What’s the Legal Status of Magic Mushrooms and How Does It Affect You?

If you know your psilocybin history, then you’ve probably heard of Timothy Leary, the psychologist and strong advocate of psychedelic drugs whose psilocybin studies contributed greatly to the American counter culture movement in the 60s. Leary was actually inspired by a 1955 article published in Life magazine in which R. Gordon Wasson gave an account of his first-hand experience with magic mushrooms down in Mexico. Wasson and a colleague had also brought back some psychedelic mushrooms from Mexico which Albert Hofmann, the father of LSD, isolated and extracted psilocybin and psilocin.

From that point, life would never be the same again for Leary, who began experimenting with magic mushrooms at Harvard University, a quest that would cost him his job and have him labelled “the most dangerous man in America” by President Nixon. In 1968, magic mushrooms were declared illegal in the United States, and other countries like Canada followed suit. In 1971 Canada signed onto the Convention on Psychotropic Substances which formalized the banning of psychedelics across the world.

The Controlled Drugs and Substances Act

The Controlled Drugs and Substances Act was passed in 1996 and is a repeal of the Narcotic Control Act as well as parts of the Food and Drugs Act. Psilocybin is listed as a schedule III drug in the act. The passage of this law was actually a shift in the way Canadian authorities think and handle drug and substance-related offences. Although you can still incur a fine or jail time for possession of these prohibited drugs, the act considers extraneous circumstances during sentencing because it now views drug offences as a public health concern.

This change of attitude towards illicit drugs was set into motion in 1969 when the Canadian government set up a commission to review the system’s policy on drugs. The Le Dain Commission, as it was known, finished its work in 1972 and recommended several things, including decriminalizing the possession and use of marijuana. It also called for the gradual decriminalization of other drugs as further investigation into the drugs was undertaken. What the Commission was saying, in a nut shell, is that drug possession and use should be viewed as a public health issue and not as a criminal court matter. Unfortunately, the Canadian government sat on its hands on the issue, and only in 2018 decriminalized recreational use of marijuana for persons over 18.

Where Does This Leave Magic Mushrooms?

At the moment magic mushrooms are illegal under the Controlled Drug and Substances Act, meaning you’re not permitted to possess, obtain or produce them without a prescription or license. However, magic mushroom spores and spore kits are not in themselves illegal, and you can grow and consume the mushrooms without running into trouble with the law.

In September 2019, there was an attempt to crack down on the sale of magic mushrooms by the Vancouver council, but the motion was defeated. Clearly, magic mushrooms are no longer seen as the threat they were thought to be during the counter culture movement of the ‘60s.

The relaxed mood regarding enforcement of the Controlled Drug and Substances Act means that users can take this opportunity to enjoy the benefits that magic mushrooms provide. The best way to do this is by buying magic mushrooms online which guarantees the privacy of your package. Using mail order means that the police are unlikely to interfere with your parcel. That said, we still recommend utmost discretion when consuming magic mushrooms.

After 50 years of psychedelics being illegal in the United States, the FDA has recently approved studies to explore their positive effects in treating depression, PTSD, addiction, and more. The early results are impressive.

Denver has become the first city in America to decriminalize psychedelic mushrooms. The city of Oakland is now the 2nd city in the US to decriminalize the adult use and procession of magic mushrooms (counsel unanimously agreed to decriminalize the use, procession, and cultivation of psychedelic plants). It’s likely just a matter of time before Canada does the same similar to Cannabis. The adventures have just begun.

Treatment Prospects

Luckily, the act having recognized the potential benefits of some psychoactive compounds allows the Health Minister to exempt substances like psilocybin for medical or scientific purposes. Several institutions have applied for these exemptions as they seek treatments for psychological problems such as depression and anxiety related to terminal illness.

The University of Toronto Mississauga is one such institution. It has already applied to Health Canada for the approval of its Psychedelic Studies Research Program. The University of Toronto plans to carry out the world’s first clinical trials on microdosing psilocybin.

The People Behind The Fight For Legalization

There are also individuals who have taken on the fight to have the ban on magic mushrooms fully lifted such as Bruce Tobin, a Psychotherapist and professor at the University of Victoria. Tobin is driven a strong desire to see cancer patients suffering from end of life distress get psychological support using psychoactive drugs like psilocybin.

He got interested in psilocybin a decade ago when a cancer patient who was suffering from intense depression approached him for help. Even after going through remission the woman still lived in constant fear that the cancer would return. But after trying psilocybin mushrooms she was able to overcome her depression and anxiety.

Since then Tobin has been fighting for patients to access psilocybin, and believes there are about 3,000 people in Canada who can benefit from medical psilocybin. He’s already written to Health Canada requesting special exemption from the current drug laws to allow him to acquire psilocybin for use in treating terminally ill cancer patients who have depression that can’t be treated through conventional means.

Tobin says he’ll file a motion in federal court asking for a judicial review of The Controlled Drugs and Substances Act if Health Canada fail to respond to his request for exemption. If his motion is defeated there, he plans to go all the way to the Supreme Court.

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