Did any of you catch this? A May 8, 2019 article (3 minute read) by Global News, “Health Canada Allows More Religious Groups to Import Ayahuasca,” restrictions are loosened to allow a total of five religious groups to import ayahuasca for spiritual purposes. In an important win for traditional practice, this exemption promotes free expression of a religious sacrament without government interference. While it took fifteen years for the first exemption to pass, recent groups have encountered a simpler process, opening a door for more research and education into the therapeutic benefits and effects of ayahuasca.
A master herbalist we spoke to recently was clear that ayahuasca is a powerful herb, the effects of which are not to be taken lightly. These religious groups must seriously consider contraindications between ayahuasca and other foods, herbs, drugs and pre-existing health conditions. But since ayahuasca is unapproved in Canada, there are no strict guidelines around its use, which may leave some individuals vulnerable to harm.
Regardless, this is admittedly a positive step by Health Canada. However, the move to allow exemptions for the use of ayahuasca has been made at the same time that approved natural health products used to maintain wellbeing, and in some cases life, are being removed from the market.
Removing a product that a citizen relies on for health is in direct contravention of our legal freedoms. To ban expression about natural health products except those approved of by Health Canada, truth being no defence, undermines freedom of expression. Religious freedoms is a fundamental right in Canada, so too is personal freedom.
The Charter of Health Freedom folds traditional medicine into its protection, ensuring the safe use of healing botanicals and unrestricted access to cultural products. Send this article to your MP along with a letter outlining your enthusiastic support of The Charter of Health Freedom.