Psychedelic Research Task Force Approved By Utah Lawmakers

Utah lawmakers overwhelmingly approved a bill to establish a task force for researching the psychotherapeutic potential of psychedelics.

Full story after the jump.

Utah’s legislature has approved a bill to investigate the psychotherapeutic potential of psychedelics, Reason Magazine reports. HB 167 first passed the Utah House in February with a 68-1 vote and then sailed through the Senate last week on a vote of 23-1. The overwhelming margins of support for the bill set up a veto-proof majority in the legislature — the bill now sits on Gov. Spencer Cox’s (R) desk, awaiting his signature.

HB 167 will set up a task force made up of experts in the fields of medicine, psychotherapy, pharmacology, and addiction, whose goal will be to “provide evidence-based recommendations on any psychotherapy drug that the task force determines may enhance psychotherapy when treating a mental illness.” According to the bill, a “psychotherapy drug” is a “controlled substance” that “is not currently available for legal use.” A report is due from the task force by the end of October, according to the Reason report.

“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.” — Libertas Institute President Connor Boyack, via Reason Magazine

House Bill sponsor Rep. Brady Brammer (R) — who describes himself as a “typical Mormon guy” — shared in January on Salt Lake City radio that psychedelics is not an “area that I’ve delved into personally, but I do have a lot of empathy for those that are struggling with mental illness.”

Brammer went further lobbying for the bill in session, telling his fellow legislators: “We’re looking for evidence-based recommendations. If the evidence just isn’t there, if it’s too dangerous, if it’s not something that can be recommended and done so responsibly, that’s something that we’re going to have to discern. But if we run away from the issue, I can tell you that we’re going to regret it later on.”

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