuasca to health and public safety. Each of these themes will be explored using a variety of legal cases from Europe and the U.S. in order to illustrate the variety of legal outcomes, the reasoning behind these different legal decisions, and to discuss potential legal trends regarding religious use of ayahuasca in an international context.
Kevin Feeney, J.D., M.A., received his law degree from the University of Oregon in 2005, and is currently pursuing a PhD in Anthropology at Washington State University, where he is studying the religious use of psychoactive plants. His research interests include the study of folkloric and archaeological evidence for traditional uses of psychoactive mushrooms, and examining legal and regulatory issues surrounding the modern religious and cultural use of psychoactive substances, with an emphasis on ayahuasca and peyote. He is co-author, with Richard Glen Boire, of Medical Marijuana Law (2007).