Principle case on the right to import and make use of ayahuasca for religious purposes.

We represent the organisation Nordens Céu Sagrado, Mester Fernandos Center for Meditation og Videnskab in a case against the Danish Ministry of Health on the right of the organisation to import and make use of ayahuasca for religious purposes.

Ayahusca contains the psycadelic compound DMT, and is, as a result hereof, on the list of drugs that are illegal to import into Denmark.

The organisation has applied for dispensation to import ayahuasca for the members´religious ceremonies, but has been denied dispensation by the Danish Ministry of Health. The rejection is based on the argument that DMT can lead to substance abuse problems and addiiction and can have damaging effects.

We claim on behalf of our client that they have the right to import ayahuasca and use it for their ceremonies, and that a ban hereon is a violation of their right to practice their religion.

The crux of the matter, i.e., striking a balance between the right of members of a religious organisation to practice their religion and the right of the Danish State to prohibit the import of a specific substance for the protection of public health, is at the core of Article 9 of the European Convention of Human Rights.

A similar case has been tried in the Netherlands,  with the result that a national ban on importing ayahuasca was determined to violate a member of a religious organisation´s right to practice her religion.

No similar case has been tried in Denmark until now. As such, the case is principle and may have a decisive impact on the right to import and make use of ayahuasca for religious purposes in Denmark.

--oooOooo---

Attorney at law Bjørn Dilou Jacobsen specializes in human rights law. For more information about this article and human rights law issues in general contact Bjørn Dilou Jacobsen.