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‘Lord I Lift Your Name on High?’ Oakland Church Sues Police Department After They Raid Cannabis and Mushroom Stash

Screengrab via Instagram @davehemp

Zide Door in Oakland, California, which identifies itself as a church, is suing police officers and the city of Oakland over a 2020 raid of their facility, in which authorities confiscated $200,000 worth of cannabis and psychedelic mushrooms. Zide Door distributes the drugs to church members.

According to Zide Door’s website, they are “a Church in Oakland supporting the safe access and use of Entheogenic Plants. We follow a nondenominational, interfaith religion, The Church of Ambrosia.”

Established in 2019 after Oakland passed a resolution decriminalizing natural psychedelics, the church claims to preach against nonreligious alcohol and drug use and boasts that it has 60,000 members who pay $5 a month to receive psychedelic sacraments.

People can apply to be a member of the church through their website, where they are asked to upload an image of their driver’s license and disclose whether they work for a law enforcement or government agency.

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The church’s founder Dave Hodges has shared that he takes large doses of mushrooms to create a spiritual experience. “You get what can only be described as spiritual visions. You leave your body, you interact with entities that have knowledge they wish to teach you, and you can even have a direct experience with God,” Hodges said.

One church member, who dislikes cannabis, described their experience by saying, “Every time I smoke, it’s as if there’s a giant inner eye that turns on me and shows me everything that is wrong with my life.”

Zide Door used to hold weekly in-person services but discontinued the practice at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. Hodges relayed to San Francisco Chronicle news their building remains open every day for church members to pick up their cannabis and mushrooms. In-person worship services used to be held at 4:20 p.m.—a time when marijuana users associate with lighting up.

Nevertheless, the church never allows its members to take mushrooms on the its premises due to safety issues. Hodges instructs church members to take the natural psychedelics “in a place users won’t have to drive for at least 8 hours.”

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Claiming that taking mushrooms allow him to experience God, Hodges shared that taking high dose of mushrooms allow him to travel through multiple dimensions, including heaven and hell.

Some of Hodges most popular sermons have been written after taking high doses of mushrooms. Explaining why members can’t take mushrooms on church property, Zide Door’s leader said, “You need a bed and a bathroom right next to each other—it’s not something you do in public.”