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Legal Status
by Erowid
Caution :   All legal information should be verified through other sources. [see below]
May Contain
Schedule I Chemical
The most common plant constituents of Ayahuasca (Banisteriopsis caapi & Psychotria viridis) are not specifically scheduled in the United States. Neither is the ayahuasca brew specifically named as a scheduled substance. However, P. Viridis contains DMT which is DEA schedule 1. The DEA has recently been making the argument that a plant or brew is illegal if it contains DMT or any other controlled substance.

Major court decisions in the United States in 2006 and 2009 have left the religious use of ayahuasca more or less legal for the protected groups, the UDV and Santo Daime (see UDV Wins Supreme Court Case and Santo Daime Wins Court Decision). It is likely that the Drug Enforcement Administration will continue to fight to get those rulings overridden. As of March 18, 2009, it is still presumptively illegal in the United States to use ayahuasca unless one is a member of the two churches that have successfully sued the U.S. government.

California: (Oakland) #
The SF-bay area city of Oakland de-prioritized / decriminalized the possession of "entheogenic plants" including psilocybin mushrooms, mescaline-containing cacti, iboga, and DMT-containing plants such as those used in ayahuasca on June 4 2019 at 23:12 (11:12pm) on a "unanimous vote" (although it appeared at least one councilperson abstained. This effort was lead by Decriminalize Nature Oakland. The Oakland resolution did not decriminalize opiate-containing plants. Congratulations to those who worked this successful campaign! The text of the resolution included: "RESOLVED, That the Mayor and City Council hereby declare that it shall be the policy of the City of Oakland that no department, agency, board, commission, officer or employee of the city, including without limitation, Oakland Police Department personnel, shall use any city funds or resources to assist in the enforcement of laws imposing criminal penalties for the use and possession of Entheogenic Plants by adults; [... and ...] RESOLVED That the Mayor and City Council hereby declare that it shall be the policy of the City of Oakland that the investigation and arrest of adult persons for planting, cultivating, purchasing, transporting, distributing, engaging in practices with, and/or possessing Entheogenic Plants or plant compounds on the Federal Schedule 1 list shall be amongst the lowest law enforcement priority for the City of Oakland; [...]" (last updated June 4 2019)
Brazil #
In Brazil, a protracted legal battle in the 1980's ended with the Brazilian government finding ayahuasca churches use of ayahuasca was was safe and showed no signs of harming the members. In 1992, Brazil formally legalized the constituent plants and ayahuasca tea.(see the Brazilian Ayahuasca legal notes)
Canada #
Harmaline is Schedule III in Canada. Since ayahuasca brews almost always contain a harmaline-containing plant, it is possible that ayahuasca could be considered illegal on these grounds.
Chile #
Although DMT is a controlled substance in Chile, some courts have found that ayahuasca is not a crime to posssess or use. See Court Dismisses Charges. (last updated Nov 17 2016)
France #
As of May 3, 2005, France added Banisteriopsis caapi, Peganum harmala, Psychotria viridis, Diplopterys cabrerana, Mimosa hostilis, Banisteriopsis rusbyana, harmine, harmaline, tetrahydroharmine (THH), haroml, and harmalol to the list of controlled substances. See France Control Ayahuasca Plants and Chemicals. Earlier, in Jan 2005, a Paris court of appeals determined that Ayahuasca is not considered a preparation of DMT and is therefore not a controlled substance.
Netherlands #
Ayahuasca is practically legal to possess and buy. In Amsterdam and across the country, ayahuasca is sold in smart shops. It is also used by some churches in the Netherlands, whose use has been protected by decisions in the country's highest court. (unconfirmed) (last updated Nov 6 2011)

  • October 1999: Santo Daime Church service raided and 2 leaders arrested.
  • March 2001: Trial of Ayahuasca Church leaders ends in March
  • May 15 2001: Dutch Court Hears Arguments on Cannabis Use by Sainto Daime
  • May 21 2001: Dutch Court Decides in Favor of Head of Ayahuasca Church
  • Germany #
    Summer 1999: Santo Daime Church raided (no source)
    Russia #
    In August 2016, a Brazilian therapist was detained at a Russian airport with 6.6 liters of ayahuasca; samples were analyzed and found to contain DMT. He was charged with international drug trafficking and sentenced to 6+ years in prison. As of Jul 2017 he is seeking appeal on the premise that the DMT content of the ayahuasca was significantly lower than estimated by Russian officials. [reference in Portuguese] (last updated Jul 27, 2017)
    Spain #
    According to the Spanish Scientist Josep Maria Fericgla, in 2012, Ayahuasca is not controlled under Spanish law. See This is not an official government statement of policy, just one person's analysis of the complex issues of having a natural extract that contains a controlled substance. In April 2000: Santo Daime Church members arrested, Daime (ayahuasca tea) seized. Six Spanish and two Brazilian members were arrested. The members were eventually released in May of 2000. (thanks m) (last updated May 16 2012)
    U.K. #
    Ayahuasca, as it contains DMT, a class A drug, has been established as prosecutable, according to an August 8th 2011 ruling (case number T20100950) at Bristol Crown Court. More at: more at (thanks Bia)(Last updated Sep 6 2011)
    U.N. #
    If you have information about the legal status of this substance in any other country, please let us know.

    Erowid legal information is a summary of data gathered from site visitors, government documents, websites, and other resources. We are not lawyers and can not guarantee the accuracy of the information provided here. We do our best to keep this information correct and up-to-date, but laws are complex and constantly changing. Laws may also vary from one jurisdiction to another (county, state, country, etc)...this list is not comprehensive.