Connecticut

Connecticut has strong protections for religious freedom under its state constitution and was the first state to enact a Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA) in 1993. This state-level RFRA provides significant protections for religious practices, including the potential use of entheogens for religious purposes. However, there are no specific decriminalization efforts for entheogens like psilocybin in Connecticut.

 

 

Connecticut Constitution

Article Seventh of the Connecticut Constitution ensures the protection of religious liberty, guaranteeing that “the exercise and enjoyment of religious profession and worship, without discrimination, shall forever be free to all persons in this state”​. This provision supports the free exercise of religion but does not explicitly address entheogens.

 

 

Connecticut Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA)

Enacted in 1993, Connecticut’s RFRA (Conn. Gen. Stat. Ann. § 52-571b) mandates that the state or any political subdivision cannot substantially burden a person’s exercise of religion unless it demonstrates that the burden is in furtherance of a compelling governmental interest and is the least restrictive means of furthering that interest​. This law provides a robust framework for defending religious practices involving entheogens, as long as they are part of a sincerely held religious belief.

 

 

Federal Protections: Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA)

Connecticut residents are also protected under the federal RFRA. The 2006 Supreme Court decision in Gonzales v. O Centro Espirita Beneficente Uniao do Vegetal set a precedent for the use of Schedule I controlled substances in religious ceremonies under the federal RFRA, provided the practice is part of a sincere religious belief.

 

 

Relevant Cases

 

 

 

Practical Implications

Religious practitioners in Connecticut considering the use of entheogens still face legal risks due to the state and federal classification of psilocybin as a Schedule I controlled substance. However, the protections under Connecticut’s RFRA and the federal RFRA offer potential defenses. Practitioners should be prepared to demonstrate the sincerity of their religious beliefs and the necessity of entheogens for their spiritual practices. Seeking legal counsel and maintaining thorough documentation of religious practices are recommended to support any potential defense.

 

 

Sources

Article Seventh of the Connecticut Constitution

 

Connecticut’s RFRA (Conn. Gen. Stat. Ann. § 52-571b)

 

Federal RFRA

 

The 2006 Supreme Court decision in Gonzales v. O Centro Espirita Beneficente Uniao do Vegetal

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