Utah Legislature Seeks to Close Loopholes in Peyote Law

January 19, 2006

Source: The Arizona Republic

Wire Service: AP


On January 19, 2006 the Associated Press reported, "A proposal before the Utah Legislature would limit the use of peyote to federally recognized Indian tribes during traditional religious ceremonies. Peyote is illegal for general use, but federal law allows for limited use in American Indian religious ceremonies. The Utah bill is intended to prevent people from escaping prosecution by claiming Indian heritage and religious use of peyote without being able to prove it. The bill follows state and federal court cases against James and Linda Mooney, founders of the Oklevueha EarthWalks Native American Church of Utah. In 2000, the couple was charged with drug distribution for providing peyote to members of and visitors to their church. A state court conviction of the couple was struck down by the Utah Supreme Court, which said Utah law failed to recognize portions of federal law that restrict peyote use to members of federally recognized tribes."