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  1. jon-q
    A British shaman and self-proclaimed voodoo priest has been jailed for 15 months for using a sacred drink containing a class A drug at a healing ceremony.

    Peter Aziz, 51, made two brews of Ayahuasca with the leaf of the Chakruna plant - which contains the banned drug N-dimethyltriptamene or DMT - which were used during the ceremony in a disused hotel.

    The brew, used to bring on hallucinations and which often makes those who drink it vomit, was given to 17 people during a candle-lit ceremony on the week-long religious retreat in Weston-super-Mare, Somerset.

    Aziz, of Buckfastleigh, Devon, denied two counts of producing a class A drug and two counts of supplying a class A drug but a jury found him guilty of all charges after just two-and-a-half hours' deliberation on August 8 following a trial at Bristol Crown Court.

    Sentencing, Judge Michael Roach said he reduced the sentence after hearing that Aziz had "wholeheartedly done a lot of good for a lot of people".

    "You knew it was wrong to produce this drug and you knew it was wrong to supply it. But produce and supply it you did," said Judge Roach.

    "It is a class A drug and I have to take into account that is the most serious form of drugs.

    "I bear in mind that from what I have read that it seems ... that you have served to provide assistance to others. But that said there is no doubt in my mind that I have to treat this matter as serious, which means they require a prison sentence."

    Aziz gave a small wave to his shocked family in the public gallery as he was led away



    Press Association
    News Scotsman 2nd Sept 2011
    http://news.scotsman.com/latest-national-news/Voodoo-priest-jailed-for-drug.6829934.jp

Comments

  1. Down In Albion
    I guess these poor poor judges are so caught up and consumed by all the red tape and bullshit that it's not only blinding them but is now actually burning away brain cells and common sense too!

    There's a simple way to deal with this sort of person, who just reads black and white from every situation as if it were the text on the page...

    Print the following and switch it for their books... 'Walk of a cliff.'

    Problem solved! :)
  2. Down In Albion
    off*

    I need to start posting more so I can EDIT! >.<
  3. Alfa
    This is pretty amazing, because I am pretty sure that Ayahuasca is NOT a controlled substance in the UK. Even though it contains the controlled substance DMT, there is more than a bit of case law to have this man acquitted from prosecution and even get his ayahuasca back.
  4. Down In Albion
    As far as I'm aware (and it's a long time since I did any reading on the subject), what he did WAS illegal (as utterly retarded and plain wrong as it is). Law and common sense seem to be opposite ends of the same spectrum a lot of the time, sad really.

    It's legal to own all the ingredients of ayahuasca, that's why headshops in the UK all sell them, but if you mix them and create DMT (with the other ingredient that I forget the name of which is an MAOI, thus making it active), you're then in possession of a class A substance, and he DEALT that to 17 people (in the eyes of the law anyway).

    A more common sense approach would say that it's a total waste of tax payers money to put a harmless man in jail for supplying and handing out a substance at a spiritual ritual, which is what he was doing, he wasn't stood outside some school preaching and mind controlling innocent kids into taking drugs.

    Totally blown out of proportion and the police and judicial services should be focusing on more important things. It's ok to have laws, but each case should be individual and laws should be a guide, and this man shouldn't be in jail.

    I'll stop ranting now before I burst a blood vessel :p
  5. Phenoxide
    Indeed any act of preparation means that the plant ceases to be a natural product and becomes a carrier of a class A controlled substance. Of course what exactly constitutes 'preparation' is at the court's discretion.

    Up until 2005 fresh psilocybe mushrooms were legal to possess and even purchase in the UK, but the act of intentionally drying them meant they became a controlled substance. Similarly mescaline-containing cacti are legal to possess but extraction of the alkaloids makes the product illegal. Dried and ground preparations of cacti therefore occupy very unsafe ground under UK law. So yeah, I could easily see the act of extracting the tryptamine alkaloids into a brew then intentionally mixing with a MAOI would be viewed as preparation of a class A controlled substance. Even less doubt if they've got evidence that the brew was destined for human consumption for its psychotropic effects.

    Not surprised the jury didn't have to deliberate very long on this one. No doubt in this case the fact that the drug was supplied to others helped make up the juror's minds too. In some respects he's been quite lucky to be honest. Given that they know he supplied a class A drug to quite a number of people the case could easily have gone to Crown Court in which case he'd be looking at a sentence of at least several years. With good behavior he'll be out in a few months.

    If I was the judge I'd just have ordered each juror to slap him several times for calling himself a shaman then let him off.
  6. Alfa
    The question here, is a preparation of what exactly? A preparation of the illegal substance DMT or a preparation of the legal plant ayahuasca? This is a very important legal question.
    The plant ayahuasca is not listed as a controlled substance. So not matter what you do with it, its still a legal substance. Only at the point, where a controlled substance is extracted, separated from the plant it can be seen as the controlled substance.

    Ultimately its at the descretion of the INCB, which controls what the convention on psychotropic substances of 1971 means. Its this convention that has caused the UK ban on DMT and most other drugs. The UK has signed this convention and is therefore bound to its rules. Its not in the nature of the UK court to obey to external law, but ultimately it does come down to that.

    Actually, just before the UK ban of fresh mushrooms, there were a series of court cases in an attempt to ban fresh mushrooms through the court system. In these court cases it was established that seeing dried mushrooms as a preparation of psilocybin is an abuse of law. Psilocybin mushrooms are just that: mushrooms. Not a preparation of psilocin. No matter if you dry them or prepare them in any way. (except separation of psilocin from the mushroom off course)
  7. Down In Albion
    That's an interesting point, hadn't really thought of it like that. It's like those guys over in New Zealand who were charged for importing the materials to make DMT, as far as I can remember, they didn't break any laws importing the plant materials, but they were still charged because they had lab equipment and evidence from their online viewing that showed they were planning to extract the DMT alkaloids from that material.

    I don't think this can be classified the same, he made a brew, he didn't EXTRACT anything, it'd certainly be worth his lawyer picking through the wording of the current laws with a fine tooth comb.

    This is a typical case were the law could in fact do more harm than good. He's gonna be locked up with more serious offenders, who could possibly turn a (what should be) innocent person into a criminal graduate, or get pissed off with his shamanistic ramblings and stick one in him (knife, penis, bread stick...who knows)

    He was lucky to get such a short sentence though, I think the only reason he's in jail at all (due to the circumstances of the "crime") is to make an example of him for others who practice this belief/religion.

    Also it got me wondering how they even found out, surely someone at the meeting must have squealed on him to the police?
  8. Phenoxide
    The INCB are certainly influential but they cannot dictate the specifics of national law. The US picks and chooses how it applies the terms of UN conventions under its own constitution and so do other countries. Ultimately the intent of the UN conventions is to criminalize drug use, manufacture and trafficking. The UK law does fulfill that obligation, however misguided it might be. I cannot see the INCB wanting to haul the UK up in front of the other UN members for our drug laws being too harsh!

    I think the major argument in those cases was that there was no reasonable grounds in most cases to distinguish between mushrooms that had been intentionally prepared by drying and those that may have just happened to dry naturally. I don't recall precedent being set that intentional drying of psilocybe mushrooms was not considered preparative and therefore illicit.
  9. Alfa
    The INCB can only advice. They will not actively seek to correct UK courts. However, a lawyer can seek advice at the INCB about the correct interpretation of the treaty and UK laws flowing from that. The INCB can also testify about this in court. And that surely changes not only the court case content, but also the whole setup/proceeding of a court case.

    The UN has explicitly excluded ayahuasca from the convention. Not because some UN body decided to do so, but because the representatives of all UN countries, including the UK have decided to do so.

    IIRC intentional drying was considered preparative of the mushroom and therefore NOT illicit, as the mushroom was not listed as a controlled substance. IIRC the same arguments were brought forward that I previously addressed. The cases were thrown out of court though, so I am not sure how much precedent they hold.
  10. chaos69
    I don't think its such a stretch to say that making a brew is an extraction. If I were to make a cup off tea I would put the tea bag in a cup of hot water for a few minutes during which time the caffeine, flavours and tannin would come out of the tea leaves into the water. I would then throw the tea bag out along with the tea leaves and add my sugar and milk. And the final product would definitely be different to just sugar, water and milk which would be the case if no extraction took place. The extraction may not result in a crystal form but it still is an extraction because the active ingredients was in the plant matter but is now in the water.
  11. Alfa
    Yes, this could be seen as a breach of the law.
  12. corvardus
    The legal system lives for this type of grey area. Making a brew is extracting the active ingredients into the solvent that was used, in this case heated water.

    If the organic matter from which the DMT is extracted is removed (like the paracetamol/ibuprofen when extracting codeine in a CWE) then you've just performed an extraction of DMT.

    If you drink the drink with organic suspension still present then you've got a suspension of a legal material in a liquid that is no longer legal should the organic suspension be removed. I wouldn't want to be caught in the middle of that particular argument and apparently an individual that did challenge it, lost.
  13. Bad Rabbits
    No more than 2/3 weeks ago I was in contact with this chap about some amber bottles with pipettes he wished to purchase from me.

    I actually completely cocked up the sale, and way oversold, having to refund a lot of money. Considering the amount of time I wasted of his, he was very polite and very forgiving. A real nice chap.

    Anyway, from his email address, I was able to locate his homepage:

    Type: 'Aziz Shamanism' into Scroogle. (Can't post links myself).

    I don't want to debate the meaning of the word 'Shaman', but he clearly isn't just some nut hiding behind the name. He seems to have devoted a lot of his life to this.


    Also, for those debating the legality of what he did... Forget extraction. The key word here is 'Preparation'. Just echoing what Phenoxide said.

    A brew is clearly a preparation, no? And the brew contained DMT, simple as, surely?

    Not arguing that this whole thing is not ridiculous.
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