Understanding Psilocybin Legality in the USA

The following is for informational purposes only. WayofLeaf does NOT advocate the illegal sale, use, or possession of any psychedelics. Be sure to research, understand, and follow all laws and regulations relating to the use and possession of psychedelics in the state or region you live.

For the millions of Americans asking the question, ‘is psilocybin legal in the USA,’ the simple answer is no. Psilocybin remains a Schedule I illicit substance nationwide under the Drug Enforcement Administration’s (DEA’s) Controlled Substances Act.

However, Oregon’s recent decriminalization of small amounts of drugs (including magic mushrooms, heroin, LSD, and methamphetamine) and legalization of psilocybin for medical use has more and more Americans curious as to the state-by-state legality of psilocybin and other drugs.

For a complete answer to the question ‘is psilocybin legal,’ continue reading below.

Psilocybin Legal States

Again, for those wondering if psilocybin is legal in the USA, the explicit answer is no. There are no areas of the United States where psilocybin is recreationally legal to purchase and use. The DEA issues select licenses for the scientific use and study of psilocybin, but these are rare and are tightly controlled at the federal level.

That being said, enforcement of psilocybin as a Schedule I substance has historically been difficult. This is because the DEA does not keep an explicit list of psilocybin-containing mushroom species. Also, mushroom use is far less prevalent across the USA than other drugs (for example, cannabis). For these two reasons, it is relatively uncommon for individuals to be criminally charged with possession of psilocybin.

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Of course, the state of Oregon (as well as several city councils in California and Colorado) have recently decriminalized the use and possession of small amounts of psilocybin and other drugs. Oregon has also passed Measure 109, which legalizes the medicinal/therapeutic use of psilocybin for mental health conditions like depression and PTSD.

Here’s a brief rundown regarding current psilocybin decriminalization in different areas of the United States.

Is psilocybin legal in California?

The California Psilocybin Legalization Initiative is an ongoing movement by the grassroots organization Decriminalize California (DECRIMCA). The initiative is currently aiming to decriminalize the use of magic mushrooms (wherein psilocybin is the active ingredient) for “medical, therapeutic, religious, spiritual and personal uses.” The goal is to land the initiative on the California ballot for the upcoming November 2022 state elections.

Psilocybin legalization in California has already begun on smaller local levels.

However, psilocybin legalization in California has already begun on smaller local levels, with city councils in Oakland and Santa Cruz passing measures back in 2019 that have effectively decriminalized the use and possession of small amounts of psilocybin mushrooms.

Is psilocybin legal in Colorado?

Psilocybin legalization in Colorado is similar to that of California. While full state-wide legalization has not yet been passed, the city of Denver declared back in May 2019 (via City Ordinance 301) that the “adult possession and use of psilocybin mushrooms” had been decriminalized. What this means is that possession of psilocybin in the city is not punishable by a criminal offense.

Is psilocybin legal in Oregon?

Psilocybin legality in Oregon is garnering the majority of attention among American citizens. In November 2020, the state voted in favor of Measure 110, which legalizes the use and possession of small amounts of drugs, including magic mushrooms/psilocybin. Oregon voters also passed Measure 109, which allows the Oregon Health Authority to implement a state-run program that will legalize and oversee the medicinal use of psilocybin for several mental health conditions.

Neither measure, however, means that residents (either in-state or out-of-state) can purchase psilocybin mushrooms for legal use in Oregon. Measure 110 decriminalizes psilocybin (although users can still be charged a fine and/or admitted into a drug rehabilitation center), while Measure 109 establishes a legal framework for the medicinal use of psilocybin.

Additional Info on Legal Psilocybin States

It’s clear that psilocybin legality in the United States is changing. While there is still a long way to go to reach full nationwide decriminalization, interest in the psychedelic compound (for both recreational and therapeutic purposes) is increasing tremendously. For example, the District of Columbia has also recently passed decriminalization measures similar to those that are in place in Oregon, California, and Colorado.

Of course, much more research needs to be conducted on psilocybin and its derivatives before the consideration of broader-scale legalization.

The Future of Psilocybin Legalization

Those interested in ongoing efforts to legalize psilocybin are urged to visit educational resources such as Decriminalize California (DECRIMCA) and Multidisciplinary Resources for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS). These outlets provide a wealth of information relating to psilocybin use, legalization, and contemporary medicinal research. Likewise, the Psychedelic Medicine Association is also an excellent resource for reliable, accurate information on psilocybin and other psychedelic drugs.

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Where is psilocybin legal globally?

Globally, there are a few countries where psilocybin is legal. However, in many cases, the laws are almost as complex as America’s. Here are a few examples:

  • Bahamas: Magic mushrooms are not banned. However, according to the Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs, psilocybin and psilocin are controlled substances.
  • Brazil: While psilocin and psilocybin are illegal, various fungal species that contain them are not.
  • Czech Republic: Cultivating small amounts of psilocybin-containing mushrooms has been decriminalized.
  • Jamaica: There are currently no laws regulating the sale and possession of psilocybin. Magic mushrooms are sold openly in Jamaica.
  • Nepal: There are currently no laws against psilocybin mushrooms.
  • Netherlands: Mushrooms are illegal, but you can consume psilocybin via magic truffles.
  • Portugal: The drug is decriminalized in Portugal.

We advise you to look into your nation’s laws in further depth before considering the use of psilocybin in any form.

Psilocybin Legality: A Summary

As you can see, psilocybin legality in the USA is still extremely limited. While use and possession of the compound has been decriminalized across Oregon and parts of Colorado, California, and the District of Columbia – psilocybin is still illegal federally under the DEA’s List of Controlled Substances.

Psilocybin is still illegal federally under the DEA’s List of Controlled Substances.

However, this may be changing in years to come as research advances, and we learn more about the full use and potential of psilocybin and other similar psychedelic substances.

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