The Legalization Process
Madrinha Jessica Rochester (Founder)
Until September 2000, Céu do Montréal imported the Santo Daime sacrament through Canadian Customs, with the appropriate agricultural documents. At that time a shipment of the Santo Daime sacrament for our Centre was intercepted by Canada Customs and given to the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP, the Federal Police) for investigation and analysis. Upon explaining that the tea is a sacrament used only for religious purposes, I was informed that an exemption was required to be able to import the sacrament in the future, as the tea contained controlled substances, DMT and harmala alkaloids. It is important to note that the RCMP was extremely respectful throughout the investigation.
In April, 2001, having hired a lawyer to represent us and done the necessary research for the application, our Centre applied to Health Canada, the Department of Controlled Substances, for an exemption under section 56 of the Controlled Drugs and Substances Acts, for the importation, transportation, and administration of the sacrament. Five years of research and investigation followed, and in July, 2006 I was informed that the evaluation of our request had been concluded and that we were granted an exemption, in principle, pending Brazilian export permission. Again, it is important to note that throughout this period, the government officials working on our file have been and continue to be, entirely respectful towards the Santo Daime and our request.
The request for Brazilian export permission revealed the complexity of the situation; Brazil has no policy on export, and many factors needed to be examined, including existing Brazilian national regulations as well as international laws and policies.
In 2009, based on the evidence of Brazil permitting the export of Ayahuasca – for religious use only – to nations that had been granted import permission based on court cases, such as the United States (UDV) as well as Holland and Spain (Santo Daime), I initiated a request for Health Canada to research and consider the question of Canadian import permission. We continue to be willing to work together with the government to develop fair and responable regulations regarding our sacrement and the practice of our religion. Ceu do Montreal is committed to obtaining the legal right to practice the Santo Daime in Canada and to the vision of sound, ethical organization, practicing within the regulations of Brazil and Canada.
Céu do Montréal acknowledges the many people in the Santo Daime community who donated financially towards the initial legal fees. We also wish to acknowledge our former lawyer Clayton Ruby for his expertise and Jeffrey Bronfman and Roy Haber for providing valuable advice and documentation.
Céu do Montréal still needs your help with our on-going case with the Government of Canada. Please donate to our legal fund.
For more information on regulations:
CONAD Recommendations : Ayahuasca, Entheogenic Education & Public Policy, Ken Tupper Ph.D. PDF