Dear friends and members:
California Legislation SB 519, introduced by Senator Wiener last week, has been carefully crafted to avoid Native American opposition on the subject of Peyote, but it ignores the dilemma for all Peyotists that Peyote is an endangered species. Peyote-centered worship cannot exist without Peyote, and for many the only way to practice their religion is to cultivate the sacred Peyote plant. We consider cultivation of the Holy Sacrament Peyote to be another form of worship. Below you will find the passages in the bill relevant to Peyote Cultivation. We request that our members and friends add personal testimony to a letter to Senator Wiener requesting amendment of this law to allow for private cultivation of Peyote by Peyotists regardless of Race or religious affiliation.
Below please find a segment of the bill relevant to Peyote cultivation and protection:
“(k) Peyote is specifically excluded from the list of substances to be decriminalized, and any cultivation, harvest, extraction, tincture or other product manufactured or derived therefrom, because of the nearly endangered status of the peyote plant and the special significance peyote holds in Native American spirituality. Section 11363 of the Health and Safety Code, which makes it a crime in California to cultivate, harvest, dry, or process any plant of the genus Lophophora, also known as Peyote, is not amended or repealed.
(l) The State of California fully respects and supports the continued Native American possession and use of peyote under federal law, 42 U.S.C. 1996a, understanding that Native Americans in the United States were persecuted and prosecuted for their ceremonial practices and use of peyote for more than a century and had to fight numerous legal and political battles to achieve the current protected status, and the enactment of this legislation does not intend to undermine explicitly or implicitly that status”
In the defined list of decriminalized substances:
“(14) Mescaline.Mescaline, derived from plants presently classified botanically in the Echinopsis genus of cacti, including, without limitation, the Bolivian Torch Cactus, San Pedro Cactus, or Peruvian Torch Cactus, but not including mescaline derived from any plant described in paragraph (15).
(15) Peyote—Meaning all parts of the plant presently classified botanically as Lophophora williamsii Lemaire, whether growing or not, the seeds thereof, any extract from any part of the plant, and every compound, manufacture, salts, derivative, mixture, or preparation of the plant, its seeds or extracts (interprets 21 U.S.C. Sec. 812(c), Schedule 1(c)(12)).
Please feel free to copy any statements that appeal to you for your personal letter to Senator Wiener. We suggest you start with a personal testimonial about your relationship to the sacred living Peyote plant as well as its spiritual significance to you. Then use any statements above for the main body of your letter. Also feel free to reference the wonderful statements made by Keeper Trout on the Cactus Conservation website.
Dear Senator Wiener:
I am writing today to encourage amendment to SB519 to allow legal non-commercial cultivation of the Holy Sacrament Peyote. I believe cultivation is necessary for the protection and long-term survival of this threatened species. For many, cultivation of Peyote is the only way for them to practice their Peyote religion. Peyote is widely harvested in its native habitat and the ability to cultivate will not only provide a pathway to maintaining the species in the wild, but also ensures that Peyotists are able to obtain the sacrament that is the sole source to experiencing their deity.
Please include a clause in SB 519 protecting cultivation of Peyote for non-commercial religious use purposes regardless of Race or religious affiliation.
“As long as Peyote is an endangered species, it is more blessed to grow the Holy Sacrament than to consume it.”
—-Article of Faith #4 Peyote Way Church of God, Klondyke Arizona
Yours Sincerely in Its Service
(Your name here)
For more information and ideas please visit or reference Cactus Conservation’s Institute’s website