Laws and Regulations

Are Magic Mushrooms Legal In California?

Written by Robert Hammell

California has always been a breeding ground for progressive and experimental policies.[1] When it came to cannabis legalization, California was one of the first and largest markets to do so within the United States.[2] When it comes to magic mushroom legalization, California was not the first, but could it be the next state to do so?

Magic Mushrooms Legal Status in California

Like the rest of America, magic mushrooms, and their primary chemical component psilocybin, are listed as a schedule 1 drug in the state of California.[3] This means that, in general, they are illegal. However, this does not represent the situation in the entire state. In 2019, Oakland became the first city in America to decriminalize both psilocybin and ayahuasca.[4] They were quickly followed by Santa Cruz, who decriminalized the same substances, and finally the city of Arcata which did as well.[5][6] All three of these cities achieved this decriminalization by directing law enforcement to lower the priority of apprehending magic mushroom users, sellers, and growers. So while magic mushrooms are not strictly legal, there are small pockets within the state where their use is tolerated.


Moving Forward: Will California Legalize?
There is hope that California may be the third state in America to legalize magic mushrooms. State Senator Scott Weiner put forward SB-519 in 2021 to decriminalize certain psychedelics across the state.[7] Due to lack of support in the state legislature, the bill never made it onto the ballot, but Weiner has pledged to continue pushing this initiative. Additionally, there is a grassroots effort called Decriminalize California that is pushing for a ballot initiative.[8] With 623,212 signatures, any issue can be added to the ballot in California.[9] In a state with a population of almost 40 million people, this only requires a small percentage to sign the petition to achieve this goal. With so many parties pushing for decriminalization, it may only be a matter of time before California legalizes magic mushrooms. And as California goes, so soon may the rest of the United States.


Reference List

1. Canon, G. (2021, January 22). “California is America, only sooner”: how the progressive state could shape Biden’s policies. The Guardian.

2. Major changes are coming to Californiaâs legal cannabis market. (2022, October 19).

3. Psilocybin [Ballot]. (2019, December 26).

4. Asmelash, L., & Ahmed, S. (2019, June 5). Oakland residents won’t be busted for using ‘magic mushrooms’ and other psychedelic drugs. CNN.

5. Kaur, H. (2020, February 4). Santa Cruz decriminalizes magic mushrooms and other natural psychedelics,making it the third US city to take such a step. CNN.

6. Arcata Decriminalizes Shrooms and Peyote. (n.d.). California City News.

7. Bill Text – SB-519 Controlled substances: study of decriminalization of certain hallucinogenic substances. (n.d.).

8. About – Decriminalize California. (n.d.).

9. How to Qualify an Initiative :: California Secretary of State. (n.d.).

About the author

Robert Hammell