Raid on Oakland ‘church’ nets $200,000 in psychedelics

On August 13, Oakland police raided the Zide Door Church of Entheogenic Plants, seizing $200,000 in cash and illegal drugs including cannabis and hallucinogenic mushrooms.

The church has been a source of both humor and controversy in the neighborhood for some time. Its leader, Dave Hodges, dons a robe peppered with cannabis leaves. Members gather every Sunday at 4:20 PM to smoke joints or take mushrooms. And police say the church has been selling those drugs illegally.

Hodges thinks the raid, which was captured on video, was excessive.

“Not only did they have well over 20 Oakland PD officers out there but they had 8 firefighters to come break into our safe,” he told CBS San Francisco. “Really, I’m surprised they didn’t burn down the building. In some of the video, you can actually see sparks bouncing off toilet paper and paper towels.” 

He also thinks the church is fully within its rights as a religious organization.

“The core concept of what we believe is our ancient ancestors came across these mushrooms and, being a hungry monkey who finds a bunch of these mushrooms, they were likely to eat a bunch of them. And, if you eat a lot of these mushrooms, you can have some very intense experiences that can only be described as spiritual visions,” Hodges said.

Asked whether police believe Zide is a legitimate church, Oakland police captain Rendell Wingate said that will be up to a court to decide.