Prior to full legalization, Palm Springs lawyer Joseph Rhea worked with cannabis cooperatives all over southern California, guiding them on how to operate legally under restrictive state law. Attorney Rhea continues that work with other plants that the United State Supreme Court has stated enjoy religious-use protections under certain circumstances: specifically peyote and ayahuasca. Individuals and groups working with The Native American Church, ONAC, União do Vegetal (UDV), and Santo Daime are always welcome to contact the office for legal advice. Legalization may seem like an impossible goal for these plants, but that's only what people said about cannabis a decade ago!
Other psychedelics (particularly Psilocybin and MDMA) have been the subject of increasing academic research for the treatment of PTSD, depression and other disorders. FDA-approved trials are ongoing with psilocybin and MDMA, and both substances may soon be available for use as directed by psychiatrists. MAPS is leading the way in with FDA-approved MDMA research.You can read about that here. Johns Hopkins has been the pioneer in FDA-approved psilocybin research. You can read about that here.
Inevitably, however, there are people working with these substances outside the FDA framework. This is risky, and brings us back to two kinds of criminal law: first simply possession (or being under the influence) of these drugs is still a misdemeanor in California, and there are serious immigration consequences for non-citizens. Further, people providing these substances, or even provide space for use of these substances, may be subject to felony penalties. The American drug war rages on endlessly and, to help people understand what is at stake, Attorney Rhea has co-authored the following paper on the legality of psychedelic harm reduction. You can read his paper here.
If you have been arrested for any drug offense, please contact the office immediately for a consultation with Attorney Rhea.
“Mr. Rhea was extremely knowledgeable which, without a doubt, was the reason the Judge dismissed my case without any fines, probation, etc. Additionally, his vast knowledge helped lay out all the scenarios which helped relieve my anxieties. He was extremely prompt and reliable which made working with him a pleasure. I would highly recommend Mr. Rhea’s services to anyone and everyone.” – Former Federal Drug Possession Client