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Where are mushrooms legal?

"Because magic mushrooms are legal to possess, use, and giveaway in certain localities all over the world - many providers ask those wishing to procure them to purchase a trinket of some kind instead - so that the sacred magic mushrooms may be 'given away' as a 'gift.'"

 

Mushrooms are currently decriminalized and available for use and sharing the following places within the US:

 

  • Washington, DC (citywide, with exception of Federal land/property)

  • California (select municipalities)

  • Oregon (entire state)

  • Washington State (select municipalities)

  • Colorado (select municipalities)

  • Michigan (select municipalities)

  • Massachusetts (select municipalities)

 

 

 

Psilocybin decriminalization in the United States - a recent history

The movement to decriminalize psilocybin in the United States began in 2019 with Denver, Colorado, becoming the first city to decriminalize psilocybin in May of that year. The cities of Oakland and Santa Cruz, California decriminalized psilocybin in June 2019 and January 2020, respectively. Washington, D.C., followed suit in November 2020, as did Somerville, Massachusetts, in January 2021, and then the neighboring Cambridge and Northampton in February 2021 and March 2021, respectively. Seattle, Washington, became the largest U.S. city on the growing list in October 2021. Detroit, Michigan followed in November 2021.

Supporters of the movement have cited emerging research that indicates potential medical uses for the drug. Oregon voters passed a 2020 ballot measure making it the first state to both decriminalize psilocybin and also legalize its supervised use.[1][2] Colorado followed with a similar measure in 2022.[3] The use, sale, and possession of psilocybin in the United States is illegal under federal law.

In May 2019, Denver, Colorado, became the first city in the United States to decriminalize psilocybin mushrooms after a ballot initiative narrowly won with 50.6% of the vote. The initiative did not legalize mushrooms, but prohibited Denver from spending any resources to prosecute people for their use or possession. The law applies to adults over the age of 21, and psilocybin remains illegal in Colorado.[15][16][5]

The following month in June 2019, thirty individuals testified to the city council in Oakland, California, about their prior experiences with psilocybin. Following the testimonies, the city council unanimously voted to decriminalize the drug, along with peyote.[14]

In January 2020, Santa Cruz, California, voted unanimously to decriminalize the adult possession and cultivation of psilocybin.[17] Commercial sale of psilocybin is still illegal.[10]

In September 2020, the City Council of Ann Arbor, Michigan, voted unanimously in favor of a resolution declaring the investigation or arrest of anyone for planting, cultivating, purchasing, transporting, distributing, engaging in practices with or possessing entheogenic plants or plant compounds to be the city's lowest law enforcement priority.[18][19]

In November 2020, the state of Oregon became the first U.S. state to both decriminalize psilocybin and also legalize it for supervised non-medical use after the Ballot Measure 109 passed.[1]

In November 2020, the District of Columbia passed initiative 81; the short title of the initiative was the Entheogenic Plant and Fungus Policy Act of 2020 and it came into effect on March 15, 2021. It decriminalizes psilocybin drugs, which are psychedelics including magic mushrooms, ayahuasca, and mescaline, making arrests for their possession or use the lowest priority for DC police.[20][21]

In January 2021, Washtenaw County, Michigan followed suit.[22] That same month, the City Council of Somerville, Massachusetts voted unanimously to decriminalize the possession of entheogenic plants, including psilocybin mushrooms and ibogaine.[23][24]

In February 2021, after continuous outreach by Bay Staters for Natural Medicine, the City Council of Cambridge, Massachusetts, and in March 2021, Northampton, Massachusetts followed.[25][26][27][28][29][30][31][32]

In October 2021, the City Council of SeattleWashington, and Arcata, California, voted unanimously to deprioritize enforcing entheogen prohibition.[33][34][35][36]

On October 20, 2021, the City Council of Easthampton, Massachusetts, voted 7–0 on a non-binding resolution[37] to support ending arrests for the growing of entheogenic plants and fungi, as well as to support decriminalization of the possession of most controlled substances.[38]

On November 3, 2021, Detroit voters approved Proposal E, making Detroit the latest city to "decriminalize nature", as supporters call it.[39] Proposal E, a ballot initiative, passed with 61% of voters supporting a law that will, "to the fullest extent permitted under Michigan law", make "the personal possession and therapeutic use of entheogenic plants by adults the city's lowest law-enforcement priority".[40]

On December 20, 2021, the City of Port Townsend, Washington, adopted a resolution requesting that "investigating, arrest, and prosecution of adults engaging in entheogen-related activities, included but not limited to... should be a City of Port Townsend low enforcement priority when done in a nonpublic place".[41]

On March 22, 2022, Hazel Park became the third Michigan city to decriminalize natural psychedelics.[42]

On September 7, 2022, San Francisco Board of Supervisors unanimously approved a measure calling for the decriminalization of the use of entheogenic plants.[43][44]

In March 2022, Colorado activists picked a psychedelic reform initiative (Proposition 122) out of three other similar initiatives and started a signature campaign to place the measure on the state's 2022 election ballot. By July 2022, the reform initiative made the Colorado ballot for the 2022 midterm elections.[45] The ballot initiative was passed in November 2022 by over 50% of those who voted. It decriminalizes the possession, growing, and sharing of five psychedelics for personal use: psilocybin, psilocyndimethyltryptamine (DMT), ibogaine, and mescaline, for those aged 21-years-old and over. The initiative will also legalize "healing centers" that are licensed by the state's Department of Regulatory Agencies, where those aged 21 and over can buy, consume, and take psychedelics under supervision. This healing center programme is expected to begin in 2024. It will at first only include psilocybin but allows for expansion to include DMT, ibogaine, and mescaline in 2026.[46][47]

In May 2023, Jefferson County, Washington, decriminalized the use of entheogenic plants and fungi.[48]

Outside the US

On 5 October 2022, the Canadian province of Alberta announced it would be among the first to regulate and allow the use of Psilocybin, LSDMDMAmescalineketamine, and DMT for medicinal purposes in drug-assisted psychotherapy. The new regulations come into effect in January 2023.[20] In 2022, Colorado became the second US state to legalize psilocybin mushrooms.[21]

On 5 February 2023, Australia approved psilocybin and MDMA in prescription medications for the treatment of PTSD and treatment resistant depression. This will go into effect starting 1 July 2023.[22]

Australia

From 1st July 2023, psilocybin will be legal in Australia for certain purposes. In February, the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) announced that it would allow medicines containing MDMA or psilocybin to be prescribed by authorised psychiatrists for specific mental health indications. 

However, access for psychiatrists and patients is set to be strict. If a GP feels that psilocybin-assisted therapy is appropriate then they can refer their patient to a psychiatrist who is an authorised prescriber. Currently, patients will only be able to access psilocybin for treatment-resistant depression. 

To prescribe psilocybin, psychiatrists will need approval from both a human research ethics committee and the TGA. Following approval, psychiatrists will need to supervise the patient when they take psilocybin, and this must be in a clinical setting. 

Unfortunately, similar to Oregon, accessing psilocybin-assisted therapy in Australia is likely to be expensive. Treatment is set to cost around AUD $25,000-$35,000 (£13,500-£19,000), with the cost of psilocybin itself estimated at AUD $1,000-$2,000. This has been attributed to the fact that the TGA has yet to approve any products that contain psilocybin or MDMA, meaning that psychiatrists will have to source and supply the unapproved medicines themselves.

Nepal

In Nepal psilocybin mushrooms are classed as an ‘uncontrolled substance’, meaning their possession, sale, and supply is fully legal. Despite this, the country hasn’t created a commercial mushroom market, and so psilocybin isn’t sold in shops. Instead, mushrooms are cultivated and sold via informal markets. 

 

 

Legal (ish)

Bahamas

The sale, possession and consumption of magic mushrooms is legal in the Bahamas, and the island contains a range of health and wellness retreats. However, psilocybin and psilocin is illegal under the United Nations Convention on Narcotic Drugs, of which the Bahamas is a signatory. 

 

Brazil

When it comes to magic mushrooms, Brazil’s laws are very interesting. The country’s legislation states that psilocybin and psilocin are illegal, but this only extends to the molecule itself and not the mushrooms containing the molecule. As well as this, the country has no recorded arrests for the consumption, possession or cultivation of magic mushrooms. 

This means that mushrooms are openly sold and consumed throughout Brazil, although this often takes the form of informal markets, similar to Nepal. 

 

British Virgin Islands

It is legal to possess and consume magic mushrooms where they naturally grow within the British Virgin Islands. Their sale is illegal, although this is largely unenforced and many businesses openly sell them. 

 

Canada

In Canada psilocybin remains an illegal schedule III substance, which means that it is illegal to possess, produce or obtain without an exemption or a licence. However, the Canadian government has introduced provisions to allow individuals to access psilocybin through a Special Access Program (SAP). This allows access to substances that are yet to be approved, but may be helpful in specific instances. 

 

This means that individuals in Canada may be able to legally access psilocybin-assisted treatments in cases where conditions are treatment-resistant or where conventional treatments are unavailable or unsuitable. However, there must be sufficient evidence for the drug requested and the drug must have good availability. 

 

Despite this strict and specific route of access, the recreational psilocybin market in Canada has been doing well. Multiple ‘dispensaries’ that openly sell magic mushrooms have popped up across the country, with little interference from the criminal justice system. 

 

Jamaica

Jamaica has been praised for being one of the most open countries in the world to psilocybin and psychedelics more broadly. Although the substance has never been explicitly legalised or decriminalised, legislation allows for the traditional and religious use of magic mushrooms. Mushrooms are openly cultivated, distributed and consumed, and the island has become a popular destination for psychedelic retreats.

 

 

The Netherlands

Amsterdam. The Netherlands are well known for their relaxed laws when it comes to drug regulation, namely cannabis and mushrooms. Psilocybin mushrooms have been illegal since 2008. However, a loophole in the law means that psilocybin truffles, the fruiting body of the fungus, are legal to possess and sell. Therefore, ‘magic truffles’ are openly sold in ‘smart shops’ across the country and there is a growing psychedelic therapy scene.

 

Thailand

Magic mushrooms are sold openly in shops across Thailand and their consumption is popular amongst tourists. However, psilocybin is actually illegal and classed as a category 5 narcotic. Despite this, in 2022 the Thai government announced that they would be exploring the legalisation of psilocybin mushrooms for medicinal purposes. 

 

St. Vincent and the Grenadines

This Caribbean island has also been praised for its open attitude towards psychedelics. In 2020, the government legalised the production and transport of all psychedelics, including psilocybin, alongside treatment and research. In March 2022, the first licence to produce psychedelic compounds was given to Med Plant Science. 

Decriminalised

 

Austria

Austria decriminalised the personal possession and consumption of psilocybin mushrooms in 2016. Cultivation is permitted as long as the mushrooms aren’t harvested, although transport and sale remain illegal.

 

Czechia

Czechia decriminalised possession of small quantities of psilocybin mushrooms for personal use in 2009. According to the legislation, an individual may have up to ‘40 pieces’ on their person, and if caught in possession up to this amount will face a misdemeanour rather than a criminal record. 

Portugal

Portugal decriminalised the possession of small amounts of all drugs, including psilocybin in 2001, becoming the first country to do so. If caught in possession, an individual will not face criminal sanctions, but will instead be sent to an administrative panel which may recommend drug treatment and support services.

 

Spain

Magic mushrooms are partially decriminalised in Spain, meaning that cultivation and possession for personal use is allowed. However, it is illegal to sell and distribute mushrooms and penalties for possession in a public place and supply include  imprisonment and a fine. 

Legalisation news and advancements

 

Although many countries are yet to legalise or decriminalise psilocybin, there are a few jurisdictions where this may soon be on the cards. 

In the UK, psilocybin is currently a class A, schedule 1 controlled drug – meaning that recreational use is prohibited and that it isn’t deemed to have medical value. Therefore, it is difficult to explore psiloycbin’s therapeutic uses due to expensive and time consuming regulatory barriers. Despite this, campaigners have been working towards rescheduling the drug, so that scientists may fully explore its applications, namely to mental health. 

 

Optimism is brewing that the UK government may take notice and act on this, most recently with the parliamentary debate on access to psilocybin treatments. The debate enjoyed cross-party support from MPs, and it is hoped with events like this taking place, the UK government may finally be considering relaxing its harsh stance on psilocybin. 

 

Across the pond, there are several states to look out for when it comes to the decriminalisation/legalisation of psilocybin. 

 

In Connecticut, a bill to decriminalise the possession of psilocybin has recently passed in the House of Representatives and is moving onto the Senate. Under the legislation possession would be punishable with a fine, rather than a criminal record, and those found guilty three times would be referred to drug education services. 

 

Similarly, in California a bill to legalise the possession of psychedelics has also made its way to the Senate, after being allowed to skip the committee stage. If passed, the bill would allow for the possession of certain amounts of psychedelics such as DMT, ibogaine, mescaline and psilocybin. However, ‘synthetic’ psychedelics such as MDMA and LSD would remain illegal. 

 

This piece was written by Volteface Content and Media Officer Megan Townsend. She is particularly interested in the reform of drug legislation, subcultural drug use and harm reduction initiatives. She also has an MA in Criminology from Birmingham City University. Additional information sourced from wikipedia.com. 

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