Detroit Free Press Report
A Detroit church that enlists hallucinogenic plants as part of its ministry is out of operation.
Detroit officials closed the building formerly housing Soul Tribes International Ministries, a psychedelic religious institution, on Wednesday.
Detroit City Council Member James Tate announced the news in a Facebook post Wednesday evening.
“A win for D1 today — Thank you to DPD & Building Closure for helping us protect our neighborhood,” Tate said in the post.
The move represents an attack on the organization’s religious freedoms, said Shaman Boby Shu.
“Total violation of our First Amendment rights, religious discrimination, religious redlining,” Shu said.
Soul Tribes opened Labor Day weekend in the Bushnell Congregational Church. The ministry offers psilocybin mushrooms, ayahuasca, and other entheogenic plants they call sacraments.
“These sacraments reflect our deeply held religious beliefs and form an integral part of our worship and religious practices, as supported by the Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 1993,” reads the Soul Tribes website. “Our mission is to support the religious freedom and practices of those who believe in the therapeutic power of these plants.”
Detroit Police shut down the church’s operations on Sept. 22, citing the illegality of psychedelic drugs under state law. Though Detroit voters passed Proposal E in 2021, de-criminalizing psychedelics, state law still maintains sale or distribution of the drugs is illegal, said Detroit Assistant Corporation Counsel Doug Baker.
“As a result of the operation, which involved DPD personnel, BSEED (Buildings, Safety Engineering, and Environmental Department) inspectors, and the work of our city attorneys, illegal controlled substances have been confiscated, and an illegal operation that posed a threat to this community has been closed,” police said in a prepared statement.
Shu said while he is disappointed in the decision, he will continue to push for Soul Tribes to reopen.
“We want to have an opportunity so people can have choices,” Shu said. “It is our religious belief system, this is our sacrament.”