If you are caught possessing shrooms, you could face a series of legal consequences, including arrest, jail time, a lifelong criminal record and financial penalties.
Psychedelic mushrooms, also referred to as shrooms, can be obtained in several forms, including dried, powder, capsule, tea and edibles. All forms of hallucinogenic shrooms are illegal to possess and grow. Possession of shrooms can lead to lifelong criminal records and hefty financial consequences because they contain a chemical called psilocybin, which is a Schedule I controlled substance under federal law.
Shrooms are a naturally occurring hallucinogen with extremely psychoactive and psychologically addictive qualities. Schedule I drugs, including shrooms, are noteworthy for having the highest potential for misuse and psychological or physical dependence. The possession and distribution of Schedule I controlled substances, like shrooms, are subject to different statutory penalties from state to state.
Article at a Glance:
- Psychedelic mushrooms, casually referred to as shrooms, are illegal in the United States.
- The Drug Enforcement Administration classifies shrooms as a Schedule I substance.
- Penalties for possessing or distributing Schedule I substances can cost people millions and send them to jail for years.
- First-time offenders can partake in rehabilitation programs to eliminate their charges.
- Shroom use can be detected in urine tests for up to three days following use.
Why Are Shrooms Illegal in the U.S.?
Shrooms’ classification as a Schedule I controlled substance dictates that all forms and quantities of possession are illegal because the substance lacks any accepted medical applications. As a result, the use, possession, distribution, sale and trafficking of shrooms are crimes that carry different degrees of legal and financial consequences. Because shrooms are illicit and are not produced pharmaceutically, they can only be obtained on the black market, bought from someone who obtained them on the black market or cultivated using lawfully purchased (in some states) spores.
Criminal Penalty Associated With Shrooms
State-level criminal penalties for shroom-related offenses range from misdemeanor possession to serious felony charges. Misdemeanor charges are generally reserved for the smallest quantities of possession, and felony offenses are inclusive of multiple categories, such as trafficking and distribution, and apply to larger amounts of possession. The type of these penalties an individual faces are determined by the number of shrooms in the person’s possession, the way the substance came into the person’s possession and the intent of possession. Sentences for misdemeanor offenses often include probation, fines and short periods of incarceration. Misdemeanors are often eligible for a reduction in drug court. Felony offenses generally have more serious penalties and can result in maximum terms of incarceration in excess of 20 years in prison, depending upon the severity of the offense.
Trafficking violations of the Federal Controlled Substances Act for Schedule I controlled substances (such as shrooms) are felony offenses, which carry a financial penalty of between $1 million and $5 million and a prison sentence of up to 20 years. Repeat offenses can lead to additional financial penalties of between $2 and $10 million, alongside additional prison sentences of up to 30 years.
The Legality of Possessing Shrooms
Shrooms cannot be lawfully possessed in the United States. This fact means that the distribution, manufacturing, trafficking or any other interaction with shrooms is a criminal offense that leads to criminal prosecution (at either the state or federal level) in every state.
Individuals caught with shrooms are likely to face state misdemeanor, felony or federal felony charges, depending upon the nature of their offense. These charges include several serious legal and financial consequences.
Amount of Shrooms Possessed
While shroom possession is universally prohibited, the number of shrooms within an individual’s possession (at the time they are caught) will play a significant role in determining the type and severity of state-level criminal charges an individual will face.
Federal offenses for simple possession of shrooms are not just determined by the number of shrooms in a person’s possession but by the individual’s criminal history.
Laws stipulating the penalties associated with the use, possession and distribution of controlled substances, such as shrooms, vary by state. Consult a qualified attorney regarding your state’s specific laws.
Previous Criminal History
As with most other criminal offenses, an individual’s criminal history has a significant impact on the severity of penalties an individual faces following drug-related arrests.
With shrooms, first-time offenders are likely to be afforded leniency in prosecution, while individuals with prior drug-related convictions are likely to be subjected to increased penalties.
The negative effect of criminal history is not limited to previous drug convictions. Individuals with a prior violent felony or sex crime conviction also face steeper sentences in drug-related cases.
The compounding effect of criminal history also manifests at the federal level in mushroom possession cases. First-time offenders in federal shroom possession cases carry a minimum $1,000 fine and up to a year in jail. However, for individuals previously convicted of drug crimes, these penalties are significantly higher at $2,500 in fines and two years in jail. These penalties rise for each prior conviction.
As part of pretrial intervention programs, many states offer reduced sentences or the complete dismissal of charges in exchange for voluntary enrollment in court-appointed rehab programs. For example, the state of Florida offers pretrial intervention programs to any first-time, non-violent misdemeanor or felony offender. In these cases, individuals charged with drug-related crimes enter into deferred prosecution agreements that include court-appointed rehabilitation alongside counseling, education, supervision and additional medical and psychological treatment. After the conditions of their agreement are met in full (including the court-appointed rehabilitation program), the state dismisses charges against the individual. An individual who has committed a first-time offense involving shroom possession may be able to participate in such a program.
Getting Caught High on Shrooms
Random drug test programs can detect shroom use and are frequently required while an individual is on probation for drug charges. The penalties for violating the conditions of probation are far in excess of the penalties associated with the original offense.
Shrooms are not typically detectable in most drug tests, such as blood and hair follicle tests. However, there are specific urine tests, often used by employers and probation officers, that specifically check for shroom use and can detect mushroom use in an individual for one to three days following use.
Positive drug tests while on probation will likely invalidate any pretrial intervention programs and present new and distinct legal and financial repercussions.
Getting Caught Selling Shrooms
The penalties for selling shrooms will vary based on where you live, but criminal penalties for drug sales are more severe than for simple possession. For example, the penalty for trafficking a Schedule I controlled substance like shrooms is a fine of up to $5 million and 20 years in prison. This compares to a minimum fine of $1,000 and up to a year in prison for the first offense of simple possession.
Getting Caught Growing Shrooms
Like selling shrooms, growing the drugs typically comes with a harsher penalty than simple possession. The act of growing shrooms falls under the category of “manufacture,” which comes with the same criminal penalties as trafficking. Growing shrooms could subject you to millions of dollars in fines and up to 20 years in prison.
If you or a loved one abuses shrooms for their psychedelic effects, consider seeking treatment. Contact The Recovery Village today to speak to a representative about your addiction and how treatment can address it and any co-occurring mental health disorders you may have. Avoid lengthy sentences and costly fines by seeking treatment for shroom abuse today.
By – Bryan Hindin
Bryan Hindin is a law clerk with years of experience working in personal injury, criminal defense, and employment law firms. Read more
Editor – Thomas Christiansen
With over a decade of content experience, Tom produces and edits research articles, news and blog posts produced for Advanced Recovery Systems. Read more
Editor – Abby Doty
Abby Doty graduated from Hamline University in 2021 with a Bachelor's in English and Psychology. She has written and edited creative and literary work as well as academic pieces focused primarily on psychology and mental health. Read more
Medically Reviewed By – Jenni Jacobsen, LSW
Jenni Jacobsen is a licensed social worker through the Ohio Counselor, Social Worker and Marriage and Family Therapist Board. She has seven years of experience working in the social work field, working with clients with addiction-related and mental health diagnoses. Read more
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Yeh, Brian T. “Drug Offenses: Maximum Fines and Term[…]and Related Laws.”“>“Drug […]ated Laws.” Congressional Research Service, January 20, 2015. Accessed September 24, 2022.
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