Police Raid Native American Church In Costa Mesa Over Marijuana
With California on the knife edge of legalization, Orange County has become known as the land of brutal dispensary raids and corrupt cops. But last week's raid on the Oklevueha Native American Church (ONAC) in Costa Mesa strayed from the typical cannabis facility invasion. ONAC isn't a medical facility— it's a place to engage in indigenous Native American spiritual ceremonies, which can include the use of sacred plants, such as cannabis, ayahuasca, peyote and psilocybin.
The Costa Mesa Police Department raided the Harbor Blvd. church at 3:30 pm on Wednesday, January 27, arresting five people, who were released later that evening. Police around the country have been invading ONAC church branches since December, leading to a federal lawsuit filed by ONAC attorney Matthew Pappas, who argues that the "Federal Religious Freedom Restoration Act overrides the Controlled Substances Act." In other words, Pappas argues, the use of sacred plants ins't illegal if carried out for spiritual purposes under the care of an ONAC medicine man.