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Where are psychedelics legal in the US?

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A 2021 study revealed that roughly 8.8 million American adults use psychedelic mushrooms. Millions of others use other psychedelic drugs like LSD.

These facts may make you believe that legalized psychedelics are available throughout America, but that is far from the truth. Psychedelic drugs remain federally illegal, though some states have opted to legalize or decriminalize them. As recently as this month, Colorado legalized psychedelic mushrooms and several other psychedelic drugs.

The legalization of psychedelic drugs in certain states raises some questions, like where are psychedelics legal? Where have psychedelics been decriminalized? What states may change their laws in the future?

We did some digging to answer all these questions and more. Here’s our quick guide to where psychedelics are legal in the US, where they are decriminalized, and where they might be legalized next.

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Oregon: Mushrooms legal for medicinal purposes

In 2020, Oregon voters approved Oregon Ballot Measure 109. The measure allowed Oregon residents to manufacture and administer psilocybin. This is a naturally occurring compound found in more than 200 species of mushrooms that generates intense psychoactive effects.

Oregon residents can consume “magic mushrooms” in supervised facilities. The Oregon Psilocybin Services program issues licenses for these facilities and creates regulations for them.

The current regulations are not strict. A distributor does not need a medical license in order to run a facility. Employees do not have to watch people take mushrooms, though a safety plan must be in place to help people on bad trips.

However, cities can decide whether or not they want facilities. In 2022, 25 counties and more than 100 cities voted to ban them. Residents can cross city lines to find centers in nearby towns.

You cannot use magic mushrooms in your home in Oregon. You must go to a facility to get your supply and you must remain there while taking the mushrooms. Oregon also requires you to have a prescription from your doctor for psilocybin, though personal use is decriminalized.

Ketamine and DMT are decriminalized. But you still face fines for possessing or transporting these drugs in Oregon.

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Colorado: Mushrooms legal for recreational purposes

Voters in Denver, Colorado passed Initiated Ordinance 301 in 2019. The law deprioritized the adult possession and use of psilocybin mushrooms. The police department cannot use its funds to enforce laws against mushrooms, though people can still be charged for using them.

In 2020, House Bill 19-1263 went into effect across Colorado. Possession of Schedule I drugs, including psilocybin, is now a misdemeanor. However, misdemeanors in Colorado are punishable by prison sentences and fines.

In 2022, Colorado voters passed another ballot initiative. This initiative finally decriminalized psychedelic mushrooms across the state. The state will also create healing centers where people can take mushrooms.

The initiative will take effect in 2024. The state has until then to draft regulations.

Under current regulations, residents 21 and older can grow and share mushrooms in their homes. However, they cannot sell them for personal use. People with possession convictions can apply to have their records sealed.

You will not need approval from your doctor to get mushrooms. This makes it possible to use them recreationally. Counties cannot vote to ban centers, though they can regulate them.

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Massachusetts: Mushrooms decriminalized in some cities

The state of Massachusetts has not legalized or decriminalized psychedelics. But several cities within Massachusetts have, and some of their policymakers are lobbying for statewide changes.

In January 2021, the city of Somerville approved Agenda Item 211137. Under the law, the police department cannot use its funds to arrest people with mushrooms. The city is also encouraging the District Attorney to drop all cases related to mushroom possession and use.

The cities of Cambridge, Easthampton, and Northhampton passed near-identical laws in 2021. Mushrooms are still illegal. But possession cases are no longer the priority of the police or prosecutors.

The cities’ laws also apply to DMT. Other cities like Worcester are looking into decriminalizing psychedelics, but what steps they will take are not clear yet.

California: Mushrooms decriminalized in some cities

Oakland, California deprioritized all psychedelic plants in 2019. In 2020, the Oakland City Council passed a resolution encouraging the state legislature to look into the legalization of psychedelics.

In 2021, the city of Santa Cruz also deprioritized psychedelic plants. However, using mushrooms in Oakland and Santa Cruz is still illegal. Using LSD and similar drugs is also illegal in all California cities.

The same year, State Senator Scott Weiner introduced a bill to legalize psychedelics. The bill would have made all psychedelic substances legal, including LSD.

The State Senate passed the bill, but a committee scaled it back. The bill would have only directed state officials to study psychedelics instead of legalizing psychedelics. Senator Weiner decided to withdraw the bill in 2022 and submit it during another session.

In 2022, the San Francisco Board of Supervisors passed a resolution encouraging the deprioritization of psychedelics. The police department has not yet acted on it.

Washington: Many psychedelics (including mushrooms) decriminalized in some cities

The Washington Supreme Court ruled in favor of a case in February 2021 that decriminalized drug possession. In response, the state legislature passed SB 5476.

The law encouraged police officers to divert first-time possession offenders to assessment and drug treatment. It also made drug possession of all substances a misdemeanor.

In October 2021, the Seattle City Council passed a resolution deprioritizing psychedelics. The police department cannot detain or arrest anyone suspected of mere possession. But psychedelics remain illegal in the city.

Two months later, Port Townsend passed its own resolution on psychedelics. No officials in the city can use any city funds to enforce laws against psychedelics.

In March 2022, the state legislature passed its budget bill. One provision is for the study of legalizing psilocybin in the state. The state will have $200,000 to examine the effects of psychedelics and decide on pieces of legislation.

 

In sum: Only Oregon and Colorado have legalized any kind of psychedelic drug. In Oregon, you can use magic mushrooms if they are prescribed by a doctor and consumed in an authorized facility. In Colorado, magic mushrooms are legal for recreational use.

Most counties in Oregon do not have facilities, and retail sales in Colorado have yet to launch.

California, Massachusetts, and Washington may consider legalizing psychedelics soon since several cities within these states have decriminalized or deprioritized magic mushrooms. In these cities, you are less likely to get arrested for having them, but you still face penalties.

Some states have rendered possession a misdemeanor, but you can still go to jail for it.

Even if you live in a state where psychedelics are legal, remember to consume responsibly. Psychedelics are still considered Schedule I substances, meaning there is not a lot of research out there on their long-term health effects.