The First Nations culture has long used the spineless cactus known as peyote (Lophophora williamsii) in rituals. Unless you are a member of the Native American Church, it is forbidden to grow or consume the plant in the United States. U.S. authorities believe the herb to be deadly, but First Nations people use it as a ceremony and a means of achieving both spiritual and personal enlightenment.
Although cultivating peyote is prohibited unless you are a NAC member, it is a fascinating plant with qualities that are worth understanding about. However, you can produce peyote plant clones at home that will sate your desire to grow this adorable little cactus without breaking the law.
Possession of a peyote cactus is legal.
According to HSC 11363, it is illegal to:
- dry, or
any member of the Lophophora williamsii genus, also known as peyote (a schedule I controlled substance).
Please be aware that under California’s possession of a controlled substance statute, simply possessing this psychedelic drug is illegal. Under HSC 11363, cultivating peyote is a more serious offense than simply possession. 2
Is it prohibited to own a peyote plant?
Peyote is a hallucinogenic plant that is used recreationally and also plays a significant role in several Native American religious rituals. Although cultivating peyote is a major criminal felony under California Health & Safety Code Section 11363 HSC, there may be some acceptable uses for the drug. If found guilty, the law may impose severe penalties.
The following requirements must be met in order to establish the defendant’s culpability of growing peyote:
- Peyote was grown, harvested, dried, or otherwise processed by the defendant (Lophophora)
- AND the defendant was aware that the plant in question, or a portion of it, was a peyote plant.
Peyote cultivation and usage are permitted under various state and federal laws for specific Native American religious rites, however California does not recognize this exception. Therefore, even if it is meant to be used for religious rites that are legal in other states, the growing of peyote is prohibited in California.
Is peyote accepted everywhere?
South Texas is regarded as “brush country” ecologically.
There are numerous prickly trees, shrubs, and palms there. Its humid environment makes it akin to some regions of Northern Mexico, and these two locations are the only ones where you can find peyotegenus Lophophorais, a little cactus that is unique to the Rio Grande Valley and has generated some controversy. Native American civilizations have been using it as a religious sacrament in ceremonies for ages. It includes the hallucinogenic chemical mescaline. However, selling it is prohibited in all states other than Texas, where it is grown.
In order to sell peyote in Texas, one must first register with the Texas Department of Public Safety and then the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration. Every year, they must renew their license and disclose the quantity of wild peyote they have harvested. Salvador Johnson is one of Texas’s four authorized peyote distributors at the moment.
“I’ll turn 72 in a little over three weeks. Johnson claims, “But I’m still harvesting peyote, so I’m still going strong, and I still feel youthful.
Johnson resides in Mirando City, a small village east of Laredo that has less than 200 residents. He has spent the majority of his life there. In 1966, the year Johnson received his high school diploma, he enlisted in the Air Force and was sent to Vietnam. He replicated his father’s actions when he returned home.
“My father had returned to Mirando and was still alive. For almost 18 years, he was a peyote dealer. I returned here and applied for my license before starting to sell peyote. Since then, I’ve been doing it, Johnson claims.
Distributors like Salvador Johnson are only permitted to distribute peyote to Native American Church members who have registered as members of their organization. Church members need to show proof of ancestry in order to purchase it.
You must be at least one-fourth [American] Indian to purchase peyote in the state of Texas or possess peyote in the state of Texas, according to Johnson. “The most important document for a person to have is what we call the Certificate of Indian Blood, because that will show you who you are, who your parents are, and your blood quarter.
People who fit these criteria travel to the Valley from all across the country to purchase peyote, or “medicine” as church members refer to it. One of them is James Flaming Eagle Mooney.
“I see it as a picture of God, symbolically speaking. According to Mooney, it is essentially a truth ceremony that reveals your identity and holiness.
Johnson has known Mooney for ten years.
She was formerly in charge of the Native American Church’s Oklevueha branch.
“I think there’s no other way for a certain group of people to approach God; this is the only method, in my opinion. Without this peyote, this religion could never survive, according to Mooney.
A tiny, spherical cactus, peyote. Although it lacks thorns, it has peculiar qualities that make it a particularly robust species. The root can gradually sprout a new button if you cut the so-called “button,” which is utilized in rituals. Even so, wild peyote use is declining. The International Union for Conservation of Nature said that over the last 20 years, there has been at least a 30% reduction.
Martin Terry, a professor of botany at Sul Ross State University in Alpine, claims that we are overharvesting the dwindling portion of the world that truly supports wild peyote.
Terry has spent thirty years researching peyote. He claims that because Texas forbids the production of peyote, overharvesting occurs.
“What is the rationale for this? Why can’t it be grown? You should definitely ask that question of any Texas lawmakers you come across in the near future, Terry advises.
Since the Spanish arrived on these shores, peyote users have been persecuted, and the Drug Enforcement Administration still does so now, according to Terry.
Members of the Native American Church like Mooney claim that these laws have been utilized to oppress their people.
People must realize that the law had to deal with peyote in the sense that it was a sacrament that the indigenous peoples of North and South America had constantly practiced since before the advent of written history, according to Mooney.
Peyote is classified by the DEA as a Schedule I controlled substance, the same as heroin or LSD. Distributors, consumers, and scientists like Terry, however, contend that it poses no significant health risks to people.
“People that use peyote ceremonially, say once a month or so, which is roughly how the ceremonies are spaced out, are completely safe as long as they utilize it correctly and in accordance with traditional methods. Despite this, Terry claims that governments still list it under Schedule I substances since there isn’t any proof that it has any negative consequences.
Peyote grows and is used in the Mexican state of San Luis Potos, where Johnson, the peyote distributor, has family ties. Selling it is something of a family tradition for him because he took over the company from his father and wants it to last after him.
“Either one of my daughters, my son, or my grandsons will most likely take over the company I have. But according to Johnson, it must come from the bottom of your heart.
When did peyote gain legal status?
The cactus known as peyote (Lophophora williamsii) contains mescaline, a hallucinogen (2-(3,4,5-trimethoxyphenyl)ethanamine). Although it is native to northern Mexico and the southern United States, it is grown all over the world. The peyote cactus is a flowering member of the Cactaceae family, which includes other fleshy, spiky plants usually found in dry areas. Only the youngest seedlings have spines. Peyote has a distinct cactus areole, which can be recognized by a tuft of hairs or trichomes on the stem and which typically produces flowers and spines. The plant’s heart is where the flowers appear. Slow-growing and irregularly flowering, the cactus eventually bears little edible pink fruits with bitter flavors and black seeds. It can take up to 30 years for a plant to reach golf ball size and begin to bloom in the wild. Growing from a seedling to an adult flowering plant takes less than three years for cultivated plants. The crown of the cactus, which rises above the ground, is made up of buttons that are chopped into discs and dried. Buttons can be chewed, used to make psychoactive tea by boiling them in water, or “baked” in a pressure cooker to create a tarry substance that can be turned into pills.
Native American societies have been using peyote in tribal rituals since 1000 BC. Spanish priest Bernardino de Sahagn documented the Aztecs’ use of peyote and psychedelic mushrooms in his writings in 1560. Hernandez, the scientist to Philip II of Spain, provided the first accurate botanical description of peyote in 1638. In 1887, Parke Davis and Company processed and sold dried peyote buttons. In 1903, Lumholtz discussed its application in the treatment of rheumatism, burns, wounds, and snakebite injuries. Additionally, it has been employed in the treatment of fever, scorpion stings, arrow wounds, toothaches, and “strength in walking.” More than a dozen states in the US had made it illegal to carry peyote by 1930, and the federal government outlawed the drug countrywide in 1967. The US Drug Enforcement Administration has classified peyote as a Schedule I restricted substance, making it unlawful for general use. However, the Native American Church has been specifically exempted from this rule for “bona fide traditional ceremonial reasons.”
In South Africa, is peyote legal?
Many young South Africans are experimenting with these natural highs. Naturally occurring hallucinogenic and narcotic plants have played a significant part in religious and cultural traditions throughout history.
These hallucinogenic plants are not prohibited under the Drugs and Drug Trafficking Act of 1992, unlike marijuana and the majority of lab-made narcotics. Salvia divinorum, Catha edulis, Trichocereus pachanoi (also known as the San Pedro cactus), Lophophora williamsi (also known as the peyote cactus), Sceletium tortuosum (also known as Bushman’s ecstasy), and (khat). The first two can be found at nurseries and specialty stores, while the other three are native to South Africa.
Iboga, a drug utilized in Yoruba rites in West Africa, is legal but not commonly accessible here. Even though the constituent parts of the Amazonian plant brew ayahuasca are legal, the finished product is classified as a narcotic. The Psilocybe (magic) mushroom’s spores are allowed to possess, but the fully developed fungus is illegal.
Users frequently utilize these drugs as a sort of psychotherapy or spiritual enlightenment. Simon Duke*, a twenty-something nursery owner from Johannesburg who also happens to be a self-described fan of psychoactive plants, is a veritable walking compendium of ethno-botanical knowledge. I became interested in eating plants when I was 12 years old, said Duke. Many people in the trance scene, New Age hippies, and other esoteric communities come to us looking for all-natural substitutes for synthetic chemicals.
John Kasbins*, one of Duke’s clients, claims to have a strong connection to and respect for the natural environment. I’d rather feel a connection to something I consume if it’s going to change who I am.
According to Kasbins, psychotropic plants should not be utilized for recreational purposes and should instead be regarded with respect. Since they have been used for so long, these plants have amassed a number of rituals and procedures that serve as a framework for the experience.
One day, Kasbins dreams of experimenting with these hallucinogens under the guidance of a shaman. He said that some South African villages had invited shamans from South America to perform peyote rites. They provide you with a lot of peyote and lead you on a spiritual journey of healing utilizing chanting, drumming, and other methods.
Another of Duke’s clients, Steven Kris*, said that individuals utilize these hallucinogens for self-discovery. Recreational users are tempting danger because careless use could lead to unpleasant experiences.
The psychoactive plants and fungi that are most frequently consumed in South Africa are:
Magic mushrooms, or Psilocybe semilanceata, can be found in Europe, Australia, and North America. Psilocybin and psilocin are the main hallucinogenic compounds found in it.
Mushroom spores are permissible to own and can be ordered online or from nurseries by mail order. However, it is against the law to possess psilocybe.
Due to their inability to consistently purchase mushrooms, Kris and a fellow student named Jack Moore* grow mushrooms at home. The cultivation of a harvest of mushrooms, which are afterwards dried for preservation, takes roughly a month, according to Kris. We only develop for our own benefit and the benefit of our friends.
He claimed that he now uses the fungus less frequently and prefers to save it for larger doses. In response to its effects, Moore stated that you experience a sense of being torn apart and attempting to put yourself back together. You get to examine each component and sort out the flaws. It’s like receiving personal counseling. Kris added: You can be honest with yourself.
Kasbins started with imported fungi in his experiments before moving on to naturally occurring mushrooms, which are up to ten times more potent.
He cautioned that natural hallucinogens frequently looked like dangerous substances. I once had a three-day bout of vomiting. I felt I was going to die because everything was so insane.
Salvia divinorum has been utilized in divinatory ceremonies by the Mazatec Indians of Mexico for generations. Salvinorin-A, the most potent naturally occurring hallucinogenic drug in the world, is its active component.
Except for Australia, it is allowed to purchase Salvia divinorum plants and leaves anywhere in the world.
In a calm, dark environment, the Salvia divinorum leaves are smoked or chewed. Hallucinations are believed to last 10 to 15 minutes, with minor side effects lasting 30 to 60 minutes. Users advise bringing a friend who isn’t participating.
Duke claimed that the substance caused an out of body experience that was completely unique. My dream state and awake state began to converge. They had no idea what I was talking about when I would phone individuals and carry on a conversation that we had started while I was traveling.
The Kiowa Indians traditionally employed the peyote plant, which grows between southern Texas and the Mexican state of San Luis Potosi, in ceremonies. They devour the top of the cactus, often known as a mescal button, while seated around a fire. The participants spend the entire night singing and drumming, and the next morning they talk about their dreams.
The benefits are felt between 30 minutes and an hour after consumption, with the majority of users chewing and swallowing four or five fresh or dried buttons.
Auras are also reported surrounding things by users, famously including Aldous Huxley, who claim to experience hallucinations of dazzling colors and patterns as well as religious tranquility and a sense of oneness with life.
- Until recently, not easily accessible in South Africa. Currently, a nursery in Johannesburg is selling the plant’s extract and leaves.
- For R100, 100mg sachets of an extract made from 40 times the weight of plant material are available.
- It costs between R250 and R350 to buy a five-year-old peyote cactus, but up to ten of them are needed to make one dose of mescaline, making it an expensive hallucinogen.
- According to legend, a metre of the San Pedro cactus can yield enough mescaline to treat four persons.
- In nurseries all around the nation, peyote and San Pedro cactus can both be found.
- The equipment and chemicals needed to extract mescaline from the cactus are inexpensive and readily available.
- Sections of the peyote or San Pedro cactus are prohibited from being owned as a whole.
- can be discovered spontaneously, however dealers sell them most frequently.
- mainly grown using imported spores that can be ordered through the mail. commonly offered as mushroom chocolate, which costs R50 and has 3g of the fungus.
- Owning the fungus is forbidden.
- is lawfully available for purchase at nurseries and grows naturally in the Western Cape.
- Sceletium is derived from a shrub that can reach a height of 30 cm.
- Mesembine and mesembrenine, two of Sceletium’s primary alkaloids, have been utilized as a natural antidepressant.
- Numerous nurseries, particularly in the Cape, sell khat. Khat leaves can be purchased on Johannesburg’s streets.
- Chewing the leaves causes cathinone, a hallucinogenic substance, to be released.
- Additionally, it can be smoked or made into tea. Consumers experience exhilaration from the stimulant, which makes them talkative and prone to laughter.