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Peyote as Commodity: An Examination of Market Actors and Access Mechanisms

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Abstract

Access to the peyote cactus, a religious sacrament of the Native American Church (NAC), has been regulated by the federal government and the state of Texas since the 1960s. Over the last forty years, the number of licensed distributors has declined, a trend accompanied by rising prices and a diminishing market supply of the psychoactive cactus. Distributors are recognized as the primary NAC peyote source; consequently, their disappearance would be devastating for the 250,000-plus adherents of this distinctive indigenous tradition. Based on interviews with current and former peyote distributors, peyote pickers, landowners, and NAC members, a map of the various commodity chains that make up the peyote supply network is constructed. This research applies Access Mapping and Access Analysis of the supply network to identify the primary factors driving the decline of the regulated peyote trade. Focusing on the distributors’ and NAC members’ rights-based, structural, and relational access mechanisms, avenues for increasing access are identified, including amendment of distributor licensing fees.

Feeney, K. (2017). Peyote as Commodity: An Examination of Market Actors and Access Mechanisms. Human Organization, 76(1), 59-72. 10.17730/0018-7259.76.1.59
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