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United States v. Warner (1984)

  • By: Aaron J. Kivisto & Todd M. Moore
  • In: Encyclopedia of Drug Policy
  • Edited by: Mark A. R. Kleiman & James E. Hawdon
  • Subject:Public Policy, Drug Crimes

The case of United States v. Warner (595 F. Supp. 595, D.N.D. 1984) was one in a series of challenges to the Controlled Substances Act (21 U.S.C. § 812) enacted in 1970 and the subsequent exemption issued under 21 C.F.R. § 1307.31, which states that “The listing of peyote as a controlled substance in Schedule I does not apply to the nondrug use of peyote in bona fide religious ceremonies of the Native American Church [NAC].”

Peyote (Lophophora williamsii) is a cactus that grows along the Texas-Mexico border. The active ingredient of mescaline gives it hallucinogenic properties. Following the indictment of John and Frances Warner, neither of whom were of Native American ancestry but nonetheless claimed membership in the NAC, on charges of distribution and ...

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