Ayahuasca Gains Unlikely Champion: A United States Senator

A Republican U.S. lawmaker who’s known as a super anti-drug administrator has apparently been assisting an Iowa church that wants to implement the psychedelic elixir ayahuasca into its rites.

Particularly, Senator  Chuck Grassley’s (R-IA) cabinet has tried to assist the church in uncovering answers regarding requests it applied for with the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) alongside the Internal Revenue Service (IRS).

The Iowaska Church of Healing has been attempting to no avail to gain a religious immunity from the Controlled Substances Act (CSA), which labels ayahuasca as criminal, and tax-exempt level from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). At this time, it is prosecuting against IRS over its refusals.

In a court filing last summer, the church revealed that Grassley has been loaning a hand as it has battled for the immunities.

For instance, after being refused an IRS tax exemption and applying for an appeal, that request “flagged with no reply from Defendant until Plaintiff enrolled the assistance of United States Senator Charles Grassley’s post to prioritize the appeals process and an appeals hearing was held on April 1, 2021,” the listing expresses. The appeal was then denied in June 2021.

Individually,  in 2019 the Iowaska Church of Healing dispatched a petition to DEA regarding an exemption under CSA connected to its ceremonious application of ayahuasca.

“Plaintiff has obtained no substantive reply from the DEA with regard to the filing despite countless pleas for a reply, including a follow-up investigation by the United States Senator Charles Grassley’s post” the complaint displays.

IRS declined to comment when a news outlet known as KCCI-TV got involved

The magic brew-friendly church expressed it has not included the hallucinogen in its courtesies since 2019 after the Tax Boys replied to an information concern expressing that the activity was labeled illegal.

“The intended nature of Plaintiff is to utilize a spiritual church in one or more known locations that conduct regular worship services using the Sacrament of Ayahuasca,” the filing says. “These rites also involve blessings, devotion, smudging, and spiritual melodies. Plaintiff will also use various scholastic and assignment groups, and enact an outreach program developed to grant relief services to veterans of the United States Armed Services at little-to-no cost.”

The Senator’s involvement in the church’s injunctions doesn’t initially signal that he’s supportive of the use of the magic brew in a spiritual connotation, but his readiness to intercede is noteworthy on its own due to his reputation as one of the Senate’s leading drug czars of the 21st century.

The former Senate Judiciary Committee lead appeared to have a special interest in statutory immunities comparable to controlled substances, nevertheless, even if he’s privately against the use of drugs like the magic brew.

Back in 2021, for instance, a cannabis activist in his home state posted to Grassley regarding the DEA’s refusal of a request for statutory immunities for Iowa’s medicinal cannabis program despite having labeled an exception for peyote buttons (mescaline) when employed in religious rites associated with the Native American Church.

“Iowa requires an exemption for cannabis just like the one the [Alphabet Boys] currently maintains for [mescaline],” the cannabis and peyote activist corresponded to the Iowa lawmaker.

Grassley’s headquarters mailed a reply shortly thereafter, expressing he will “follow-up with the DEA regarding the point about an immunity for cannabis via 21 C.F.R. § 1307.03 and seek additional clarification for [the Native American Church].”

The Senate unanimously backed an earlier version of that bill last year, but it was not been risen up by the House of Representatives by the end of the legislative session.

We will keep you posted on what Iowa has to say about the mystifying brew.

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