Connect with us


Utah Governor Lets Psychedelics Pilot Program Bill Become Law Without His Signature, Citing ‘Overwhelming Support’



The Republican governor of Utah has allowed a bill to become law without his signature that authorizes a pilot program for hospitals to administer psilocybin and MDMA as an alternative treatment option.

Gov. Spencer Cox (R) said in a letter to legislative leaders last week that he was letting the psychedelics legislation become enacted despite his reservations due to the “overwhelming support” it received, with both chambers unanimously approving the measure.

“I am generally supportive of scientific efforts to discover the benefits of new substances that can relieve suffering,” Cox said. “However, we have a task force that was set up specifically to advise the Legislature on the best ways to study Psilocybin and I’m disappointed that their input was ignored.”

The governor didn’t specify which specific task force recommendations he wanted to see incorporated, but the panel did advise against authorizing the regulated use of psychedelics before they’re approved by the federal Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

Lawmakers have cited the panel’s findings to support advancing the pilot program legislation from Senate Majority Whip Kirk Cullimore (R) and House Speaker Pro Tempore James Dunnigan (R).

The newly enacted measure provides for that regulated access at two types of health care systems in the state. Psychedelics can be administered by a privately owned, non-profit health care system with at least 15 licensed hospitals or within medical programs operated by institutions of higher education.

“A healthcare system may develop a behavioral health treatment program that includes a treatment” with psilocybin and MDMA that it “determines is supported by a broad collection of scientific and medical research,” the bill says.

By July 1, 2026, any hospital that establishes a psychedelics therapy pilot program will need to submit a report to the legislature that details which drugs are being utilized, healthcare outcomes of patients and any reported side effects.

The legislation Cox allowed to become enacted will take effect on May 1, 2024 and sunset after three years.

What’s unclear about the legislation is whether its implementation will create any legal liabilities, as hospitals and universities must typically adhere to federal regulations and both psychedelics are still currently Schedule I drugs under the Controlled Substances Act (CSA).

In any case, Utah is of several states where lawmakers are working to advance psychedelics reform legislation, with a focus on therapeutic use.

Marijuana Moment is tracking more than 1,400 cannabis, psychedelics and drug policy bills in state legislatures and Congress this year. Patreon supporters pledging at least $25/month get access to our interactive maps, charts and hearing calendar so they don’t miss any developments.

Learn more about our marijuana bill tracker and become a supporter on Patreon to get access.

For example, an Illinois Senate committee held a hearing last week to discuss a bill to legalize psilocybin and allow regulated access at service centers in the state where adults could use the psychedelic in a supervised setting—with plans to expand the program to include mescaline, ibogaine and DMT.

The governor of Indiana signed a bill that includes provisions to fund clinical research trials on the therapeutic benefits of psilocybin.

The Maryland Senate and House of Delegates both passed legislation to create a psychedelics task force responsible for studying possible regulatory frameworks for therapeutic access to substances such as psilocybin, mescaline and DMT. It would be charged specifically with ensuring “broad, equitable and affordable access to psychedelic substances” in the state. A companion measure is also advancing in the Senate.

An Arizona House panel also approved a Senate-passed bill to legalize psilocybin service centers where people could receive the psychedelic in a medically supervised setting.

Vermont lawmakers are considering legislation to establish a working group to study whether and how to allow therapeutic access to psychedelics in the state.

Also this month, a Missouri House committee unanimously approved a bill to legalize the medical use of psilocybin by military veterans and fund studies exploring the therapeutic potential of the psychedelic.

Connecticut lawmakers held a recent hearing on a bill to decriminalize possession of psilocybin.

A Vermont legislative panel continued its consideration this month of a bill that would legalize psilocybin in the state and establish a work group on how to further regulate psychedelics for therapeutic use.

The governor of New Mexico recently endorsed a newly enacted resolution requesting that state officials research the therapeutic potential of psilocybin and explore the creation of a regulatory framework to provide access to the psychedelic.

Lawmakers in Hawaii are also continuing to advance a bill that would provide some legal protections to patients engaging in psilocybin-assisted therapy with a medical professional’s approval.

New York lawmakers also said that a bill to legalize psilocybin-assisted therapy in that state has a “real chance” of passing this year.

Bipartisan California lawmakers also recently introduced a bill to legalize psychedelic service centers where adults 21 and older could access psilocybin, MDMA, mescaline and DMT in a supervised environment with trained facilitators.

A Nevada joint legislative committee held a hearing with expert and public testimony on the therapeutic potential of substances like psilocybin in January. Law enforcement representatives also shared their concerns around legalization—but there was notable acknowledgement that some reforms should be enacted, including possible rescheduling.

The governor of Massachusetts recently promoted the testimony of activists who spoke in favor of her veterans-focused bill that would, in part, create a psychedelics work group to study the therapeutic potential of substances such as psilocybin.

California Bill Would Roll Back Marijuana Employment Protections For Law Enforcement Jobs

Photo courtesy of Dick Culbert.

Marijuana Moment is made possible with support from readers. If you rely on our cannabis advocacy journalism to stay informed, please consider a monthly Patreon pledge.
Become a patron at Patreon!

Marijuana News In Your Inbox

Get our daily newsletter.

Support Marijuana Moment

Marijuana News In Your Inbox


Get our daily newsletter.