Spiritual Psychedelics: Native American Church Requests Congressional Funds To Grow & Protect Peyote

Leaders of the Native American Church of North America (NACNA) recently met with several Congressional officials in the hope of directing federal funding toward supporting the preservation of the natural habitats of peyote for future generations.

As this Schedule I psychedelic has been historically used in religious contexts, the church is entitled to grow and use it, specifically under a 1994 amendment to the federal American Indian Religious Freedom Act (AIRFA.) 

Nonetheless, the supply of peyote is proving limited. Considering that each cactus has a 10-year maturation period in addition to climate change, NACNA church leaders and the National Congress of American Indians (NCAI) are asking for $5 million in funding from the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) or the Interior Department for conservation purposes.

Whether through USDA’s Conservation Reserve Program or the Interior’s Office Assistant Secretary for Indian Affairs, the funding would be used to reimburse landowners who make their property a protected habitat for the cacti.

Advocates are also requesting the creation of an advisory committee including tribal, state and federal representatives and private landowners to support that conservational goal.

On the other hand, NCAI has been discussing methods of promoting conservation for over a decade, including a 2009 motion towards establishing a working group for peyote access. 

In terms of broader psychedelics taskforces, on a federal level the US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) will begin studying the therapeutic potential of substances like psilocybin and MDMA, in view of an expected nationwide prescription use approval by 2024.

Photo by Caleb Fisher on Unsplash

Posted In: CannabisNewsPsychedelicsMarketsAmerican Indian Religious Freedom ActHHSNational Congress of American IndiansNative American Church of North Americapeyote

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