PUBLIC LAW 103-344 [H.R. 4230]; October 6, 1994
AMERICAN INDIAN RELIGIOUS FREEDOM ACT
AMENDMENTS OF 1994
For Legislative History of Act, see Report for P.L. 103-344 in
U.S.C.C. A.N. Legislative History Section.
An Act to emend the American Indian Religious Freedom Act to
provide for the traditional use of peyote by Indians for religious
purposes, and for other purposes.
Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the
United States of America in Congress assembled,
SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE.
The Act of August 11, 1978 (42 U.S.C. 1996), commonly referred
to as the "American Indian Religious Freedom Act", is amended
by adding at the end thereof the following new section:
"SEC. 3. (a) The Congress finds and declares that--
"(1) for many Indian people, the traditional ceremonial
use of the peyote cactus as a religious sacrament has for cen-
turies been integral to a way of life, and significant in
perpetuating Indian tribes and cultures;
"(2) since 1965, this ceremonial use of peyote by Indians
has been protected by Federal regulation;
"(3) while at least 28 States have enacted laws which
are similar to, or are in conformance with, the Federal regula-
tion which protects the ceremonial use of peyote by Indian
religious practitioners, 22 States have not done so, and this
lack of uniformity has created hardship for Indian people who
participate in such religious ceremonies;
"(4) the Supreme Court of the United States, in the case
of Employment Division v. Smith, 494 U.S. 872 (1990), held
that the First Amendment does not protect Indian practitioners
who use peyote in Indian religious ceremonies, and also raised
uncertainty whether this religious practice would be protected
under the compelling State interest standard; and
"(5) the lack of adequate and clear legal protection for
the religious use of peyote by Indians may serve to stigmatize
and marginalize Indian tribes and cultures, and increase the
risk that they will be exposed to discriminatory treatment.
"(b)(1) Notwithstanding any other provision of law, the use,
possession, or transportation of peyote by an Indian for bona fide
traditional ceremonial purposes in connection with the practice
of a traditional Indian religion is lawful, and shall not be prohibited
by the United States or any State. No Indian shall be penalized
or discriminated against on the basis of such use, possession or
transportation, including, but not limited to, denial of otherwise
applicable benefits under public assistance programs.
"(2) This section does not prohibit such reasonable regulation
and registration by the Drug Enforcement Administration of those
persons who cultivate, harvest, or distribute peyote as may be
consistent with the purposes of this Act.
"(3) This section does not prohibit application of the provisions
of section 481.111(a) of Vernon's Texas Health and Safety Code
Annotated, in effect on the date of enactment of this section, insofar
as those provisions pertain to the cultivation, harvest, and distribu-
tion of peyote.
"(4) Nothing in this section shall prohibit any Federal depart-
ment or agency, in carrying out its statutory responsibilities and
functions, from promulgating regulations establishing reasonable
limitations on the use or ingestion of peyote prior to or during
the performance of duties by sworn law enforcement officers or
personnel directly involved in public transportation or any other
safety-sensitive positions where the performance of such duties
may be adversely affected by such use or ingestion. Such regulations
shall be adopted only after consultation with representatives of
traditional Indian religions for which the sacramental use of peyote
is integral to their practice. Any regulation promulgated pursuant
to this section shall be subject to the balancing test set forth
in section 3 of the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (Public Law
103-141; 42 U.S.C. 2OOObb-1).
"(5) This section shall not be construed as requiring prison
authorities to permit, nor shall it be construed to prohibit prison
authorities from permitting, access to peyote by Indians while incar-
cerated within Federal or State prison facilities.
"(6) Subject to the provisions of the Religious Freedom Restora-
tion Act (Public Law 103-141; 42 U.S.C. 2000bb-1), this section
shall not be construed to prohibit States from enacting or enforcing
reasonable traffic safety laws or regulations.
"(7) Subject to the provisions of the Religious Freedom Restora-
tion Act (Public Law 103-141; 42 USC 2000bb-1), this section
does not prohibit the Secretary of Defense from promulgating regu-
lations establishing reasonable limitations on the use, possession,
transportation, or distribution of peyote to promote military readi-
ness, safety, or compliance with international law or laws of other
countries. Such regulations shall be adopted only after consultation
with representatives of traditional Indian religions for which the
sacramental use of peyote is integral to their practice.
"(c) For purposes of this section--
"(1) the term 'Indian' means a member of an Indian tribe;
"(2) the term 'Indian tribe' means any tribe, band, nation,
pueblo, or other organized group or community of Indians,
including any Alaska Native village (as defined in, or estab-
lished pursuant to, the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act
(43 U.S.C. l601 et seq.)), which is recognized as eligible for
the special programs and services provide by the United States
to Indians because of their status as Indians;
"(3) the term 'Indian religion' means any religion--
"(A) which is practiced by Indians; and
"(B) the origin and interpretation of which is from
within a traditional Indian culture or community; and
"(4) the term 'State' means any State of the United States
and any political subdivision thereof.
This Act may be cited as the "American Indian Religious Freedom Act Amendments
of 1994". SEC. 2. TRADITIONAL INDIAN RELIGIOUS USE OF THE PEYOTE SACRAMENT.
108 STAT. 3126
AMERICAN INDIAN RELIGIOUS FREEDOM
"(d) Nothing in this section shall be construed as abrogating,
diminishing, or otherwise affecting--
"(1) the inherent rights of any Indian tribe;
"(2) the rights, express or implicit, of any Indian tribe
which exist under treaties, Executive orders, and laws of the
"(3) the inherent right of Indians to practice their religions;
"(4) the right of Indians to practice their religions under
any Federal or State law.".
Approved October 6, 1994.
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