A congregation in New Mexico may use hallucinogenic tea as part of a four-hour ritual intended to connect with God, the Supreme Court ruled today, reports the Associated Press. In their first religious freedom decision under Chief Justice John Roberts, the court unanimously decided to keep the government out of religious practice. Federal drug agents should have been barred from confiscating the hoasca tea of the Brazil-based church, Roberts wrote.
The tea, containing an illegal drug known as DMT, is considered sacred to members of O Centro Espirita Beneficiente Uniao do Vegetal. Members believe they can understand God only by drinking the tea, which is consumed twice a month at four-hour ceremonies. Justice Samuel Alito did not take part in the case, which was argued last fall before Justice Sandra Day O’Connor’s retirement.