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 May 3, 2005
High court agrees to review hallucinogenic tea case
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SUPREME COURT The Supreme Court will take up the issue of whether a New Mexico church can continue using hallucinogenic tea in its religious services.

The tea contains a drug banned under the federal Controlled Substances Act. At issue is whether the tea is protected as a free practice of religion.

The Bush administration contends the tea is illegal and potentially dangerous for church members. Lawyers for the church counter that use of the tea by law-abiding citizens practicing their religious beliefs does not constitute drug abuse.

The church has about 140 members in the U-S. It says the herbal brew is a central sacrament in its religious practice.

A lower court ruling allowed the Brazil-based church to import and use the tea while the case was appealed.

Copyright 2005 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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