Oakland Church Sues City, Police Over Seizure Of Ritualistic Shrooms And Weed
A church in Oakland, California, that incorporates the ritualistic use of psychedelic mushrooms and marijuana is suing the city, the police department, and one of its officers for violating its 1st- and 14th Amendment rights in connection with a raid that seized substances from its church building.
Oakland police raided Zide Door Church of Entheogenic Plants in 2020, taking cash and approximately $200,000 in mushrooms and cannabis after receiving multiple reports that the church was running an unpermitted cannabis dispensary. The church is accusing authorities and one officer in particular of discriminating against its religious beliefs.
Zide Door Church claims to be founded on the idea that psychedelic mushrooms induce complex human communication and religion. The church claims cannabis enables people “to understand life, the world and the teachings from the spirits that communicate through mushrooms and other entheogens” by using a focused “inner eye.”
The church’s founder Dave Hodges told Vice that those who consider it a religiously cloaked drug dispensary “just don’t understand that we truly believe in this.”
Hodges said the 2020 police raid caused at least $50,000 in building damage. “We’re really hoping in any way possible to hold the Oakland police department accountable for what they did,” he commented to Vice.
“The Oakland Police Department does not comment on pending litigation,” a representative said. Oakland City Attorney Barbara J. Parker said her office had not yet been with the lawsuit.