Are Magic Mushrooms Legal in Some States?
November 4, 2022
Clearing up the confusion around psilocybin decriminalization.
Psilocybin—the psychedelic compound found in certain fungi (a.k.a. magic mushrooms)—is all the rage right now, and for good reason. Loads of new science supports its long-enjoyed benefits to mental health. As a result, new legislation seeking to decriminalize or legalize its possession and use throughout the country is seemingly announced daily. But much of it is confusing for those without intricate knowledge of the law, and you may be wondering: Where, if anywhere, are magic mushrooms legal?
First and foremost, it’s important to understand that most measures in the US are centered around decriminalizing psilocybin rather than legalizing it. According to Matthew Duffy, cofounder of SPORE, the Society for Psychedelic Outreach, Reform, and Education, the key difference between legalization and decriminalization is that decrim doesn’t include the buying and selling of psilocybin. “Legalization of a substance, essentially, means permission to commodify it,” he says. In other words, in places where magic mushrooms have been decriminalized, it’s still not legal to buy or sell them.
So, what do these new laws permit? Full decriminalization, Duffy explains, means there are no criminal penalties at all associated with growing, gifting, gathering, or transporting the drug. But the broad term “decriminalization” can also refer to partial decriminalization, e.g. the decriminalization of possession of a certain amount of psilocybin, or the decriminalization of certain activities associated with psilocybin, like growing or gifting it.
Of course, some are capitalizing on the ambiguity around these new laws, which is why you might see psilocybin for sale—albeit quietly—in places where decrim has been adopted. “In places that are decriminalized—like Denver, Santa Cruz and Oakland in California, and now Oregon—I've seen people selling, but it's not legal,” Duffy says. “It's just that the criminal penalties around commercial exchange are gray, so some people are taking advantage of that.” For example, a shop might sell you something unrelated to psilocybin and then gift you psilocybin, which enables you to “purchase” psilocybin in a way that is technically legal.
Below, find more intel on the various psilocybin-related measures being adopted across the country.