This case is important because it upholds the long-standing principle that First Amendment rights cannot be substantially burdened unless certain indispensable requirements are to be proven by the Government Respondents are members of O Centro Espnrita Beneficente Uniao do Vegetal (UDV , a Christian sect whose members receive communion through hoasca , a sacramental tea made from two plants . One of these two is psychotria viridis , which contains dimethyltryptamine (DMT , a hallucinogen . Under Schedule I of the Controlled Substances Act , DMT is a regulated
substance . In 1999 , customs officials seized UDV 's hoasca shipment and threatened them with prosecution . UDV then d for declaratory and injunctive relief against the law enforcement officials alleging a violation of their rights under the Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 1993 . The district court and the panel of the Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit upheld the validity of the injunction
On certiorari , the Government conceded that the application of the Controlled Substances Act would result in a substantial burden on UDV 's exercise of their religion . It , however , posited that the challenged application is the least restrictive means of furthering governmental interests . The governmental interests enumerated were : protecting UDV members ' health and safety , preventing the diversion of hoasca from the church to recreational users , and complying with the 1971 United Nations Convention on Psychotropic Substances . UDV , on other hand , alleged that the application is violative of their RFRA rights and that such legislation prohibits the Federal Government from applying laws which would substantially burden a person 's free exercise of his religion even if the burden results from a rule of general applicability
The Court affirmed the injunction issued . It ruled that the Government was not able to meet the test of compelling interest and that the rule was not the least...