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British Columbia

Are Magic Mushrooms Legal in British Columbia?

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The short answer is “No”

Although typically unenforced, the possession & sale of Magic Mushrooms in British Columbia are still illegal. Many expect this to change in the near future as BC, and especially Vancouver, take a much more of a relaxed outlook on psychedelic drugs.

History of Legalization in BC

In the late 1970s, a significant legal development occurred in British Columbia. The Appeals Court ruled that possessing magic mushrooms in their natural state did not inherently constitute possession of the restricted compound psilocybin. As a result, a Massett resident, who had faced charges for possessing psilocybin after authorities found containers of mushrooms in her home, was acquitted. The Appeals Court upheld this acquittal against a crown appeal.

This legal shift, along with a similar ruling in Alberta, had an interesting consequence. From 1979 to 1982, the possession of magic mushrooms was not considered illegal in British Columbia. This period saw the Queen Charlotte Islands, now known as Haida Gwaii, become famous as a destination for magic mushroom enthusiasts who would pick and dry mushrooms for sale.

Problems arose from the seasonal influx of magic mushroom pickers into British Columbia, particularly in Haida Gwaii and around Massett. This led to conflicts, which some referred to as the “mushroom wars,” between residents and itinerant mushroom pickers during the early 1980s.

The legal landscape changed again in 1982 when the Supreme Court of Canada determined that possession of dried mushrooms could indeed constitute possession of the psilocybin they contained. Since then, possession of magic mushrooms has been considered illegal in British Columbia and Canada as a whole.

British Columbia has been at the forefront of the movement to explore the medical applications of psilocybin. In 2020, the province allowed certain patients facing end-of-life distress to legally access psilocybin-assisted therapy. This decision was partly inspired by the successful legal challenge of a terminally ill patient in the region, who argued that access to psilocybin was essential for their mental and emotional well-being.

Current Legal Status

Although still illegal, there has been a strong push towards the decriminalization of Magic Mushrooms in BC. This means that law enforcement no longer prioritizes prosecutions based on possession and usage of Magic Mushrooms, but rather on the reduction of potential harm and public health support & initiatives. At ShroomShare, we still recommend keeping your usage and possession of Magic Mushrooms on the “down-low” as there still can be the potential for police officers to take advantage of the looseness of this law.

Within BC, the sale of magic mushrooms has a much more complex relationship with the law. Selling, especially in large quantities, remains punishable by the law, and is much more enforced than the possession and usage. There are many psilocybin dispensaries that are currently operating in BC, who are in a constant battle with the RCMP & VPD. THese dispensaries face routine raids, and for some odd reason, always find a way to keep their doors open for business.

Therapeutic and Medical Usage

British Columbia, in line with federal regulations, had been exploring the use of psilocybin for medical and therapeutic purposes. Health professionals in the province were starting to consider psilocybin-assisted therapy as a potential treatment option for certain conditions, including end-of-life distress, in accordance with federal permissions.

British Columbia has also become a hub for psychedelic research, with various universities and research institutions in the province conducting clinical trials and studies to assess the safety and efficacy of psilocybin. This research was contributing to the growing body of evidence supporting its therapeutic benefits.

Penalties for Possession or Sale of Magic Mushrooms in BC

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.