Psychedelic mushrooms, also known as magic mushrooms, have been used for centuries for their mind-altering effects.
In recent years, there has been an increasing interest in growing these mushrooms at home, but the question remains: is it legal to grow magic mushrooms in the UK?
While it is legal to buy spores and grow kits, actually growing these spores into mushrooms is illegal because the mushrooms will contain psilocybin, a controlled substance in the UK.
In this article, we will explore the legal status of magic mushroom cultivation in the UK and the potential consequences of growing them.
What are magic mushrooms?
Magic mushrooms are a type of fungi that contains the psychedelic compound psilocybin. The mushroom itself is actually the fruiting body of the organism, while below ground you’ll find the lumpy mycelium, which we call truffles.
There are hundreds, if not thousands, of species of magic mushrooms. The genus psilocybe is one of the most common subsets of psilocybin mushrooms, and includes psilocybe cubensis – arguably the most well-known species of magic mushroom – as well as psilocybe semilanceata, also known as liberty caps.
A number of magic mushrooms species grow wild in the UK, sprouting out of cow pats, forest floors and in damp grassy fields, usually around September/October time.
UK laws on magic mushrooms
Any fungus that contains psilocybin (or psilocin) is controlled in the UK. Therefore, magic mushrooms are prohibited to be cultivated, possessed or sold under the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971.
Magic mushrooms are classed as Class A drugs in the UK, meaning the most severe punishment for possession is up to seven years and an unlimited fine. However, sentencing this harsh is extremely unlikely.
In fact, if you were caught with a small amount for personal use – say up to 5 grams – you’d probably get away with a caution.
It’s a different story if you get caught growing them, though. Technically, a life sentence is the maximum sentence for supply of any Class A drug, including magic mushrooms.
In practice, however, longer sentences are only used for major traffickers, and rarely, if ever, for cases involving only mushrooms.
In fact, I’ve struggled to find any reports of people receiving any sort of punishment for growing magic mushrooms. But that could be because it’s so rare.
A so-called magic mushroom factory was uncovered by police earlier this year in the UK, although cannabis and other drugs were also found and there’s no news regarding what happened to the suspect.
In reality, if you are growing a small amount of magic mushrooms, like one or two grow boxes worth, you have little chance of getting caught and an even smaller chance of getting sentenced to time in prison. The most likely result is you’ll get a fine.
While the act of growing, possessing and supplying magic mushrooms is illegal, the act of picking them is not a controlled activity. However, by picking them, you become in possession of them, which is illegal.
Therefore, if you were to pick the mushrooms directly from the ground with, say, your mouth, before swallowing them immediately, it could be argued that, technically, you wouldn’t be breaking the law.
Or you’d only be breaking the law for the seconds the mushrooms were in your mouth before being swallowed.
I’m not sure anyone’s ever tried doing this in front of a police officer, but it makes me smile to think about it. If only because it highlights the absolute stupidity of outlawing a common, naturally growing funghi.
Grow your own
By far, the safest and easiest way to get your hands on magic mushrooms in the UK is to grow your own. Not only is it rewarding and relatively straight forward to do, it’s also fun.
To get started read this guide: How To Grow Magic Mushrooms In The UK. If you want an even easier option, consider buying a ready-to-go grow kit. This article will show where to buy the best magic mushroom grow kits in the UK.
Although fresh magic mushrooms used to be legal in the UK, since 2005 all psilocybin-containig funghi have been outlawed.
If you were to get caught in possession them or cultivating them, however, it’s unlikely you’ll face a severe punishment – especially if it’s a small amount that’s clearly for personal use.
Luckily, magic mushrooms spores are legal to buy in the UK (but to germinate them you’d be breaking the law) and you can buy grow kits easily online.
Read this article to learn more about growing your own mushrooms in the UK.
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