Disclaimer: Psilocybin and the closely related compound psilocin are potentially illegal substances, and we do not encourage or condone use where it is against the law. However, we accept that illegal drug use occurs, and believe that offering responsible harm reduction information is imperative to keeping people safe. For that reason, this guide is designed to ensure the safety of those who decide to use the substance. We do not encourage using this drug outside of a legal or traditional context.
This article has been medically reviewed by Katrina Oliveros, MSN-ED, BSN
Psilocybin is a miracle of the natural world. It’s a powerful, intense psychoactive substance found in hundreds of species of fungi that are often called magic mushrooms, psychedelic mushrooms, or shrooms.
Consumption of psilocybin mushrooms has been part of traditional cultures for centuries, and some of these mushrooms could be growing in your backyard right now.
It’s strange then that these common fungi have been deemed illegal in many countries. This guide aims to inform you about where mushrooms are legal across the world as well as the changing legality of psilocybin and the organisms that contain it.
A Brief History of the Legality of Mushrooms
Psilocybin mushrooms have a long history of traditional use, beginning with groups of Aboriginal Australians tens of thousands of years ago, and continuing to Mesoamerican cultures whose descendants still use psilocybin to this day. Rock paintings dated 9000-7000 BCE found in the Sahara Desert region even depict mushroom use. Many cultures considered them sacred, and surviving indigenous groups in Central America continue to use them.
Contemporary American Discovery
The use of psilocybin mushrooms by western cultures did not become common until the 1950s. A mycologist (mushroom scientist) named R. Gordon Wasson first observed and recorded their use in a ritual he witnessed in Mexico, and published a piece about them in Life Magazine. Wasson brought a mushroom back from his trip and worked with Albert Hofmann, the Swiss scientist who had been the first to discover and ingest LSD in 1943, to isolate its psychedelic compounds.
Wasson’s article caught the attention of American psychologist Timothy Leary. He ran experiments at Harvard University and started the Harvard Psilocybin Project. He and his partner Richard Alpert documented how the drug affected consciousness by administering mushrooms to volunteer test subjects and using the mushrooms themselves.
Eventually, their unorthodox approach to research (and advocacy for recreational magic mushroom use) led to dismissal from Harvard in 1963 and banishment from academia. But by then, word of the mushrooms’ power had spread, and they had already taken root in the counter-cultural hippie movement.
Banning of Psilocybin
The reasons behind the prohibition of psilocybin-containing fungi date back to the drug war of the ‘60s and ‘70s. Like LSD, psilocybin was seen as a hallucinogenic drug that was empowering the counterculture movement of the time. Or–more likely–as a potential scapegoat that could be used to retain the government’s control over anti-war and liberal groups.
The Vienna Convention of 1971 was a UN attempt–spearheaded by the United States–to counter the growing popularity of psychotropic drugs such as LSD and psilocybin. It suggested a scheduling system for all participating countries to classify drugs into categories of harmful and controlled substances.
Psilocybin falls into an interesting gray area here. The Vienna Convention was designed to target the manufacturing of synthetic psychotropics like LSD and MDMA. However, psilocybin is a naturally occurring substance.
Therefore, similarly to the legal status of the natural psychedelic ayahuasca, the legal status of psilocybin is unclear, even in those countries that are party to the Vienna Convention.
There is no science or reason behind the prohibition of psilocybin. To this day, there is no evidence of harm from the occasional sensible use of the substance, either short-term or long-term. In fact, a growing body of evidence suggests that psilocybin and other psychedelics may be effective in treating conditions like depression and anxiety.
Despite this, most countries have decided to treat psilocybin as a Schedule 1 drug, imposing the harshest possible punishments for its possession and sale. Unfortunately, drug policies stem from prejudice and fear, not compassion and reason. In most countries worldwide, those using these harmless, naturally occurring substances for self-healing are vulnerable to penalty and imprisonment.
But there are islands of hope in the rough waters of international drug policy. We’ve organized the legal status of psilocybin into sections below, allowing you to see which countries (or states) will allow you to purchase, grow, or consume psilocybin mushrooms.
Disclaimer: This information aims to be as accurate as possible at the time of writing, but readers should not treat the information as a “green light” to perform potentially illegal activities. Always check your local laws.
Decriminalization of Mushrooms
In some countries, mushroom use and possession have been decriminalized, but often only in specific situations. They usually remain illegal.
However, in the last few years, some cities and states in the United States, riding off the success of marijuana legalization, have begun decriminalizing psilocybin. Supporters of legalization and decriminalization cite the research on its medical and mental health benefits, as well as the low risk of addiction–even from recreational use.
In 2018, the Right-to-Try Act was signed by President Donald Trump, securing access to experimental therapies, including the use of psilocybin mushrooms, for terminally ill patients.
Mushroom Legality Variations
Regulations break the psilocybin “industry” into different categories that are illegal or legalized to various degrees. This separation blurs the lines of legality, creates loopholes, and makes it challenging to understand where mushrooms are legal or illegal.
In most places, including everywhere in the United States, the retail sale of psilocybin mushrooms is technically illegal. However, some regions allow for the sale of spores because they do not contain psilocybin. In the United States, California, Georgia, and Idaho have specifically banned the sale of spores.
Even if possessing or using mushrooms is legal in an area, their sale and purchase are often illegal. This scenario is the case in Austria, where individuals can possess and use, but selling or giving mushrooms to others is still unlawful.
Most jurisdictions in the United States consider growing or cultivating magic mushrooms to be drug manufacturing and penalize accordingly. Despite this, purchasing spores to grow magic mushrooms in many places is not challenging. Harvesting and using your crops is a gray area, but in some states and cities, this is beginning to be decriminalized.
Grow your own magic mushrooms with our easy-to-use Mushroom Grow Kit.
Decriminalizing possession in the United States is slowly happening at the state level, but possession remains illegal federally. Some countries have fully legalized mushroom possession, but be careful traveling across borders with them, since you can be charged with drug trafficking.
In some countries, like the Bahamas, Nepal, and Brazil, growing, possessing, and consuming magic mushrooms is completely legal, but with one restriction: they cannot be sold.
Where are mushrooms legal in the United States?
U.S. States Where Psilocybin Is Legal
Surprisingly, despite federal law designating psilocybin as a schedule I drug in the U.S., many state laws allow the sale and purchase of spores (as long as you aren’t going to use them to actually grow mushrooms). The states that prohibit the sale of spores are California, Georgia, and Idaho.
Here are the U.S. states where mushrooms are legal:
In May 2019, Denver, Colorado, decriminalized psilocybin, the first city in the United States to do so. Three years later, a ballot measure passed state-wide, decriminalizing possession, growing, and sharing, as well as legalizing the limited use of magic mushrooms.
In 2020, Oregon became the first state to both decriminalize psilocybin and legalize its use in therapeutic practices. Specifically, its administration must occur in licensed environments for “personal development.”
U.S. Counties and Cities Where Psilocybin Is Legal
In most of the United States, psilocybin remains an illegal substance. However, some counties and cities nationwide are decriminalizing or deprioritizing magic mushrooms. This means possessing magic mushrooms is a lower priority for law enforcement action.
- Arcata County: In October 2021, the City Council of Arcata voted to deprioritize law enforcement surrounding the possession of psilocybin mushrooms.
- Oakland: In a unanimous vote, the Oakland City Council decriminalized psilocybin and peyote in June 2019.
- San Francisco: The San Francisco Board of Supervisors voted unanimously to decriminalize the use of psilocybin mushrooms by September 2022
- Santa Cruz: In January 2020, decriminalization of adult possession and cultivation passed, but commercial sale remains illegal.
- Cambridge: Psilocybin mushrooms were decriminalized in February 2021 after advocacy groups lobbied for their use in natural medicine.
- Northampton: Northampton’s City Council successfully voted to decriminalize mushrooms in March 2021.
- Somerville: The possession of entheogenic plants, including magic mushrooms and ibogaine, was decriminalized by the City Council in January 2021.
- Ann Arbor and Washtenaw County: Ann Arbor has deprioritized law enforcement for use. However, planting, cultivating, purchasing, transporting, selling, distributing, and possessing psilocybin mushrooms are still illegal. The bright side is that the City Council voted in 2020 to make this the lowest priority for Ann Arbor law enforcement. A few months later, Washtenaw County (which includes Ann Arbor) went one step further, decriminalizing mushroom use county-wide.
- Detroit: Proposal E, passed by Detroit voters in November 2021, de-prioritized to the lowest possible level the personal possession and therapeutic use of magic mushrooms.
- Hazel Park: Hazel Park decriminalized natural psychedelics, including psilocybin mushrooms in March 2022.
- Seattle: The Seattle City Council voted to deprioritize the enforcement of psilocybin mushroom possession in October 2021. Lawmakers in Washington state recently unveiled a bill to legalize and regulate psilocybin use for adults.
- Port Townsend: In December 2021, Port Townsend, WA adopted a resolution to deprioritize the “investigation, arrest, and prosecution” of adults using magic mushrooms.
The Entheogenic Plant and Fungus Policy Act of 2020 went into effect in 2021, decriminalizing all psilocybin drugs and de-prioritizing arrests for possession and use in Washington, D.C.
Watch the video below to learn about the difference between psychedelic decriminalization and medicalization in the U.S. and why it matters.
Psychedelic retreats are a great option if you want to experience plant medicine in a legal, and intentional way. Find a list of vetted retreat centers offering psilocybin mushroom ceremonies worldwide.
Where Are Mushrooms Legal Outside the U.S.?
Countries Where Psilocybin Mushrooms Are Mostly Legal
These countries have made at least some form of psilocybin totally legal to possess and consume, and possibly legal to sell and transport.
Although psilocybin is technically illegal in Brazil, psilocybin-containing mushrooms are not illegal to possess, consume, or sell. In Brazil, specific laws must be instituted to make activities illegal. As such, there are no cases of arrests related to psilocybin.
Additionally, the natural psychedelic ayahuasca is legal for sacramental use in Brazil, and this law can also apply to psilocybin mushrooms, if used in a sacramental setting.
BRITISH VIRGIN ISLANDS
Sale and transport of psilocybin mushrooms is technically illegal, but authorities do not prohibit possession and consumption of psilocybin. Having said that, many places will sell them to tourists without apparent consequences.
Although some details are unclear, it appears that you won’t get in trouble for drinking a “shroom shake” in BVI.
The use of magic mushrooms in Jamaica appears to be totally legal–or at least, authorities turn a blind eye. As long as you behave responsibly, there’s no need to worry.
You can even book a magic mushroom retreat and enjoy your mushrooms in the context of spiritual development.
Due to a loophole in a law designed to prohibit the use of psilocybin, you can still purchase and consume psilocybin in the form of “magic truffles.” Truffles are a different part of the mushroom, known as the sclerotia, which remains dormant and helps the mushroom regrow after damage.
Spores and growing kits are also legal. Just be aware that many forms of psilocybin mushrooms are still illegal to possess and sell, dry or fresh.
Countries where psilocybin mushrooms are somewhat legal
These countries may have different laws regarding dried/fresh mushrooms, may allow the cultivation of mushrooms or the sale of psilocybin-mushroom spore syringes, or may just have safe havens where law enforcement selectively ignores laws.
A recent law changed the legal status of psilocybin, meaning that its use is now decriminalized, but you may be required to attend therapy if caught.
Spores and grow kits are legal to buy, and you can even grow your own mushrooms–as long as you don’t eat them when they’re ready.
According to the Canadian Government’s website, “the production, sale and possession of magic mushrooms are illegal in Canada.”
Under this exemption, adults (18 years and older) in B.C. are not going to be arrested or charged for possessing small amounts of certain illegal drugs for personal use. Unfortunately, psilocybin is not included on this list.
However, mushroom dispensaries (both local and online) operate publicly in Canada and have been for years. It’s similar to how cannabis shops operated under the grey zone before legalization.
Lots of magic mushrooms grow in Costa Rica, and there are many stories of people collecting them for personal use. We have not heard any stories of people being arrested for possession, sale, or consumption.
However, magic mushrooms are technically banned in Costa Rica because the country has a fixed penalty for selling or possessing any drugs included on the List of Controlled Substances (including psilocybin).
Although Indonesia has ridiculously harsh drug laws that could see you in prison for a long time, a psilocybin paradise exists on the Gili Islands near Bali. Still, psilocybin mushrooms are officially illegal, and their possession could be risky.
Psilocybin is officially illegal to possess, cultivate, and sell in Mexico. However, authorities turn a blind eye to sacramental or traditional use and cultivation of fresh mushrooms. This is in line with the interpretation of the UNODC Bulletin, allowing the sacramental use of psychotropic preparations.
Psilocybin mushrooms are decriminalized in Portugal, meaning you can possess small amounts of them without going to jail. However, you’ll end up with court-mandated rehabilitation or therapy if you get caught.
While mostly illegal in Spain, psilocybin mushrooms’ personal use has been decriminalized. There is a considerable amount of ambiguity surrounding the use of grow kits and spores, as well as the possession of small amounts of fresh mushrooms. It’s best to not take any risks.
Psilocybin is illegal in Thailand, and like in many Southeast Asian countries, the implications can be severe. Having said that, there are a few relatively safe havens that offer “shroom shakes.” Be sensible; it’s probably not worth the risk.
Where are mushrooms (psilocybin) illegal?
These countries don’t allow any form of psilocybin. You can’t buy growing kits or spores, you can’t possess small quantities, and you can’t even pick naturally growing mushrooms in the wild.
Most countries are in this category, but we believe this will change in time.
Psilocybin is illegal in all forms, to possess, consume, sell, and transport.
Possession, sale, cultivation, and use of psilocybin mushrooms is illegal in Belgium by royal decree.
The law states that any substance or plant from which psilocybin can be extracted is illegal.
All aspects of psilocybin mushroom cultivation, sale, and use have been illegal in Denmark since 2001.
Psilocybin mushrooms have been specifically prohibited for possession, use, and sale.
In addition to psilocybin being illegal, the growing of psilocybin mushrooms has been prohibited since 2008. Punishments are based on quantity.
All aspects of psilocybin use, sale, and possession have been illegal for over 50 years in France.
In 2001, an amendment to already prohibitive drug laws made sure to totally restrict the cultivation of any psilocybin-containing plant or animal (yes, animal…).
Psilocybin is completely illegal, as is the cultivation of psilocybin mushrooms.
Psilocybin possession, sale, and cultivation are illegal.
Psilocybin is illegal to sell, possess, and use. Since 2006, cultivation of psilocybin mushrooms has also been illegal.
All aspects of psilocybin cultivation and use are illegal.
Although a legal loophole previously allowed the use of psilocybin mushrooms in Japan, this was directly outlawed in 2002.
Psilocybin is illegal, although cultivation is apparently ignored if it’s a first offense.
Psilocybin is illegal to possess and sell, although cultivation is only illegal if in a “large amount.”
Psilocybin mushrooms are Class A drugs, and all forms of psilocybin are illegal.
Illegal according to the Regulations Regarding Narcotics.
All forms of psilocybin are illegal to possess, sell, cultivate, and use.
All forms of psilocybin are illegal to possess, sell, cultivate, and use.
Psilocybin in all forms is illegal to possess, sell, cultivate, and use.
Information is unclear about psilocybin’s legal status in Turkey, but it can be assumed to be highly prohibited.
Prior to 2005, fresh psilocybin mushrooms were entirely legal in the UK. However, since then they have been specifically prohibited by section 21 of the Drugs Act.
Countries with Uncertain Legality Cases for Mushrooms
These countries have not agreed to the Vienna Convention, and as such have no obligation to make psilocybin illegal. They appear to have no laws on psilocybin cultivation and possession, but we haven’t been able to find any solid confirmation.
- East Timor
- Equatorial Guinea
- Solomon Islands
- South Sudan
Where to Get Legal Psilocybin Mushrooms
If you want to get your hands on psilocybin mushrooms, there are several options. You can find out if you can legally grow psilocybin mushrooms in your country. Perhaps you can pick wild psilocybin mushrooms and keep them for personal use. Or you can travel somewhere with a more sensible drug policy.
Despite the heavy restrictions on access to these healing fungi, it’s still possible to find them. As the evidence of the healing benefits of psilocybin grows, we expect to see more countries relax their prohibitive stances.
Until then, obey the laws of your country, campaign for change, and if necessary, go on a shroom vacation or two!
Important Note: This is a constantly-evolving document. If you believe we’re missing something important, please let us know via the contact page.