Legal status of psilocybin mushrooms

The legal status of psilocybin mushrooms varies world-wide. Psilocybin and psilocin are listed as Schedule I drugs under the United Nations 1971 Convention on Psychotropic Substances. [cite web|title=List of psychotropic substances under international control|publisher=International Narcotics Control Board|month=August | year=2003|accessdate=2007-06-25|url=http://www.incb.org/pdf/e/list/green.pdf] Schedule I drugs are drugs with a high potential for abuse that have no recognized medical uses. The classification of psilocybin mushrooms as a schedule 1 drug has come under criticism because mushrooms are considered soft drugs with a low potential for abuse. Parties to the treaty are required to restrict use of the drug to medical and scientific research under strictly controlled conditions. Most national drug laws have been amended to reflect this convention (for example, the US Psychotropic Substances Act, the UK Misuse of Drugs Act 1971, and the Canadian Controlled Drugs and Substances Act), with possession and use of psilocybin and psilocin being prohibited under almost all circumstances, and often carrying severe legal penalties.

Possession and use of psilocybin mushrooms, including the bluing species of "Psilocybe", is therefore prohibited by extension. However, in many national, state, and provincial drug laws, there is a great deal of ambiguity about the legal status of psilocybin mushrooms, as well as a strong element of selective enforcement in some places. The legal status of "Psilocybe" spores is even more ambiguous, as the spores contain neither psilocybin nor psilocin, and hence are not illegal to sell or possess in many jurisdictions, though many jurisdictions will prosecute under broader laws prohibiting items that are used in drug manufacture. A few jurisdictions (such as the US states of Georgia and Idaho) have specifically prohibited the sale and possession of psilocybin mushroom spores. Cultivation of psilocybin mushrooms is considered drug manufacture in most jurisdictions and is often severely penalized, though some countries and one US state have ruled that growing psilocybin mushrooms does not qualify as "manufacturing" a controlled substance.Fact|date=November 2007

By country

British Virgin Islands

In the British Virgin Islands, where the mushrooms grow naturally, it is legal to possess and consume psilocybin mushrooms; however, their sale is illegal.

Bulgaria

In Bulgaria, possession and consumption of hallucinogenic mushrooms was legal and psilocybin in its pure form was considered a "Class 1" drug until recently, but it is now illegal to possess Psilocybin Mushrooms as well.Fact|date=September 2007

Belgium

In Belgium, cultivation of mushrooms have been prohibited since the enactment of the Criminal Law of February 24 1921. Possession and sale of mushrooms have been prohibitied since the Royal Decree of January 22 1998. [http://eldd.emcdda.europa.eu/?fuseaction=public.Content&nNodeID=17341&sLanguageISO=EN&LayoutFormat=print Legal status of hallucinogenic mushrooms] . European Legal Database on Drugs. Retrieved on 2007-09-23.]

Canada

Mushroom spore kits are legal and are sold openly in stores as the spores themselves are not illegal. Psilocybin and psilocin are illegal to produce, sell, or possess because it is a schedule III controlled substance. [cite web|url=http://www.canlii.org/ca/as/1996/c19/part3325.html|title=Chapter 19 (Bill C-8)|publisher= [http://www.canlii.org/ CanLII] |accessdate=2007-04-05]

Czech Republic

In the Czech Republic, possession and consumption of psilocybin mushrooms is legal but it is illegal to sell them. [ [http://info.interactivist.net/article.pl?sid=05/12/07/1542227&mode=nested&tid=11 Czech Republic Will Decriminalize Growing of Cannabis for Personal Use | Interactivist Info Exchange ] ]

Denmark

The sale, possession, and consumption of psilocybin have long been illegal; however the sale, possession, and consumption of psilocybin mushrooms was legal until July 1, 2001, when the Danish Ministry of Health prohibited them. [cite web|url=http://erowid.com/plants/mushrooms/mushrooms_law7.shtml|title=Danish Ministry of Health Makes Psilocybin Mushrooms Illegal|publisher=NORML|accessdate=2007-04-05]

Finland

As of 1 September, 2008, the new 1st section of the 50th chapter of the penal code specially prohibits (attempt of) growing Psilocybe mushroom. [ [http://www.finlex.fi/fi/laki/ajantasa/1889/18890039001#L50P1 Rikoslaki 50th chapter, 1st section] at Finlex (Finnish)] However, they have already been illegal to posses, grow, sell or use at least since 1 January, 1994 based on the chemicals they contain (psilocybin & psilocin) per UN Convention on Psychotropic Substances and especially "huumausaineasetus" of 1994. [ [http://www.finlex.fi/fi/laki/ajantasa/1993/19931603 Huumausaineasetus 30.12.1993/1603] and [http://www.finlex.fi/fi/laki/ajantasa/1993/19931289 Huumausainelaki 17.12.1993/1289] from Finlex (Finnish)]

Germany

The sale, possession, and cultivation of psilocybin have been illegal since Executive Order 698 of 1993

Japan

Prior to 2002, psilocybin mushrooms were widely available in Japan and were often sold in mail-order shops, online vendors and in head shops throughout Japan; according to Hideo Eno of Japan's Health Ministry narcotics division, prior to 2002, "You can find them [psilocybin mushrooms] anywhere."cite news|url=http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/asia-pacific/1984498.stm|title=Japan culls magic from mushrooms|publisher=BBC|accessdate=2007-04-05] In June 2002, Japan Health, Labor and Welfare Ministry added psilocybin mushrooms to Schedule Narcotics of Narcotic and Psychotropic Drug Control Law, possibly in preparation for the World Cup, and in response to a widely reported case of mushroom poisoning.cite news] On this subject, it should be noted that the psychedelic drugs are not physically toxic, and in the case of overdose it is impossible to die of the pharmacological effects of the drug alone. Use, production, trafficking, growing or possession of psilocybin mushrooms is now illegal in Japan.

Mexico

Psilocin and psilocybin are prohibited under the Ley General de Salud of 1984, which also specifically mentions psilocybin-containing fungi as being covered by the law, and mentions "Psilocybe mexicana" and "Psilocybe cubensis" in particular. [http://cdi.gob.mx/derechos/vigencia/ley_general_salud.pdf] However, these laws are rarely, if ever, enforced against indigenous users of psychoactive fungi. The Mexican government has also specifically taken the position that wild occurrence of "Psilocybe" does not constitute drug production. [ [http://www.unodc.org/unodc/bulletin/bulletin_1970-01-01_3_page002.html#bn35] ]

The Netherlands

In the Netherlands, unprocessed psychoactive mushrooms are legal to possess, are treated as soft drugs under the Netherlands' drug policy, and can be obtained in "smart shops" which specialize in ethnobotanicals.

Psychoactive mushrooms, whether dried or fresh were legal until 2001, when the Supreme Court of The Netherlands ruled dry mushrooms to be an illegal preparation of psilocybin and psilocin. The limitation to fresh mushrooms (which go bad quite fast) is severely reducing the export of psychoactive mushrooms. In a series of court cases during 2003-2005 this was challenged by a Dutch mushroom wholesaler. [ [http://www.sjamaan.com De Sjamaan] ] The vice president of the International Narcotics Control Board (INCB) of the UN testified to the court that the UN does not see dried or prepared psilocybin mushrooms as a controlled substance. Explanation: Psilocybin mushrooms are not listed as controlled substances, therefore preparations are also not controlled. Preparations of the controlled substances psilocybin and psilocin (i.e. tablets, etc) are controlled. Various mushroom experts have testified that there is no way to see the difference between passively and actively dried mushrooms.Fact|date=April 2007 The court decided to agree to other viewpoints of De Sjamaan in order not to touch the subject of the UN's stance. The court also decided not to publish the testimony of the vice president of the INCB. The high court ruled that:

* There is no definition in regards to water content, which differentiates between a dry mushroom and a fresh mushroom.
* Passively dried mushrooms (natural desiccation) are legal.
* A police officer is not skilled to differentiate between a fresh and dry mushroom.

In October 2007 the Dutch government announced plans to ban the sale of all magic mushrooms as a result of several incidents involving tourists. One of the incidents being a French tourist jumping from a bridge onto a road fatally wounding her. [http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/europe/7041961.stm] On April 25, 2008, the Dutch government, backed by a majority of members of parliament, decided to introduce a bill to parliament banning the cultivation and use of hallucinogenic or "magic mushrooms" , including the sale of dried mushrooms except fresh ones. [ [http://afp.google.com/article/ALeqM5iEADgdtkZqEa5Fll7Vf4IMMhnhBg Afp.google.com, Netherlands to ban 'magic mushrooms'] ] [ [http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/7369431.stm news.bbc.co.uk, Dutch bill to ban magic mushrooms] ]

New Zealand

In New Zealand, psilocybin mushrooms are class A drugs, putting them in the highest class of illicit compounds along with heroin and LSD. They do not have to be prepared in any way for possession to be illegal.

Republic of Ireland

Until 31 January, 2006, unprepared psilocybin mushrooms were legal in the Republic of Ireland. On that date they were made illegal by a ministerial order. This decision was partly based on the death of Dubliner Colm Hodkinson, age 33, at a Halloween party on 30th October 2005, after consuming legally purchased magic mushrooms and jumping off a balcony .Cite web|url=http://archives.tcm.ie/irishexaminer/2006/06/28/story7042.asp|title=Man jumped to death after taking magic mushrooms|accessdate=2006-12-01|publisher=Thomas Crosbie Holdings|year=2006|work=Irish Examiner|format=asp] This was given as the spur for the sudden ban (introduced without prior notice being given to retailers). It was debated (particularly in student newspapers) whether or not this may have been simply an excuse for the ban, as Colm Hodkinson had been consuming cannabis as well as alcohol during the day, which could have combined towards his death. Afterwards, at the inquest into Hodkinson's death, the results of the toxicology report revealed that the level of alcohol in his system was below the legal driving limit. The report also concluded that minimal traces of cannabis had been consumed and that psilocybin was the only substance that had been consumed in any significant volume. Soon after consuming the psilocybin mushrooms, Colm Hodkinson's mood deteriorated and he became frantic.

United Kingdom

As of 18 July 2005 [http://www.release.org.uk/news/MMStmt.pdf] , both dried and "prepared" (that is, made into a tea) psilocybin mushrooms were made illegal in the United Kingdom. Prior to this date, fresh mushrooms were widely available (even in city centre shops), but section 21 of the Drugs Act 2005 made fresh psychedelic mushrooms ("fungi containing psilocin"), a Class A drug. [ [http://www.lifeline.org.uk/new_sitefiles/articles/20050421_2.html] Dead link|date=February 2008] Prior to these laws being passed, possession and use of psilocybin and psilocin was prohibited, but courts had ruled the law did not apply to naturally-occurring substances containing these compounds, and for a brief period "Psilocybe cubensis" and other psilocybin mushrooms were sold in farmers markets. Mushrooms spores are not illegal, due to the fact they do not carry psilocin until they are cultivated.

United States

In the United States, possession of psilocybin-containing mushrooms is illegal because they contain the Schedule I drugs psilocin and psilocybin. Spores, however, which do not contain psychoactive chemicals, are only explicitly illegal in California, Idaho, Hawaii, Michigan, Tennessee and Georgia; however, in California, mushroom spores are legal to possess if they are not intended for use in cultivation and if they are not imported from outside California. [cite web|url=http://www.erowid.org/plants/mushrooms/mushrooms_law8.shtml|title=Legality of Psilocybin Mushroom Spores|date=2004-11-29|accessdate=2007-03-38] The Florida Supreme Court in 1978 ruled that possession of wild psilocybin mushrooms is not illegal;Cite web|url=http://www.erowid.org/plants/mushrooms/mushrooms_law.shtml|title=Psilocybin Mushrooms Legal Status|accessdate=2007-01-09|publisher=Erowid|year=2006|format=shtml] however, whether knowingly gathering wild psilocybin mushrooms for later use is illegal or not was not addressed in the decision. [ [http://www.erowid.org/plants/mushrooms/mushrooms_law3.shtml Erowid Psilocybin Mushroom Vault : Law : Fiske V. Florida ] ]

In all states, except New Mexico, growing psilocybin-containing mushrooms from spores is considered manufacture of a controlled substance. In New Mexico, on June 15, 2005, the New Mexico appeals court ruled that growing psilocybin mushrooms for personal use is not manufacture of a controlled substance.Cite web|url=http://www.freenewmexican.com/news/29120.html|title=Growing hallucinogenic mushrooms not illegal, state appeals court rules|accessdate=2006-12-01|publisher=Santa Fe New Mexican|year=2005|author=Barry Massey|work=Free New Mexican|format=html] [ [http://www.freenewmexican.com/news/29120.html Growing hallucinogenic mushrooms not illegal, state appeals court rules ] ]

References


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