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    As of July 1, 2023, magic mushrooms and psilocybin are legal in Australia when prescribed by authorised psychiatrists for specific conditions.

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      are magic mushrooms Psilocybin legal Australia

      Are Magic Mushrooms & Psilocybin Legal in Australia?

      Posted By , on July 3, 2024

      Laws in Australia are strict about whether it is legal to possess magic mushrooms containing psilocybin and psilocin. This is because they can cause hallucinations and dangerous side effects.

      However, they have been used by Indigenous communities for over a thousand years. Interest in their potential to treat mental health conditions like depression and PTSD has revived since the early 2000s.

      As of July 1, 2023, psilocybin is legal in Australia when prescribed by authorised psychiatrists for specific conditions. For all other uses, it remains illegal, with severe penalties for possession or supply based on the quantity. The Drug Misuse and Trafficking Act 1985 categorises drug quantities with increasing penalties. While magic mushroom spores and grow kits are legal, cultivation is not.

      What are Magic Mushrooms?

      Magic mushrooms are a type of mushroom containing psilocybin and psilocin, which causes hallucinations. They are also known as ‘shrooms’ or ‘mushies’. They can be consumed fresh, dried, powdered, or as a tea, and are classified as hallucinogens.

      These substances alter perceptions, distorting senses, reality, time, and emotions. In Australia, the most common varieties are gold caps/tops, blue meanies, and liberty caps. The effects of magic mushrooms can vary greatly between users and experiences, ranging from elation to terror.

      What is Psilocybin?

      Psilocybin is a psychedelic substance present in over 200 mushroom species.  In the body, it converts to psilocin, which induces hallucinogenic effects.

      Psilocybin is utilised in spiritual ceremonies, for recreational purposes and is under research for potential medical applications, including the treatment of addictions, depression, and other mental health conditions. Its effects may involve altered perceptions, strong emotions, and physical side effects such as increased heart rate or nausea.

      Are Magic Mushrooms Legal in Australia?

      As of July 1, 2023, magic mushrooms are legal in Australia if prescribed by specially authorised psychiatrists for treating certain mental health conditions. The Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) permits the use of psilocybin for treatment-resistant depression and MDMA for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Prescriptions are strictly controlled and limited to psychiatrists approved under the Authorised Prescriber Scheme. For all other uses, psilocybin remains a prohibited substance under Schedule 9 of the Poisons Standard.

      However, magic mushroom spores and grow kits are legal to possess because they do not contain psilocybin. However, cultivating magic mushrooms from these spores is illegal.

      Is Psilocybin Legal in Australia?

      Psilocybin is legal in Australia for medical use under Schedule 8 of the Poisons Standard. Specifically, authorised psychiatrists can prescribe psilocybin for treatment-resistant depression.

      This rescheduling acknowledges the lack of options for patients with certain treatment-resistant mental health conditions and follows applications, public consultation, and an expert panel’s evaluation.

      Psilocybin is listed as a prohibited drug in New South Wales in Schedule 1 of the Drug Misuse and Trafficking Act 1985 (NSW). It is illegal to supply or possess magic mushrooms in Australia unless it is for medically authorised purposes.

      Under the Drug Misuse and Trafficking Act 1985, penalties vary based on the type and amount of drug, rather than its perceived seriousness. These quantities are determined by weight alone, without considering the purity or concentration of the drug.

      The Act categorises drug amounts into small, trafficable, indictable, commercial, and large commercial quantities. For psilocybin, the specific quantity ranges are:

      • 0.04g is a small quantity
      • 0.15g is a trafficable quantity
      • 0.25g is an indictable quantity
      • 25g is a commercial quantity
      • 100g is a large commercial quantity

      What is a Hallucinogen?

      A hallucinogen is a drug that can cause false perceptions of reality. Hallucinations alter perceptions, mood, thought processes, and can cause people to see, hear, or feel things that aren’t there. These drugs can be natural, like psilocybin found in certain mushrooms, or synthetic.

      The effects of hallucinogens vary widely and depend on the individual, the specific drug, and the environment. Factors such as size, gender, health, mood, the amount and purity of the drug, and how it is taken influence the effects. Hallucinogens, also known as psychedelics, include drugs like LSD, mescaline, psilocybin, PCP, cannabis, ecstasy, ketamine, and salvia.

      Drug Laws in Australia

      The Criminal Code Act 1995 (Cth) contains the main drug laws in Australia. The Poisons Standard determines how a substance is restricted in Australia. The TGA manages and updates the Poisons Standard through public consultation. The drugs are listed in Schedules. For example, Schedule 8 lists controlled drugs, and Schedule 9 lists prohibited substances. A specialist drug lawyer will be able to provide expert advice on which drugs are prohibited and potential penalties if you are charged with a drug offence.

      Common drug offences usually include drug possession, supply, cultivating cannabis and import commercial quantity. Each state or territory is responsible for establishing its fines and penalties. Individual states can decriminalise psychedelics without the approval of the federal government.

      Cultivating a Prohibited Plant

      Cultivating a prohibited plant like magic mushrooms is a criminal offence punishable by imprisonment of between 2 years and 20 years depending on the quantity of plants.

      Penalties for Magic Mushrooms

      Possessing magic mushrooms or psilocybin carries a maximum penalty of two years imprisonment or a fine of $5,500.

      However, a specialist drug lawyer can often persuade a court to not record a conviction against you through a section 10 dismissal or a conditional release order (CRO) without conviction.

      Section 25(1) of the Drugs Misuse and Trafficking Act 1985 (NSW) makes it a criminal offence to supply or knowingly participates in the supply of psilocybin. If it is more than a commercial quantity of psilocybin, the maximum penalty is a $385,000 fine and/or twenty years imprisonment. Possessing more than a large commercial quantity can lead to a maximum penalty of a $550,000 fine and/or life imprisonment.

      Medical Uses of Magic Mushrooms

      Australian magic mushrooms have been used by some Indigenous communities for over 1000 years. In the 1960s, the hippie movement’s experimentation with psychedelic drugs led to moral panic and negative media coverage. Scientists explored psilocybin’s potential benefits for mental illness, but research ceased in the 1970s.

      Since the early 2000s, there has been renewed interest in the benefits of psychedelics like psilocybin, sparking new research in Australia and internationally. The National Drug Strategy Household Survey noted an increase in hallucinogen use since 2001, primarily involving magic mushrooms.

      Advocacy groups are pushing for psilocybin to be reclassified as a controlled medicine due to its proven effectiveness in treating chronic anxiety, depression, and PTSD. They aim to make it easier for doctors to prescribe psilocybin, backed by successful medical trials.

      However, these applications have been rejected pending further trials and studies. Currently, psilocybin use is only legal in clinical trials and psychedelic-assisted therapies funded by a $15 million Australian Government grant. The Therapeutic Goods Administration is reviewing the potential rescheduling of MDMA and psilocybin from Schedule 9 to Schedule 8. Despite promising research, possession and supply of psilocybin remain illegal across Australia until new laws are enacted.

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