Are magic mushroom spores legal? DEA offers guidance

magic mushroom spores

Psilocybin mushrooms are becoming increasingly popular as research reveals more about their potential benefits. Several cities and states have decriminalized shrooms, although they remain federally illegal.

However, magic mushroom spores have long existed in a gray area. Considered the “seeds” of mushrooms, spores are widely available online and in head shops. With more people interested in mycology than ever before, people are pondering whether their spores are legal.

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This week, the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) offered an answer: mushroom spores are technically legal—as long as they aren’t used to grow shrooms containing controlled substances.

In a letter first shared on attorney Rod Kight’s blog Kight on Cannabis, the DEA’s Drug & Chemical Evaluation Section Chief Terrence Boos clarified the agency’s stance on spores.

“If the mushroom spores (or any other material) do not contain psilocybin or psilocin (or any other controlled substance or listed chemical), the material is considered not controlled under the CSA,” Boos wrote, referring to the Controlled Substances Act. 

“If at any time the material contains a controlled substance such as psilocybin or psilocin (for example, upon germination), the material would be considered a controlled substance,” he continued.

Psilocybin and psilocin are two tryptamines found in so-called magic mushrooms responsible for psychoactive effects. Both are listed as Schedule I substances in the CSA. 

On the blog, attorney Rod Kight discussed the issue of people being arrested and charged for selling spores. He said the distinction lies in how these products are marketed. If advertised as a way to grow magic mushrooms, the spores would meet the definition of “drug paraphernalia,” which the CSA considers “equipment, product, or material of any kind which is primarily intended or designed for use in manufacturing… [or] producing a controlled substance.”

So, while it may be okay to purchase spores, germinating them and creating fruiting bodies remains illegal in the eyes of the CSA. Some states, such as California and Georgia, have outlawed spores as well. 

Bottom line: home mycologists should tread lightly, taking all local and federal laws into consideration prior to inoculation.


Rachelle Gordon

Rachelle Gordon is a cannabis journalist and Editor of She began her weed writing journey in 2015 and has been featured in High Times, CannabisNow, Beard Bros, MG, Skunk, Cannabis and Tech Today, and many others. Rachelle currently splits her time between Minneapolis and Oakland; her favorite cannabis cultivars include Silver Haze and Tangie. Follow Rachelle on Instagram @rachellethewriter