The Church of Ambrosia, known for its controversial stance on the use of psychedelic sacraments, is expanding its reach with a new location in San Francisco. The church, originally founded in Oakland and called Zide Door, offers its members access to psilocybin mushrooms and tax-free weed for a monthly membership fee of $5. However, its open distribution of psilocybin sets it apart from other psychedelic churches in the United States.
Founder and pastor Dave Hodges is aware of the legal risks associated with the distribution of psilocybin, which is illegal under local, state, and federal laws. In fact, Zide Door was raided by the police in 2020 for the alleged sale of cannabis without a permit. Despite the risks, Hodges is committed to defending access to what he considers a religious sacrament.
“Yes, there is a risk. But for me, it’s defending access to God,” Hodges told SFGATE. “It’s a new city we are dealing with, and I won’t be at all surprised if they raid us. But that just means a new court case.”
The Church of Ambrosia is part of a growing movement of psychedelic churches across the country, but its approach to the open distribution of psilocybin makes it unique. Unlike other psychedelic churches that require extensive vetting before providing access to psychedelic substances, Zide Door offers open access to almost anyone who is willing to sign up for church membership and pay the monthly fee.
Hodges sees the use of psychedelics as a means to connect with the divine and understand the truth. “I know what I’m supposed to be doing. This is coming from gods on the other side that wants humans to be able to have these experiences and be able to connect and be able to understand what the truth is,” Hodges said.
The expansion of the Church of Ambrosia into San Francisco is expected to generate significant attention, both from supporters and skeptics. While some see it as a legitimate religious practice protected by the First Amendment, others view it as a potential violation of drug laws. The outcome of this expansion and the legal challenges it may face remains to be seen, but for Hodges and his followers, it’s a necessary step in spreading their religious beliefs.