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Representing Visionary Churches: Using the RFR Act to Protect the Rights of Churches Under the FCS Act

SKU: ADR3000
Total Credits
1.5 - 2
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In 2006, the United States Supreme Court opened the door to psychedelic religious ceremonies by holding that the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (“RFRA”) prohibited the DEA from seizing a hallucinogenic tea from a Brazilian church, even though it contained DMT, a Schedule I substance made unlawful under the Controlled Substances Act (“CSA”).

In 2009, a second Brazlian church obtained a similar ruling from an Oregon District Court. These rulings have fed the widespread perception that Visionary Church activity is lawful, and across the country, Visionary Churches have mushroomed, giving rise to a whole new set of clients seeking RFRA protection to engage in Free Exercise use of various controlled substances.

Demographic data shows that Visionary Church congregations are comprised of well-educated people of both sexes, mostly in the age group from 30 to 60, who engage in meditation and prayer, seeking the powerful experience said to be accessible through the use of a number of herbal hallucinants, including the widely-used Ayahuasca, of Amazonian origin.

The course is taught by an attorney with recent experience litigating RFRA claims against the DEA, who will share insights into the Agency’s enforcement posture, strategy and tactics. Come prepared to learn about an exciting new area of practice that will prepare you to serve clients seeking legal assistance with the establishment and operation of a Visionary Church.

Lecturer Bio

Charles H. Carreon, Esq.

Charles Carreon was born in 1956, reached adolescence during the psychedelic '60s, and married his wife Tara at 18. In 1974, the couple traveled overland to India, traversing Turkey, Iran, Pakistan and Afghanistan by bus, and spent six months in India, studying Buddhism. In 1978, Charles, Tara, and their three children, moved to rural Southern Oregon, where they spent several years working to build a Buddhist community and temple.

In 1983, Charles completed a BA in English at Southern Oregon State College, and the Carreon family moved to LA. In 1986, Charles graduated from UCLA Law and joined the LA office of Morgan, Lewis & Bockius as a litigation associate. Two years later, he transitioned into trademark enforcement and product liability defense for an international firm that merged into Ropes & Gray.

Leaving the world of corporate defense, Charles joined Mazursky, Schwartz, and Angelo, an LA plaintiff’s trial powerhouse, where he tried several personal injury cases in the Southern California area during his three years with the firm.

In 1993, Carreon moved back to Oregon, joined the Oregon Bar, and became a Jackson County, Oregon prosecutor. After a year as a prosecutor, Charles became the first Hispanic federal public defender on the Southern Oregon CJA panel, and defended the indigent criminally accused in the District of Oregon for the next six years.

Charles then turned his attention to the recovery of stolen Internet domain names, and in November 2000, successfully recovered the world's most valuable domain name, Sex.Com, that his client subsequently sold for $14,000,000.00.

In 2017, Charles became General Counsel to the Arizona Yagé Assembly (“AYA”), and began a practice dedicated to protecting the Free Exercise rights of Visionary Churches that use controlled substances to achieve visionary states of religious contemplation. Carreon is currently prosecuting litigation against the DEA under the Religious Freedom Restoration Act on behalf of AYA, seeking a judicial exemption from the Controlled Substances Act to protect AYA’s rights of Free Exercise. He has written several articles on the subject of the Constitution and Free Exercise.

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