The legal status of psilocybin substances, including magic mushrooms, is in a gray area. The Canadian province of Alberta has become one of the first jurisdictions to regulate and allow the use of psychedelic drugs for medicinal purposes in drug-assisted psychotherapy. The new regulations came into effect in January 2023.
In general, Hallucinogenic drugs, including magic mushrooms, are illegal in Canada for recreational use. Moreover, possession, distribution, cultivation, import, and export of hallucinogens are unlawful in Canada.
However, psilocybin can be used for medical and therapeutic purposes under a Special Access Program request or if Health Canada grants a Section 56 exemption.
This article discusses the current legal status of magic mushrooms in Canada, the history of psilocybin mushroom law, and laws and regulations for recreational, medical, and therapeutic use. It further informs when it is a felony to possess magic mushrooms and penalties for possessing mushrooms. It also guides on how to buy and use shrooms legally in Canada.
Are magic mushrooms legal in Canada?
No, magic mushrooms are not legal in Canada as of 2023. Psilocybin mushrooms are placed under Schedule III of the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act, which prohibits possession, distribution (both selling and buying), production and cultivation, import and export of magic mushrooms and their derived products.
Federal law can give permission, known as “Section 56 Exemptions”, for medical, scientific, and therapeutic purposes. People living with mental health disorders can legally access psilocybin through a health-care provider for psilocybin assisted therapy.
Canadian cities, like Vancouver and Toronto, have decriminalized the possession of psilocybin mushrooms in small amounts, according to Toronto.ca and gov.bc.ca. British Columbia, the Canadian province in which Vancouver is, decriminalized psilocybin containing fungi for personal possession on 31st Jan 2023, and Toronto City started decriminalizing psychedelic drugs for personal use in 2021 after the Toronto Board of Health instructed the Medical Officer of Health to begin the decriminalizing process. Decriminalization means reducing legal penalties for possessing magic mushrooms in small amounts. However, selling and buying large amounts of magic mushrooms is still illegal across Canada.
When caught possessing magic mushrooms, the government has to prove that the substance is an illegal drug listed under schedule III of CDSA and that you possess it even after knowing it is illegal, according to CDSA’s rules. The degree of legal punishment depends upon the amount of magic mushrooms in possession, the purpose of possession (i.e. selling, trafficking across Canada, consuming, etc.), and how the government treats your case.
For instance, if the government charges you with a less serious crime and it is your first time, you could be punished with up to 1000 CAD of fine, up to 6 months of prison time, or both. If it is not your first time getting caught with magic mushrooms, then you could be punished with a maximum fine of 2000 CAD, up to 1 year of jail time, or both.
If charged with a serious crime, you could be punished with up to 3 years in prison. For magic mushroom trafficking or more serious charges, the legal penalties or punishments get worse.
History of Psilocybin Mushroom Law
The history of strict psilocybin mushroom laws started in 1970 when the USA approved the federal Controlled Substances Act 1970, which Canada later signed, according to Psychedeliclaw.ca. Before 1970, psilocybin was used for research, recreation, cultural practices, and therapeutic treatments.
Canada added strict drug laws to its FDA in 1971 to align with the United Nations’ 1971 Convention on Psychotropic Substances. Psilocybin was added to the FDA list in 1974, thus making it illegal for distribution, production, possession, import, and export.
Canada brought the CDSA (Controlled Drugs and Substances Act) in 1996 and created a unified drug law by combining some parts of the FDA and Narcotics Control Act. Under CDSA, psychedelic substances, including psilocybin, are added to the Schedule III list.
Psychedelic research was growing in numbers in the late 1990s and early 2000s in Canada. The psychedelic research showed the positive effects of psychedelics, including psilocybin mushrooms, in treatments of depression, anxiety, PTSD, addiction, etc.
Health Canada, inspired by the results of psychedelic research, started granting permissions or exemptions for conducting medical research and clinical trials involving psilocybin, and other psychoactive substances, in 2013. Health Canada recently started funding scientific research research seeing promising results of psychedelics in medical procedures, including 3 Psilocybin-assisted psychotherapy clinical trials; 2 trials are done by the University of Toronto, and another trial is done by the University of Calgary.
Health Canada extended these exemptions for psilocybin therapy for treating patients suffering from end-of-life anxiety in August 2020. By December 2020, Health Canada created a Special Access Program and permitted certain healthcare professionals to possess psilocybin and use it for research purposes and to treat patients with serious psychological issues.
Current status of magic mushroom regulations explained
In 2023, the magic mushroom is illegal to possess, cultivate, distribute, import, and export across Canada. Psilocybin mushrooms are listed under Schedule III of CDSA, making them illegal across all provinces of Canada. Health Canada can give permission, using Section 56 Exemptions, to possess and use magic mushrooms in certain situations, such as medical research and the Special Access Program.
Cities such as Vancouver and Toronto decriminalized the possession of psilocybin in small amounts. Possessing psilocybin in large amounts is still illegal across Canada. Decriminalization refers to reduced penalties when charged for possessing psilocybin in small amounts.
Medical use of shrooms
Magic mushrooms can be used in medical research or clinical trials after receiving Health Canada’s special permission, called Section 56 Exemptions, which allows psilocybin use in certain situations, according to CDSA.
In 2013, Health Canada began permitting the use of psilocybin for medical research and clinical trials to study the effect of psilocybin in the treatments of psychological issues, such as addiction, anxiety, depression, PTSD, and treatment-resistant depression.
In December 2020, Health Canada gave Section 56 Exemptions to 16 medical professionals or health care practitioners to possess psilocybin mushrooms and use them for research and development purposes, according to CBC.ca.
Magic mushrooms can be used for therapeutic uses in Canada after getting Section 56 Exemptions from Health Canada, according to CDSA. Health Canada has been exempting psilocybin therapy for patients suffering from end-of-life anxiety and depression since August 2020.
In December 2020, Health Canada started a Special Access Program to allow healthcare professionals to possess and use psilocybin for treating patients dealing with severe or life-threatening conditions who are resistant to conventional treatments.
Magic mushrooms are illegal for recreational use in Canada. Psilocybin is listed under CDSA’s Schedule III, thus making it illegal to possess and use for recreational, cultural, and religious purposes. If charged for having psilocybin mushrooms, a person can be punished with fines, jail time, or both. The amount of fine or duration of jail time depends upon the degree of charges. For less serious charges, you can be punished with a fine of 1000 CAD, 6 months of prison, or both.
When is it a felony to possess a magic mushroom?
It would be a felony to possess a magic mushroom in Canada if the purpose were to distribute to minors and trafficking mushrooms illegally, according to CDSA. The crown prosecutor charges you for possessing and decides if it is a felony based on factors including the purpose of possession and the amount of magic mushroom possessed.
The penalties for a felony or indictable offense include jail time of up to 3 years. If the purpose for possessing magic mushrooms was trafficking or exporting, the penalties could include prison time of a maximum of 10 years.
Magic mushroom possession penalties
There are different penalties for possessing magic mushrooms based on the seriousness of the offense, according to CDSA. The penalties are described below for summary conviction and indictable offense.
- Summary Conviction: If it is your first offence, you will be punished with a fine of up to 1000 CAD, 6 months of prison sentence, or both. For subsequent offenses, you will be punished with a fine of up to 2000 CAD, 12 months of prison sentence, or both. If you were charged with the offense of trafficking and exporting magic mushrooms, you can get a prison sentence of 18 months.
- Indictable Offense: The penalties for indictable offenses include prison time of a maximum of 3 years. However, if you were caught while trafficking and exporting mushrooms, you can get up to 10 years of jail time.
The crown prosecutor has the discretion to decide if your offense is a summary conviction or an indictable offense.
How to buy and use shrooms legally
You can buy and use shrooms legally in Canada by getting special approval from Health Canada under Section 56 Exemptions.
Clinical trials of psilocybin mushroom spores, have shown promising results for the treatment of a variety of mental health conditions, including depression, anxiety, obsessive compulsive disorder, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). However, there are currently no approved therapeutic products by the Federal Government drugs act containing psychedelic controlled substance in Canada or elsewhere.
Health Canada can exempt possessing and using magic mushrooms in certain situations, such as medical research, clinical trials, therapeutic accesstreatment of patients suffering from severe psychological issues (such as: cluster headaches, life threatening conditions, etc), and Special Access Program.
After getting special permissions, you can buy magic mushrooms legally from online sellers like Microdosify. Microdosify is the best online store for psilocybin products, including psilocybin capsules and gummies. We, Microdosify, have psilocybin products optimized for potential therapeutic benefits, such as unlocking your creativity, improving mental focus, and instilling a sense of calmness within you.
Are magic mushroom edibles legal?
No, magic mushroom edibles are not legal in Canada.
In which provinces and territories magic mushrooms are banned?
Magic mushrooms are banned in all the provinces and territories of Canada. Some cities, like Vancouver and Toronto, have decriminalized the possession of magic mushrooms in small amounts, but possessing them in large amounts is still illegal.
Can you buy magic mushrooms over the counter?
You can buy magic mushrooms over the counter in Canada. The operations of stores are not legal, but the police and government are lenient and do not take strict actions unless stores are selling to minors or dealing in serious crimes like psilocybin trafficking.
Where can you buy Psilocybin mushrooms online?
You can buy Psilocybin mushrooms online from Microdosify. Microdosify sells psilocybin capsules such as CREATE (for unleashing the creator within), CALM (for instilling inner peace and calmness), and FOCUS (for enhancing mental focus and concentration).
Magic mushrooms are illegal in Canada. Psilocybin mushrooms are added to Schedule III of CDSA, making them illegal to possess, distribute, produce, import, and export. However, Health Canada can give Section 56 Exemptions in certain situations such as medical research, clinical trials, treatment of patients suffering from end-of-life anxiety, and Special Access Program.
Consolidated federal laws of Canada, Controlled Drugs and Substances Act. (2023, August 30). https://laws-lois.justice.gc.ca/eng/acts/c-38.8/page-11.html#h-95603
Psilocybin-assisted psychotherapy research grant. (2023, June 29). Canada.ca. https://www.canada.ca/en/institutes-health-research/news/2023/06/psilocybin-assisted-psychotherapy-research-grant.html
Toronto’s Model of Decriminalizing Drugs for Personal Use. (24, 2023). Toronto.ca. https://www.toronto.ca/wp-content/uploads/2023/03/94de-Torontos-Model-of-Decriminalizing-Drugs-for-Personal-use-March-22-2023-FINAL.pdf
Dubinski, K. (2020, December 10). Some doctors, therapists get Health Canada permission to use magic mushrooms. CBC. https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/london/some-doctors-therapists-get-health-canada-permission-to-use-magic-mushrooms-1.5834485
Consolidated federal laws of Canada, Controlled Drugs and Substances Act. (2023, August 30). https://laws-lois.justice.gc.ca/eng/acts/c-38.8/page-1.html#h-94405
Decriminalizing people who use drugs in B.C. (2023, September 15). Province of British Columbia. https://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/overdose/decriminalization