Recreational use of cannabis is legal in California, but retail dispensaries require a permit. Magic mushrooms are not legal at the state or federal level because they contain the Schedule I drugs, psilocin and psilocybin. In 2020, Oakland police raided Zide Door Church, taking away $200,000 worth of cannabis and mushrooms, Hodges told VICE News. He added that no arrests had been made and no one had been charged. (The herb is legal in California and Oakland actually decriminalized mushrooms in 2019, but it`s not legal to sell them.) On its website, Zide Door Church says it follows a non-denominational interfaith religion called the Church of Ambrosia. The Oakland church first opened in 2019 after Oakland passed a resolution that same year decriminalizing certain natural psychedelics, including mushrooms, and ordering law enforcement to stop investigating and prosecuting those who use the drugs. The decision does not authorize the commercial sale or manufacture of the equipment. A heavy, armed security guard provides access to the church through the main entrance on 10th Street, located behind a row of densely rooted palm trees. Behind the cabinet door there is a metal detector and also a small room where adhesion is checked.
Hodges said he was actively working with a lawyer to create a legal case against OPD because the department violated religious freedom laws. He now views the raid and ongoing legal challenge as unfortunate but necessary steps in a longer-term effort to protect the Church and its practices. Jenna Greene writes about legal business and culture and takes a comprehensive look at trends in the profession, the faces behind business, and eccentric court dramas. A longtime columnist for the legal industry and high-profile litigation, she lives in Northern California. firstname.lastname@example.org The lawsuit paves the way for a lawsuit that tests the limits of religious freedom in a city that is expanding its access to controlled substances — though psychedelics are still illegal under federal and state law. Video footage of the raid shows nearly a dozen officers, some with unsheathed rifles, approaching the church gates. Surveillance video then shows Church security guards walking outside with their hands raised. Inside the church, firefighters use what looks like an electric saw to crash into a safe. Nevertheless, there is a preliminary question that the court must consider: is it really a genuine religion? Zide Door is not the first to claim a religious exception for the use or distribution of otherwise illegal substances.
Zide Door is one of the few places in the U.S. where people can buy mushrooms without being penalized or taxed by law, as long as they are joined, a process that involves completing an online questionnaire. Questions include: “Do you work for law enforcement or a government agency?” Members must also agree to accept entheogenic plants as part of religious integration. In California, recreational marijuana is legal and licensed businesses can sell it. In Oakland, elected officials voted unanimously in 2019 to effectively decriminalize certain natural hallucinogenic products, such as mushrooms, even if they can`t be sold. While it is still illegal under federal law to own these plants and sell them in Oakland, these crimes were classified in the resolution as “one of the lowest law enforcement priorities for the City of Oakland.” A ruling on the issue, however, could open a Pandora`s box of new legal issues, he said. The Oakland Police Department uses the fire department and jaws of life/tools to save someone from a car accident to illegally enter the church safe. Not only did they waste more than 20 officers` time, but they also wasted the time of firefighters who could otherwise save someone`s life with the same tools.
Shows you how ridiculous OPD is in this situation. What a great use of time and resources!? 🚔 +🚒= 😓 Some mushroom growers in Northern California complain that the Zide model has lowered the wholesale price of mushrooms. “It`s no longer a farmers` market,” an anonymous source told California Leaf. “It`s become a bit of a monopoly, and `the church` makes more money than any of the ranchers.” And, of course, legal dispensary operators are still quarreling with cannabis establishments that don`t have to pay the same hellish taxes. Join Hyphae and Pastor @davehemp tomorrow 8/20 at 5pm PST for our 2-part IG Live. We will discuss the recent raid on his church, the implications of the legal status of entheogens in Oakland in light of the raid, high doses, and much more. COME KNOCK ON THE DOOR! Tell a friend! Zide Door Church opened in early 2019 as a physical worship center for members of the Church of Ambrosia, “a non-denominational interfaith religious organization that supports the use and safe access” of certain natural psychedelics, according to its website. In the lawsuit, she described what she calls the “sacramental use” of cannabis, mushrooms and other hallucinogens to connect with “a higher consciousness, one`s own eternal souls, spiritual beings and God,” although the use of psychedelic mushrooms is not allowed locally.
The church, which says it has held “several hundred services” since it opened in February 2019, praises the use of entheogenic plants such as cannabis and mushrooms. This gives members “a direct connection to a higher consciousness, their own eternal souls, spiritual beings, and God,” according to their complaint, filed earlier this month in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California. The Oakland Police Department did not respond to a request for comment on the story. But after the 2020 raid, Oakland Police Capt. Rendell Wingate told CBS News that the department responded to a complaint from the Alameda County Health Department about an illegal business that was causing “respiratory health problems” to children nearby, and questioned the validity of the church because of its dual function as a mushroom pharmacy. The church, which preaches against non-religious alcohol and drug use, was founded in January 2019 in Oakland. He says he cannot legally practice his religious beliefs because Oakland`s municipal code requires a permit from the city to operate businesses and facilities, and because religious use of entheogenic plants, including cannabis, is not allowed under Oakland`s land use laws, according to the lawsuit.
In August 2020, church operations were disrupted when Oakland police officers broke into the building and seized about $200,000 worth of cannabis, psilocybin mushrooms and cash, claiming the facility operated more like an illegal pharmacy than a religious institution. No one has been arrested or charged, although the confiscated items were never returned, according to media reports. Surveillance video provided to the Times showed half a dozen officers, some armed with rifles, approaching the church gates. The security guards hired by the church come out with their hands raised. Several firefighters then burst into a church safe with an electric saw. Hodges made it clear that Zide Door never completely closed during the pandemic — the church remained a place where members can visit and buy mushrooms — but weekly public sermons were halted as a COVID precaution. But the church, which considers cannabis and psilocybin mushrooms a “sacrament,” has begun a new legal battle against the city of Oakland, linking local zoning laws to constitutional charges of religious discrimination. Hodges said the prosecution should hold the police department accountable for “illegal” raids on the church and that the city must respect its religious beliefs. In the complaint, the church claims the raid was a violation of its religious freedom because parishioners use the substances as a sacrament. “We`re at a crossroads right now,” added attorney Terry Gross. The San Francisco-based namesake of Gross & Belsky, a founding member of the Psychedelic Bar Association, predicts that psychedelics will eventually follow a very similar path toward cannabis legalization. “We have pretty tight security in the church, and that`s an unfortunate issue with Oakland; We are in an area where the crime rate is very high,” Hodges said.
“So what protects us and our members are armed guards at the front door who constantly make sure something happens. Ryan Munevar, campaign manager for Decriminalize California, told SFGate: “People have tried this with cannabis before, they start these churches, and it doesn`t really work. In the United States, people have the constitutional right to practice the religion of their choice – and thanks to the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, the government has no authority to determine whether that religion is “legitimate” or not. In addition, in 2004, Oakland also passed a local law called Measure Z, which made cannabis the lowest priority for law enforcement. Once membership is verified, members walk through an open space with about five royal blue benches found by Hodges on Craigslist. A mini-stage with a pulpit contains red, yellow and green candles with an ancient, tattered expression that says, “Preach every Sunday @ 4:20. Free joints for everyone during the sermon (everyone must smoke). Since the pandemic, Hodges said he has had only one personal sermon — in February — with about two dozen people.