As the enthusiasm for the psychedelic renaissance grows, magic mushroom stores are opening all across Canada. Some argue that these stores challenge the country’s drug laws while others suggest that this is all possible due to the acceptance of hallucinogenic mushrooms among authorities.
In light of these discussions, numerous questions arise, and one particular inquiry stands out: Are magic mushrooms legal in Canada? This article aims to provide a comprehensive explanation of this very question.
- The increasing presence of magic mushroom stores in Canada complicates the legal status of magic mushrooms.
- Under Canada’s Controlled Drugs and Substances Act (“CDSA”), psilocybin falls within the category of illicit substances, meaning that it’s illegal.
- In Canada, magic mushroom spores are considered legal. However, the mushrooms that grow from these spores are illegal.
- The federal government’s recent move to decriminalize personal possession of specific illicit substances in British Columbia by 2023 didn’t affect magic mushrooms.
Is Psilocybin Legal in Canada?
With the proliferation of magic mushroom stores in Canada, the legal status of magic mushrooms can become a perplexing issue. The shifting public interest and changing perspectives on psychedelics have triggered discussions regarding the legality of these mushrooms. It is, nevertheless, important to distinguish between perception and reality.
According to Canada’s Controlled Drugs and Substances Act (“CDSA”) psilocybin falls under the category of illegal substances. The CDSA regulates the sale, possession, and manufacturing of magic mushrooms, as well as psilocybin and psilocin. The only lawful use of psilocybin is if Health Canada grants a section 56 exemption or a Special Access Program request.
Despite the fact that psilocybin is openly marketed on the internet and on occasion in physical establishments within specific Canadian municipalities, engaging in activities involving the possession, trafficking, cultivation, import, or export of psilocybin (and psilocin) is strictly prohibited throughout Canada. Finally, unless you have a proper license or exemption, magic mushrooms are banned in Canada.
The federal government’s recent effort to legalize personal possession of specific illicit substances in British Columbia by 2023 had no impact on the legal status of psilocybin in the province.
Brief History of Magic Mushrooms
The Food and Drugs Act of Canada classified psilocybin as a prohibited controlled substance in 1974.
In R. v. Parnell, the British Columbia Court of Appeal concluded in 1979 that mere possession of psilocybin-containing mushrooms did not violate the Act’s prohibitions, which directly targeted the chemical psilocybin. The court reached this conclusion by comparing the text of the Food and Drugs Act’s controlled substance regulations with that of the Narcotic Control Act.
The Narcotic Control Act expressly barred the use of specified substances as well as “anything that contains [the] substance.” The Food and Drugs Act, on the other hand, only outlawed the substance itself. As a result, possessing psilocybin mushrooms in their natural state was effectively permitted in Canada. However, in R. v. Dunn, the Supreme Court of Canada reversed this position, essentially recriminalizing psilocybin in both its naturally occurring and pharmaceutical forms.
Despite the fact that psilocybin possession, cultivation, and sale are all illegal in Canada, with the exception of a few exceptions, inconsistent law enforcement practices have led to many people mistakenly believing (and asserting) that psilocybin is legal, decriminalized, or falls into a “grey market” category in Canada or specific jurisdictions within the country.
In spite of British Columbia decriminalizing personal possession of up to 2.5 grams of opiates, cocaine, methamphetamine, and MDMA on January 31, 2023, thanks to a Health Canada exception, psilocybin’s legal status remained intact.
Are Magic Mushrooms Spores Legal In Canada
In Canada, magic mushroom spores are considered legal. However, the mushrooms that grow from these spores and contain the psychedelic compound psilocybin are not legal, as we already mentioned. This situation has created a kind of unclear area in the law, which has led to a growing trend among people interested in psychedelics.
As respected institutions like Johns Hopkins University and Imperial College London publish research about how psychedelics could be used for therapy, people’s view of these mind-altering substances is changing. Hence that’s the reason for such rapid growth in popularity.
Interestingly, in some parts of the United States, local governments are allowing residents to grow their own natural psychedelic substances, like psilocybin mushrooms, for their personal use. This started in 2019 with a movement called “Decriminalize Denver” and has since spread to other cities like Santa Cruz, Ann Arbor, Seattle, and Detroit.
How to Get Legal Access to Magic Mushrooms?
Based on scientific findings, using psilocybin appropriately could be beneficial for addressing psychological challenges like addiction, anxiety, depression, and obsessive-compulsive disorder.
In 2020, Health Canada initiated the authorization of psilocybin for therapeutic use among individuals with specific legal clearance. This was made possible through section 56 exemptions in the Controlled Substances Act. This marked a significant advancement as it was the first instance since the 1970s that non-study participants in Canada gained legal access to psilocybin, which had been prohibited.
By January 2022, Health Canada had modified the regulations of the Special Access Program (SAP). These updated rules allow healthcare professionals to request psilocybin for individuals facing serious or life-threatening conditions. This option becomes relevant when other treatments prove ineffective or unsuitable.
1. Can I grow magic mushrooms for personal use in Canada?
It is not legal to cultivate magic mushrooms for personal consumption in Canada. The cultivation and possession of psilocybin-containing mushrooms are both prohibited by the CDSA.
2. Are there any exceptions for medical or therapeutic use of psilocybin in Canada?
Yes, under certain exclusions under the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act, Health Canada has begun providing select individuals legal access to psilocybin for therapeutic purposes. This is done under specific conditions and with the approval of medical professionals.
3. Can I access psilocybin therapy in Canada if I have a medical condition that might benefit from it?
Yes, Health Canada has revised laws to allow medical providers to request psilocybin for patients suffering from serious or life-threatening diseases when alternative treatments have proven ineffective or are unavailable in Canada. This is possible with the Special Access Program.
4. Can I import psilocybin or magic mushroom products from other countries for personal use?
It is still illegal in Canada to import psilocybin or magic mushroom products for personal consumption. Regardless of the source, the legal status stays constant.
5. What are the penalties for magic mushroom offenses?
For a first-time offense resulting in a summary conviction, the potential consequences include a maximum fine of $1,000, a prison term of up to six months, or both. If a subsequent offense occurs, the maximum fine increases to $2,000, and the potential jail time extends to one year, or both.