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) 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.
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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 possessing psilocybin.
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 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 using and possessing 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). Meanwhile, Measure 109 establishes a legal framework for the medicinal use of psilocybin.
Oregon recently issued its first psilocybin therapy treatment center license, awarding it to EPIC Healing Eugene. The treatment model allows patients to participate in a psilocybin therapy administration session at a licensed location. Interested parties must complete a preparation session first, and it remains illegal to use psilocybin outside licensed centers.
Is psilocybin legal in California?
There have been many efforts to decriminalize magic mushrooms (wherein psilocybin is the active ingredient) for “medical, therapeutic, religious, spiritual and personal uses.”
For example, the California Psilocybin Legalization Initiative is an ongoing movement by the grassroots organization Decriminalize California (DECRIMCA).
Psilocybin legalization in California has already begun on smaller local levels.
Psilocybin legalization in the state has already begun locally, with city councils in Oakland and Santa Cruz passing measures in 2019 that have effectively decriminalized the use and possession of small amounts of psilocybin mushrooms.
Statewide decriminalization may happen sooner rather than later. The California State Legislature is considering decriminalizing several psychedelic substances, including psilocybin. If passed, Senate Bill 58 would remove criminal penalties for possessing, cultivating, and sharing small amounts of psychedelics such as DMT, psilocybin, and ibogaine.
SB 58 is working its way through the state’s legislature, and there are high hopes it will ultimately pass into law.
Is psilocybin legal in Colorado?
In May 2019 (via City Ordinance 301), Denver declared that the “adult possession and use of psilocybin mushrooms” had been decriminalized. This means possessing psilocybin in the city is not punishable as a criminal offense.
In October 2022, Colorado voters said ‘yes’ to Proposition 122. Also known as the Natural Medicine Health Act, Prop 122 decriminalized psilocybin, mescaline, ibogaine, and DMT amongst adults aged 21+. As in Oregon, patients will be allowed to consume the substance under supervision in a licensed healing center. The first such location will likely open towards the end of 2024.
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 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.
Overall, lawmakers in at least 11 states are looking into the possibility of psychedelics reform legislation.
Of course, much more research needs to be conducted on psilocybin and its derivatives before considering 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.
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.
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Psilocybin Legality: A Summary
As you can see, psilocybin’s legality in the USA is still extremely limited. The use and possession of the compound have been decriminalized across Oregon and in Colorado as long as patients consume the substance under supervision in a licensed treatment center. In the case of Colorado, you must wait until the end of 2024, at least before it is legally available.
Certain parts of California and the District of Columbia have also decriminalized psilocybin. However, the compound remains a federally illegal substance.
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.