Prohibition, Religious Freedom, and Human Rights: Regulating Traditional Drug Use

Prohibition, Religious Freedom, and Human Rights: Regulating Traditional Drug Use

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This book addresses the use and regulation of traditional drugs such as peyote, ayahuasca, coca leaf, cannabis, khat and Salvia divinorum. The uses of these substances can often be found at the intersection of diverse areas of life, including politics, medicine, shamanism, religion, aesthetics, knowledge transmission, socialization, and celebration. The collection analyzes how some of these psychoactive plants have been progressively incorporated and regulated in developed Western societies by both national legislation and by the United Nations Drug Conventions. It focuses mainly, but not only, on the debates in court cases around the world involving the claim of religious use and the legal definitions of “religion.” It further touches upon issues of human rights and cognitive liberty as they relate to the consumption of drugs. While this collection emphasizes certain uses of psychoactive substances in different cultures and historical periods, it is also useful for thinking about the consumption of drugs in general in contemporary societies. The cultural and informal controls discussed here represent alternatives to the current merely prohibitionist policies, which are linked to the spread of illicit and violent markets. By addressing the disputes involved in the regulation of traditional drug use, this volume reflects on notions such as origin, place, authenticity, and tradition, thereby relating drug policy to broader social science debates.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9783662510407
Publisher: Springer Berlin Heidelberg
Publication date: 08/23/2016
Edition description: Softcover reprint of the original 1st ed. 2014
Pages: 254
Product dimensions: 6.10(w) x 9.25(h) x 0.02(d)

About the Author

Beatriz Caiuby Labatehas a Ph.D. in Social Anthropology from the State University of Campinas (UNICAMP), Brazil. Her main areas of interest are the study of psychoactive substances, drug policy, shamanism, ritual, and religion. She isVisiting Professor at the Drug Policy Program of the Center for Economic Research and Education (CIDE) in Aguascalientes, Mexico.She is alsoResearch Associate at the Institute of Medical Psychology, Heidelberg University,co-founder of the Nucleus for Interdisciplinary Studies of Psychoactives (NEIP), and editor of NEIP’s website ( is author, co-author, and co-editor of twelve books, one special-edition journal, and several peer-reviewed articles. For moreinformation, see:

Clancy Cavnar, Psy.D., is currently completing her postdoctoralhours in clinical psychology at the Marin Treatment Center, a methadone clinic in SanRafael,California.In 2011, she received a doctorate in clinical psychology(PsyD) from John F. Kennedy University in PleasantHill, California, witha dissertation on gay and lesbian people's experiences with ayahuasca. Sheattended NewCollege of the University of South Florida and completed anundergraduate degree in liberal arts in 1982. She attended the San Francisco Art Institute and graduatedwith a Master of Fine Art in painting in 1985. In 1993, shereceived a certificatein substance abuse counseling from the extension program of the University ofCalifornia atBerkeley and, in 1997, she graduated with a master's incounseling from San Francisco State University. In that sameyear, she got intouch with the Santo Daime in the USA, and has traveled several times toBrazil since then. She is Research Associate of the Nucleus for Interdisciplinary Studies of Psychoactives (NEIP), and co-editor, with Beatriz Caiuby Labate, of threebooks:The Therapeutic Use of Ayahuasca(Springer, 2014); Prohibition, Religious Freedom, and Human Rights: Regulating Traditional Drug Use (Springer, 2014) and Ayahuasca Shamanism in the Amazon and Beyond(Oxford UniversityPress,2014).

Table of Contents

Foreword: David Courtwright.- Introduction.- Human Rights and Drug Conventions: Searching for Humanitarian Reason in Drug Laws.-Coca in Debate: The Contradiction and Conflict between the UN Drug Conventions and the Real World.- Marijuana and Religious Freedom in the United States.- Peyote, Race, and Equal Protection in the United States.- From the Sacrilegious to the Sacramental: A Global Review of Rastafari Cannabis Case Law.- The Expansion of Brazilian Ayahuasca Religions: Law, Culture and Locality.- Framing the Chew: Narratives of Development, Drugs, and Danger with Regard to Khat (Catha Edulis).- Salvia divinorum, Hallucinogens, and the Determination of Medical Utility.- "Legalize Spiritual Discovery": The Trials of Dr. Timothy Leary.- Cannabis and the Psychedelics: Reviewing the UN Drug Conventions.- Beyond Religious Freedom: Psychedelics and Cognitive Liberty.- Fear and Loathing in Drugs Policy: Risk, Rights, and Approaches to Drug Policy and Practice.

What People are Saying About This

From the Publisher

"The meaning of drugs is changing, with the twentieth-century language of 'drug abuse' and policy of a 'war on drugs' breaking down. Global trade and the internet are eroding the regime of prohibition, and at the same time the resilience and recovery of traditional forms of drug use are pointing towards new strategies for the integration of drug use into modern societies. These vivid portraits of long-established drug cultures and their collisions with the blunt instrument of criminal law expose the contradictions of current drug politics and illuminate the alternatives." (Mike Jay, author, High Society: mind-altering drugs in history and culture)

"This informative and much-needed volume has a comparative and international perspective, focusing on the interaction of drug policies with human rights and religious freedom. The book covers controversies from around the world involving peyote, cannabis, ayahuasca, coca leaf, khat, and other drugs. It will be useful not only researchers and scholars in many disciplines, but also policy makers." (James T. Richardson, J.D., Ph.D, Foundation Professor of Sociology and Judicial Studies, University of Nevada, Reno)

"This fascinating interdisciplinary collection offers a timely contribution to the increasingly energetic debate on drug policy reform. Its focus on how traditional uses of certain psychotropic substances have become ‘controlled’ through inclusion within national and United Nations legal frameworks usefully highlights growing tensions between imposed, predominantly ‘Western’, norms and embedded cultural practices; a dynamic often played out in terms of religious use and human rights. Through examination of a range of substances and contexts, the authors ably demonstrate how a ‘one size fits all’ approach to dealing with drug consumption frequently generates a range of harms and make a compelling case for ‘more reasoned, humane and compassionate drug policies’. A thoughtful and provocative book, Prohibition, Religious Freedom and Human Rights: Regulating Traditional Drug Use deserves widespread attention." (Prof. David R Bewley-Taylor, Director, Global Drug Policy Observatory, Swansea University, UK and author International Drug Control: Consensus Fractured)

"This book is essential reading for anyone working at the blind intersection of religion, drugs, and modern culture. I welcome this new publication." (Richard Glen Boire, Attorney, RGB Law Group and co-creator of the term "cognitive liberty.)

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