The possibility that states might decriminalize the general use of peyote is raising concerns among Indigenous practitioners, who employ the cactus in traditional settings like the Native American Church. Already, the Navajo Nation is moving to oppose any changes in the law.
As states continue to decriminalize marijuana, Tracy Willie, director of the Navajo medicine man group Azeé Bee Nahaghá of Diné Nation, Inc., said there could be a domino effect of states wanting to decriminalize peyote, which is a Schedule I controlled substance under the Federal Controlled Substance Act.
“At this point in time the challenges we are enduring is there are other nationalities that have interest because of what they see in the peyote, they call it mescaline,” said Willie. “That’s the primary interest.”