Detroit Metro Times reports
Soul Tribes International Ministries — billed as Detroit’s first “psychedelic church” where psilocybin mushrooms are offered as a holy sacrament — was raided by the Detroit Police Department on Friday, just days after Metro Times published a cover story about it.
DPD confirmed that a search was conducted on the 15000 block of the Southfield Freeway, but declined to give a reason for the investigation or provide further details about what was taken from the property. Metro Times obtained a copy of a search warrant issued by the Third Judicial Circuit Court on Thursday, Sept. 21 for Soul Tribes International Ministries at 15000 Southfield Freeway.
Soul Tribes opened inside Bushnell Congregational Church over Labor Day weekend with plans to host healing ceremonies with psilocybin mushrooms and other entheogenic plants like ayahuasca and iboga. The church runs a “sacrament center” which sells dried psilocybin mushrooms, capsules, and gummies.
The warrant states all narcotics including “psychedelic mushrooms” were to be seized from the “illegal dispensary inside the purported church” along with “all books, records, receipts, notes, ledgers, and other papers relating to the procurement, distribution, storage, and transportation of controlled substances.”
Soul Tribes owner Shaman Shu says 15 armed officers in masks showed up, seized more than $700,000 in psilocybin mushrooms intended for therapeutic use, and ordered the church to close.
“They stole ancient sacrament,” Shu says. “It was prayed over and meditated over. It’s a healing sacrament… They blocked my property down without due process. You can’t do that.”
He adds, “They think we’re not a church. But that’s why the federal government was created, to separate church and state so that cities do not opine on what churches are [and] what ministries are. We’re a ministry and a religious organization.”
Shu is also behind Proposal E, which voters approved in November and decriminalized the personal possession and therapeutic use of entheogenic plants and fungi like mescaline, ayahuasca, and psilocybin in Detroit. According to Proposal E, therapeutic use includes the “possession, storage, propagation, provision, transfer or sharing of Entheogenic Plants with another adult or adults with or without remuneration under the advisement or supervision of a licensed therapist, medical professional, or religious leader.”
DPD Sgt. for media relations Jordan Hall says the search and shut down may have been due to licensing issues but could not provide further details. “My understanding was that it was due to a lack of licensing and the amount of substances that were distributed,” he says.
Metro Times reached out to Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan’s office for comment on whether the raid violates Proposal E, which Detroiters passed by 61%. “The Detroit Police Department worked in close coordination with the city’s, law department and building safety, engineering and environmental department in preparing this enforcement action,” says Doug Baker, the city’s assistant corporation counsel. “It is the law department’s position that this local ordinance, despite its intent, does not override state law, which considers psilocybin to be a controlled substance.”
He adds, “Most importantly, the city ordinance itself does not allow for the sale or distribution of psilocybin.”