People Are Converting To Native American Religions So They Can Get High
In the United States, marijuana laws are complicated, to say the least. Depending on which state you live in, the legality of weed lies anywhere on the wide spectrum between like totally legal and 20 to life for carrying suspiciously bagged oregano. And because of contradicting federal laws, you’re never 100 percent safe. Not even with a prescription. Not even in a legal state. Not ever.
Unless you have a note from your shaman.
In 2014, the U.S. government officially recognized that drugs such as cannabis and peyote are important to Native American ritual practices, and granted significant leeway for Native groups to buy, sell, and use such substances. But more importantly for dreadlocked white dudes, the laws are legal on the grounds of religious freedom, so it doesn’t require you to be genetically Native American — just a member of their religion. So dealers and dispensaries have been rebranding themselves as “churches” in order to exploit the loophole.
It all started back in 1997, when an ex-Mormon from Utah named James Mooney registered his peyote-dealing operation as the Oklevueha Native American Church — the white stoner’s Peyote Church. The police, seeing that Mooney was about as Native American as chicken carbonara, threw his ass in jail. But after a very successful and lucrative religious discrimination lawsuit, a free Mooney went about setting up the new “churches” around the country. He even successfully lobbied to expand the range of acceptable drug use to include a hallucinogenic tea called ayahuasca and cannabis, which is about as native to America as the name “James Mooney” is.
As you can probably imagine, bona fide Native Americans aren’t too happy about this situation. In 2016, the National Council of Native American Churches gave a statement clarifying that they condemn non-natives pretending to convert to their religion just to get high. But their new stoner flock has promised to not only use their new religion to sell weed, but also dutifully spread the Good Word of … they’ll get around to figuring that out eventually.