Billion-Dollar Battle Ensues as Soul Tribes Fights for Its Constitutional Rights

November 2nd, 2023 Legal & Crime
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In a pivotal development that could reshape the landscape of religious freedoms and cannabis legality, Soul Tribes International Ministries, a religious organization recognized for its distinctive spiritual practices involving the sacramental use of Sacred Mushrooms (Psilocybin), has initiated a $1 billion lawsuit against the City of Detroit and its Police Department. The legal action alleges intentional infringement of the organization's constitutional rights pertaining to the free exercise of religion and expression.

In the preceding month, Detroit authorities conducted a raid and subsequently lodged what is being termed as a groundless and prejudiced nuisance lawsuit against Soul Tribes and its affiliates for distributing its Holy Sacrament, Sacred Mushrooms, to its members. The City's Verified Complaint categorizes this genuine religious practice as an "unlawful" activity as per the Michigan Nuisance Statute, even though the statute does not explicitly define the term.

Soul Tribes, after a meticulous search, opted to engage "Cannabis Counsel," a Detroit-based law firm known for its expertise in ensuring compliance and legality concerning Cannabis and other controlled substances. Furthermore, Soul Tribes enlisted the services of the religious free exercise specialist, Attorney George "Greg" Lake, who is licensed in Texas and Louisiana and has been permitted by the Michigan Court to represent the organization. Lake's specialization lies in advocating for the free exercise of religion and the sacramental use of psychedelics/entheogens.

The lawsuit seeks $1 billion in economic damages, along with injunctive and declaratory relief from Hon. Patricia Fresard's preliminary injunction dated November 16th, 2023, which mandated the temporary closure of the Church's building pending a comprehensive trial. This landmark case delves into intricate matters related to free exercise rights under both State and Federal constitutions, the federal Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act, and 42 U.S.C. § 1983 claims alleging deliberate infringement of the Church's free exercise rights by the City and its employees.

Shaman Shu, the spiritual leader of Soul Tribes, underscored the importance of the ongoing legal battle, stating, "Our commitment is unwavering in defending the religious freedoms of our Church and all individuals in the nation seeking communion with the divine through the careful and respectful use of psychedelic sacraments, a practice rooted in ancient traditions."

Interestingly, 60% of Detroit's populace had endorsed Proposition E in 2021, which allowed the activities currently under scrutiny. Despite this, Soul Tribes contends that the city's actions, including the unprecedented raid of a place of worship, indicate targeted discrimination based on the organization's beliefs and practices.

The Church highlights the contrast between the city's aggressive actions against it and the ongoing fentanyl, opiate, and meth crises. Soul Tribes' legal battle seeks to address the damages, both monetary and spiritual, incurred due to the city's actions, which it believes to be in excess of $1 billion.

The legal team representing Soul Tribes, spearheaded by Attorney Thomas Lavine of Cannabis Counsel and Attorney George Lake, is poised to zealously advocate for the protection of the Church's religious freedoms, including their sincere use of Sacred Mushrooms, under both Michigan and United States Constitutions and laws.

As of now, the City of Detroit has yet to issue a response to the lawsuit. Soul Tribes International Ministries continues its unwavering pursuit to ensure that religious practices involving psychedelics are safeguarded and perpetually upheld in accordance with constitutional guarantees and legal statutes.

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