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Are Magic Mushrooms Legal in Alberta?

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The short answer is “No”

No, Magic Mushrooms are currently illegal in Alberta. Health professionals have the ability to prescribe psilocybin as a treatment for unique conditions such as psychotherapy and for terminal illnesses, but these prescriptions are only under absolute supervision of a licensed practitioner. The illegal possession of Magic Mushrooms is relatively unenforced, but can result in fines of up to $1000.

History of Legalization in AB:

In the late 1970s, there was a legal gray area regarding the possession of psilocybin-containing mushrooms, much like in British Columbia. This was due to a legal interpretation that possession of the mushrooms in their natural state did not automatically equate to possession of a controlled substance. This ambiguity led to a period during which the possession of magic mushrooms was not clearly defined as illegal.

In 1982, the Supreme Court of Canada clarified the legal status of psilocybin. The court determined that possessing dried magic mushrooms constituted possession of the psilocybin they contained, effectively making possession of magic mushrooms illegal.

Recent Developments: In more recent years, there has been a growing interest in the therapeutic use of psilocybin, not just in Alberta but across Canada. Health professionals, researchers, and activists have been advocating for the medical and therapeutic use of psilocybin, leading to changes in regulations that allow certain patients to access psilocybin-assisted therapy under controlled conditions. These changes have been part of a broader reevaluation of the potential benefits of psychedelic substances.

 Current Legal Status: 

 Magic mushrooms remain illegal in Alberta for private use and/or sale. They belong to Schedule III of Canada’s Controlled Drug and Substances Act and the possession and distribution of Magic Mushrooms are punishable by fines or imprisonment. 

Psilocybin is legal for therapeutic and medical usage, but only under supervision of licensed medical practitioners. Prescriptions are only authorized for predetermined conditions such as psychotherapy or for end-of-life assistance. 

Therapeutic and Medical Usage: 

In January 2023, Alberta legalized psychedelic-assisted therapy for mental illnesses, making it an available treatment option through registered and licensed psychiatrists. This move reflects efforts to regulate the therapeutic use of hallucinogenic substances in a safe and supportive environment. While historically these drugs were sought after for recreational purposes, the medicalization of psychedelics may pave the way for broader acceptance and potential decriminalization and commercialization in the future. Many jurisdictions worldwide still criminalize psychedelic drugs, but some are reconsidering their classification, viewing them as potential medicines and questioning the need for legal restrictions on naturally occurring substances like magic mushrooms.

 Penalties for Possession or Sale of Magic Mushrooms: 

For simple possession of psilocybin, individuals could face charges under the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act. Penalties may vary depending on the amount in possession, but it often includes fines of up to $1000 and potential imprisonment of up to 6 months. These are for “first-time incident” and can increase in severity for those who are repeat offenders. Please remember that the laws behind the possession of Magic Mushrooms are “not-enforced” but use this knowledge to keep yourself safe!

Selling or trafficking magic mushrooms is a more serious offense. Penalties for the sale of psilocybin can include significant fines and imprisonment, with the severity of the penalties depending on factors such as the quantity sold and whether the accused has a history of drug-related offenses. If used for the purpose of exporting and/or trafficking, the accused could face up to 10 years of imprisonment.