It was pretty amazing to see voters rise up and pass Proposition 2 back in 2018. Lawmaker efforts to legalize Medical Cannabis had fallen short up until that time, so passage was needed to force the state’s hand. Could we be headed for something similar with medical psychedelics?
Other states have already begun looking into psychedelics for medical purposes. All the typical suspects are on board including Colorado, Oregon, and California. But Utah could end up joining them at some point down the road.
Remember that Governor Cox signed a bill earlier in 2022 that effectively created a task force to look into psychedelic therapies. The task force is supposed to study psychedelics before making recommendations about their therapeutic benefits at a later date.
One of the biggest hurdles to cannabis and psychedelic reform in Utah is our traditionally conservative mindset. As you know, the state is heavily influenced by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. But its influence over Medical Cannabis and therapeutic psychedelics may be waning.
Mormon bishop and former Republican state representative Brad Daw has come out publicly in favor of both psychedelics and Medical Cannabis. In a recent appearance on the Jimmy Rex Show, he explained how he went from being anti-cannabis to a proponent of both.
You may not remember, but Daw was against Medical Cannabis as late as 2018. So what changed his mind? You’ll have to listen to the previously mentioned podcast to find out. If you do, you will also learn that Daw traveled to Costa Rica in order to experience an ayahuasca ceremony for himself.
Daw’s Costa Rican trip was partly motivated by a church member who confided in him about her own psychedelic use. He decided to experience it for himself. Needless to say, the ceremony completely changed his mind about psychedelic therapeutics.
As for cannabis, he remains dead set against recreational consumption. However, he is now a full proponent of Medical Cannabis. If you’re surprised, you are not alone. Few thought that highly conservative state lawmakers would ever get on board.
As for the future of therapeutic psychedelics in Utah, all eyes are now on the state task force. They have a big job ahead of them. Their findings should result in recommendations lawmakers can consider over the next couple of years. Will there be anything to talk about in 2023? We’ll have to wait and see.
Meanwhile, we do know that lawmakers are continually looking at Utah’s Medical Cannabis law for ways to improve it. Our program is by no means perfect. However, numerous modifications over the years have made it better. Utah patients are in a far better place now than they were back in 2020.
If psychedelics are eventually approved for medical purposes, they will give patients yet another option. To us, this is most important. Prescription medications and traditional Western therapies are not always the right course of action. Patients need as many choices as possible.
Five years ago, there was no shortage of people who were convinced that Medical Cannabis would never come to Utah. Yet here we are. Thanks to public education and a well-worded ballot proposition, Utah patients now have access to Medical Cannabis.
Could psychedelics be next? Anything can happen. A few years from now, we might be writing blog posts about the benefits of psychedelics for a whole range of diseases and maladies. Stay tuned. We should know more about the fate of psychedelics in Utah within the next year or two.