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For peyote dealers, business is dwindling

By Jeremy Roebuck

A sign in front of Mauro Morales’ home announces his business for everyone to see. “Peyote Dealer,” it proclaims in large block letters. Each day, drivers passing by slow down for double takes and some even pull over, get out and snap photos. Who can blame them?, Morales asks with a mischievous grin.

The slight, 65-year-old Rio Grande City man is one of only three people in the United States – all in Starr and Webb counties – authorized to harvest and sell the psychedelic cactus. But as overharvesting continues to threaten peyote’s growth range in Starr County, he may not have much of a business for long – and Native Americans may lose their access to a substance that drives their religion. “It used to be you’d go out for a couple of hours and you’d find 500 to 1,000 plants,” he said. “Now, you go out for six hours and you don’t come back with much.”The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration lists peyote as a Schedule I controlled substance, putting it in the same legal category as crack and heroin.

Read the original article at: Brownsville Herald

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