Peeking Beyond Prohibition: Emerging Ayahuasca Policy Innovations

Press Release November 6, 2014
Media Contact

<p>Contact: Jag Davies, 212-613-8035 or Joshua Wickerham, 510-590-6961</p>

The traditional plant medicine ayahuasca, which has been used in its native Amazon for millennia, is blossoming in influence around the globe. Millions of people are seeking it out for religious and medical purposes, as well as for personal and professional growth.

But the future of ayahuasca policy is up in the air. Despite a favorable 2006 U.S. Supreme Court ruling allowing ayahuasca’s use by certain organized religions, it remains criminalized in the U.S. and many other countries. Meanwhile, many South American countries permit its use but are struggling to regulate its production and distribution in ways that ensure health and safety.

On one side is the prohibitionist model of some governments. On the other end of the spectrum is the lack of regulation in the Amazon. Yet in the middle area there’s a range of policy options that recognize traditional practices and that provide a framework for community self-governance.

How are governments responding? What can be done to protect access to ayahuasca and other plant medicines in ways that maximize freedom while ensuring safety?  Please join us to learn more.
What: A talk by Joshua Wickerham, executive director of the Ethnobotanical Stewardship Council, with opening remarks from DPA’s Jag Davies and Ethan Nadelmann
When: Tuesday, November 11, 2014, 6pm
Where: Drug Policy Alliance Headquarters: 131 W 33 St, 15th Fl, NYC

To attend, RSVP Jag Davies at [email protected].

The Ethnobotanical Stewardship Council (ESC) is a nonprofit organization dedicated to assuring the sustainable and safe use of traditional medicinal plants. The ESC’s flagship project is the Ayahuasca Dialogues. This process brings together thousands of stakeholders around the world to define safe and sustainable ayahuasca practices from the ground up. This post-prohibition, community self-regulation model aims to protect ayahuasca drinkers, recognize safe and sustainable ayahuasca ceremony sites abroad, and provide a body of evidence to counter prohibition. The ESC envisions a world where traditional plant medicine practitioners are recognized, respected, and empowered socially, economically, and legally.

A young woman holds a sign that says "End the Drug War."

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