February 2021 Church & State Magazine | AU Bulletin

The New Hampshire Supreme Court has ruled that individuals have the right to use psychedelic mushrooms for religious purposes under certain conditions.

The court in late December voided the conviction of Jeremy D. Mack, a Colebrook resident who says he practices a religion based on shamanic and Earth-centered beliefs. In 2017, Mack joined the Oratory of Mystical Sacraments branch of the Oklevueha Native American Church, reported the Manchester Union-Leader.

Mack said he followed certain restrictions and did not use the mushrooms when in public, around children or while operating a motor vehicle. But a Coos County court convicted Mack in 2018 of possessing psilocybin, a hallucinogenic that the federal government says has no medicinal value.

The New Hampshire Supreme Court ruled unanimously that the religious-freedom provisions of the state’s constitution provide enhanced protection for religious practices.

“We have long recognized that in Part I, Article 5, there is a broad, a general, a universal statement and declaration of the ‘natural and unalienable right’ of ‘every individual,’ of every human being, in the state, to make such religious profession, to entertain such religious sentiments, or to belong to such religious persuasion as he chooses, and to worship God privately and publicly in the manner and season most agreeable to the dictates of his own conscience and reason,’” wrote Supreme Court Justice James Bassett.

The provision quoted by the court says that every state resident has a “natural and unalienable right to worship God” as dictated by conscience, “provided he doth not disturb the public peace or disturb others in their religious worship.” (State of New Hampshire v. Mack)