All But 2 Utah Legislators Just Voted to Investigate the Psychotherapeutic Potential of Psychedelics
Is there anything more boring than a bill that would establish a “task force” to study an issue and “make recommendations”? What if the issue is psychotherapeutic use of federally proscribed substances such as psilocybin, LSD, and MDMA? And what if the bill was approved almost unanimously by legislators in Utah?
Not so boring anymore, is it? H.B. 167, which passed the Utah House by a vote of 68 to 1 on February 10 and the Utah Senate by a vote of 23 to 1 last Friday, is the latest sign of strange new respect for drugs that not so long ago were routinely depicted as menaces to body and soul. Thanks to recent research, dogged advocacy, new regulatory receptiveness, and groundbreaking ballot initiatives, substances that were once seen as tickets to the madhouse are now increasingly viewed as tools for enhancing mental health. Even in Utah.
H.B. 167 is now on Republican Gov. Spencer Cox’s desk, although the veto-proof majorities in favor of it suggest it will become law no matter what reception it receives there. “We fully expect the governor to sign the bill in the coming weeks,” says Libertas Institute President Connor Boyack, whose organization endorsed the bill. “This effort is especially significant because no one expects Utah to be a leader on this type of issue. If the Beehive State can blaze a trail for what legalization of psychedelics looks like, it’ll be a strong signal to other states that this new frontier of alternative medicine is a safe one to navigate for conservatives across the country.”
H.B. 167 would create a task force to “provide evidence-based recommendations on any psychotherapy drug that the task force determines may enhance psychotherapy when treating a mental illness.” It defines “psychotherapy drug” as “a controlled substance” that “is not currently available for legal use” but “may be able to treat, manage, or alleviate symptoms from mental illness.” The task force, which would include people with expertise in medicine, psychotherapy, pharmacology, and addiction, is charged with producing a report by the end of October.
State Rep. Brady Brammer (R–Pleasant Grove), who introduced the bill in the House, concedes it is not the sort of legislation people might expect from a conservative Mormon. “I’m kind of your typical Mormon guy, and this hasn’t been an area that I’ve delved into personally,” he told the Fox station in Sa
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