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Are Magic Mushrooms Legal in California?

Are Magic Mushrooms Legal in California

Here in California, you’ve likely heard talk about recent moves to decriminalize psilocybin, the psychoactive compound found in what is commonly referred to as “magic mushrooms.”

California recently considered legislation to decriminalize personal possession and use of certain psychedelic substances like psilocybin and mescaline for those over 21. However, Governor Gavin Newsom vetoed the proposal in late September 2022.

Mushrooms and psilocybin remain very much against the law for now; however, the possession of a limited amount of mushrooms has been decriminalized in some California counties such as San Francisco, Oakland, and Santa Cruz. This means that, in these particular counties, an individual would not be prosecuted for possession of limited quantities of magic mushrooms.

In our experience as drug charge lawyers assisting clients facing all charges in California, we always aim to provide reliable insights without judgment. Our goal is simply to inform residents of the current legal status, potential charges, and possible defenses to consider regarding psilocybin mushrooms in particular.

Magic Mushrooms Remain a Schedule I Controlled Substance

Under California’s Health and Safety Code 11350, psilocybin is classified alongside drugs like heroin, LSD, and ecstasy as a Schedule I controlled substance.

This means that under state law, mushrooms containing psilocybin are considered to have:

  • No currently accepted medical use for treatment
  • A lack of accepted safety standards for use under medical supervision
  • A high potential for abuse

Naturally, that makes all uses of psilocybin mushrooms definitively illegal within California state lines. Even simple possession for personal use puts someone at risk of criminal charges.

Possession of Magic Mushrooms May Lead to Misdemeanor or Felony

If caught in possession of psilocybin mushrooms, California law permits prosecutors to file either misdemeanor or felony charges depending primarily on the quantity involved:

  • Misdemeanor – Possessing smaller amounts of mushrooms just for personal use frequently leads to misdemeanor charges. Potential penalties include large fines and up to 1 year in county jail.
  • Felony – Possession of larger quantities of mushrooms or evidence they were packaged for distribution can result in felony charges instead. Felony convictions carry state prison sentences plus substantially larger fines.

Cultivating Magic Mushrooms Is Risky

Given the spore-based growing cycle of psilocybin mushrooms, some California residents attempt to covertly cultivate them at home:

  • This often begins legally enough by purchasing commercial mushroom spores and growing kits.
  • However, cultivating active mushrooms for use or distribution nearly always results in felony narcotics charges under California Health Code 11358 for manufacturing a controlled substance.

Facing felony cultivation charges is a serious matter, though potential defenses around incorrect mushroom identification do occasionally apply.

Selling Psilocybin Mushrooms Means Severe Penalties

The trafficking of Schedule I narcotics leads to the most severe outcomes under California law. Charges for sale, transportation or distribution of magic mushrooms range from 2 years up to 9 years in state prison according to the Health and Safety Code.

Additionally, being caught in possession of mushrooms in excess of 1 kilogram also incurs an enhanced penalty of 3-15 years imprisonment.

Given those severe outcomes, anyone facing charges related to psilocybin mushrooms requires criminal defense.

Fighting Psilocybin Charges with Context & Nuance

Despite their Schedule I status, prosecuting psilocybin mushroom cases often lacks meaningful nuance around intent or potential for harm:

  • Simple possession of small quantities for personal experimental use differs drastically from trafficking distribution amounts purely for profit.
  • The outcomes should not be the potential of equivalent multi-year prison sentences.

Though magic mushrooms remain illegal in California for now, the courts are gradually recognizing more nuance is warranted around psilocybin use cases compared to other narcotics charges

Between those subtle shifts in the justice system and the fledgling movement to decriminalize psilocybin in California, there is hope the landscape may change further in years to come through potential therapeutic usage and more public education around effects and relative risks compared to other substances.

Frequently Asked Questions

What Are the Penalties for Possessing Magic Mushrooms in California?

Possessing magic mushrooms and psilocybin remains illegal in California and under federal law. Penalties for possession of psychedelic mushrooms cover a wide range depending on quantity: Small amounts for just personal use may lead to misdemeanor fines and a maximum of 1 year in county jail. Larger quantities with suspected intent to distribute can instead lead to felony charges, potentially with multi-year state prison sentences. In some counties, possession of limited amounts will not be prosecuted.

Is Possession of Magic Mushrooms a Misdemeanor or Felony in California?

Possession of magic mushrooms is usually charged as a misdemeanor in California for small personal use amounts. But possession can be charged as a felony for larger quantities, especially if mushrooms are individually bagged, or the authorities suspect intent to distribute or traffic the psychedelic substance rather than just possess it for personal use.

Can I Face Jail Time for Magic Mushroom Possession in California?

Yes, jail time is a possibility even for misdemeanor possession charges surrounding magic mushrooms in California. The maximum penalty is up to 1 year in county jail if charged as a misdemeanor, but penalties escalate to multiple years in state prison if convicted on felony possession or distribution charges instead.

Defending Psilocybin Charges Requires Experienced Representation

Facing any felony or misdemeanor charge related to Schedule I mushroom possession, cultivation, or distribution is a serious matter with the potential for life-changing negative outcomes.

However, the complexity of California’s evolving laws coupled with gradual public perception shifts regarding psilocybin means skillful defense representation can make the difference between a minimal conviction and years behind bars.

In such unfamiliar legal territory, securing experienced counsel for psilocybin charges gives clients the greatest probability of balancing accountability with avoiding the harshest maximum penalties by leaning into emerging nuance around intent, usage, public detriment, and the possibility of therapeutic benefit.

If you or a loved one faces charges related to psilocybin mushrooms in the state of California, please reach out to Oakland criminal justice attorneys. We have successfully defended hundreds of complex drug charges and remain dedicated to the most just legal outcomes possible for every unique client situation.

Have You Been Charged With Mushroom or Psilocybin Possession in California?

If you find yourself facing magic mushroom possession charges or any other drug offense penalties, the situation may seem beyond challenging. Navigating California’s complex and evolving controlled substance laws—not to mention grasping the full implications of what a given charge really means for your future—is extremely difficult without guidance.

At The Nieves Law Firm, our attorneys offer years of experience surrounding nuanced psilocybin, mushroom, and other drug allegation defenses. We understand the facets of this unique legal landscape. We’ve secured success for hundreds of clients facing similar drug related offenses. And today, our firm is dedicated to vigorously defending your rights as well with personalized counsel regarding the options ahead. Don’t leave the outcome to chance.

Schedule your case review now to discuss the details of your charges in California confidentially with our compassionate team.

Author Bio

Jo-Anna Nieves is the Founder and Managing Attorney of The Nieves Law Firm, an Oakland criminal defense law firm she created in 2012. With more than 11 years of experience in criminal defense, she has zealously represented clients in a wide range of legal matters, including DUIs, domestic violence, expungement, federal crimes, juvenile law, motions to vacate, sex crimes, violent crimes, and other criminal charges.

Jo-Anna received her Juris Doctor from the Florida State University College of Law and is a member of the State Bar of California. She has received numerous accolades for her work, including being named a Super Lawyer Rising Star the past 8 years, the #12 Fastest Growing Law Firm in the U.S. by Law Firm 500 in 2019, and one of the fastest growing companies in the U.S. by Inc 5000 in 2023.

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