Supreme Court ruling prompts study of peyote case

Attorneys for the state of Utah are studying the U.S. Supreme Court's ruling in a religious freedom case to determine the effect it may have on the use of peyote by non-tribal members.

The state prosecuted James "Flaming Eagle" Mooney, a self-proclaimed medicine man, and his wife for possession and distribution of peyote. But even though neither is a member of a federally recognized tribe, the Utah Supreme Court threw out the case because state law doesn't allows peyote use by anyone who claims to belong to the Native American Church.

The state is now seeking to change the law to limit peyote to federally recognized tribal members. But the Supreme Court, in a case involving a religious sect in New Mexico, said that any exception carved out for tribal members can theoretically be carved out for non-Indians.

Get the Story:
Ruling may affect Utah peyote case (Bloomberg News 2/22)

Supreme Court Decision:
Gonzales v. UDV (February 21, 2006)

Utah Peyote Bill:
Controlled Substance Amendments (HB 60)

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