NM - The US Supreme Court has ruled that a small congregation in New Mexico may use hallucinogenic tea as part of a four-hour ritual intended to connect with God. Tuesday morning's court ruling was unanimous.
The justices moved decisively to keep the government out of a church's religious practice. The religious freedom decision is the court's first under Chief Justice John Roberts.
Roberts wrote in the decision that federal drug agents should have been barred from confiscating the hoasca tea of the Brazil-based church.
The tea contains an illegal drug known as DMT. It's considered sacred to members of O Centro Espirita Beneficiente Uniao do Vegetal.
The church has a blend of Christian beliefs and South American traditions.
Members believe they can understand God only by drinking the tea, which is consumed twice a month at four-hour ceremonies.
New Justice Samuel Alito did not take part in the case, which was argued last fall before Justice Sandra Day O'Connor before her retirement.
Alito was on the bench for the first time Tuesday.