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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. Schedule I drugs are drugs with a high potential for abuse that have no recognized medical uses.

However, psilocybin mushrooms are not regulated by UN treaties. From a letter, dated Sept 13, 2001, from Herbert Schaepe, Secretary of the UN International Narcotics Control Board, to the Dutch Ministry of Health:
As you are aware, mushrooms containing the above substances are collected and abused for their hallucinogenic effects.
As a matter of international law, no plants (natural material) containing psilocine and psilocybin are at present controlled under the Convention on Psychotropic Substances of 1971.
Consequently, preparations made of these plants are not under international control and, therefore, not subject of the articles of the 1971 Convention.
It should be noted, however, that criminal cases are decided with reference to domestic law, which may otherwise provide for controls over mushrooms containing psilocine and psilocybin.
As the Board can only speak as to the contours of the international drug conventions, I am unable to provide an opinion on the litigation in question.


UN recommendations notwithstanding, many countries have some level of regulation or prohibition of psilocybin mushrooms (for example, the US Psychotropic Substances Act, the UK Misuse of Drugs Act 1971, and the Canadian Controlled Drugs and Substances Act). The prohibition of psilocybin mushrooms has come under criticism because mushrooms are considered soft drugs with a low potential for abuse.

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.

By country

British Virgin Islands

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

Bulgaria

In Bulgariamarker, 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.

Belgium

In Belgiummarker, 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.

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.



Czech Republic

In the Czech Republicmarker, possession and consumption of psilocybin mushrooms is legal but it is illegal to sell them.

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.

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. However, they have already been illegal to possess, 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.

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." 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. 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. 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.

The Netherlands

Since December 2008 possession of both dry and fresh psychoactive mushrooms has been forbidden by law. The Openbaar Ministerie – the Dutch prosecutor’s office – stated that prosecution shall be started on possession of 0.5g dried or 5g fresh psychoactive mushrooms. Possession of these minor amounts is allowed and won’t lead to a criminal charge.Before December 2008, unprocessed psychoactive mushrooms were legal to possess, they were not covered under the opium law, therefore making them legal to possess, consume and sell, and could be obtained in "smart shops" which specialize in ethnobotanical.

Psychoactive mushrooms, whether dried or fresh were legal until 2001, when the Hoge Raad der Nederlanden – 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. 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. 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 Hoge Raad 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 Gaelle Caroff, a French tourist, jumping from a building onto a road fatally wounding her. 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. The Dutch VLOS organization answered this decision with a preliminary injunction, but on November 28 it was published that they lost this.

New Zealand

In New Zealandmarker, 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 Irelandmarker. 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 30 October 2005, after consuming legally purchased magic mushrooms and jumping off a balcony . His inquest showed that there were minimal trace of cannabis, and traces of alcohol which were under the national driving limit in his system.

United Kingdom

As of 18 July 2005, both dried and "prepared" (that is, dried, cooked or made into a tea) psilocybin mushrooms were made illegal in the United Kingdommarker. 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. 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 drug psilocin and psilocybin. Spores, however, which do not contain psychoactive chemicals, are only explicitly illegal in Georgiamarker and Idahomarker. Additionally spores are illegal to import, buy, sell, trade, or give away in Californiamarker if intended to be cultivated. The Florida Supreme Courtmarker in 1978 ruled that possession of wild psilocybin mushrooms is not illegal; however, whether knowingly gathering wild psilocybin mushrooms for later use is illegal or not was not addressed in the decision.

In all states, except New Mexicomarker, 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.

References

  1. UN's INCB Psilocybin Mushroom Policy
  2. Legal status of hallucinogenic mushrooms. European Legal Database on Drugs. Retrieved on 2007-09-23.
  3. Czech Republic Will Decriminalize Growing of Cannabis for Personal Use | Interactivist Info Exchange
  4. Rikoslaki 50th chapter, 1st section at Finlex (Finnish)
  5. Huumausaineasetus 30.12.1993/1603 and Huumausainelaki 17.12.1993/1289 from Finlex (Finnish)
  6. http://cdi.gob.mx/derechos/vigencia/ley_general_salud.pdf
  7. [1]
  8. Openbaar Ministerie (12-01-2008). Paddoverbod van kracht. Retrieved on December 2, 2008.
  9. De Sjamaan
  10. Afp.google.com, Netherlands to ban 'magic mushrooms'
  11. news.bbc.co.uk, Dutch bill to ban magic mushrooms
  12. NRC News "Smartshops lose injunction ban on shrooms" (in Dutch)
  13. http://www.release.org.uk/news/MMStmt.pdf
  14. [2]
  15. Erowid Psilocybin Mushroom Vault : Law : Fiske V. Florida
  16. Growing hallucinogenic mushrooms not illegal, state appeals court rules


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