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APPENDIX 12

Guidelines for field mycologists: the practical interpretation of Section 21 of the Drugs Act 2005

This document has been prepared in consultation with the Home Office Drugs Branch Licensing Section and with reference to Home Office Circular 36 / 2005. Whilst the Home Office is happy that these guidelines are satisfactory from a legislative point of view, it should be noted that only the courts can give an authoritative view. Field mycologists, in following these guidelines, are acting lawfully and do not require a licence in so doing.

Overview: Section 21 of the Drugs Act 2005 amends the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971 to provide that all psilocybe magic mushrooms1, regardless of whether they constitute a preparation or a product, constitute a Class A drug. This was achieved by inserting

‘Fungus (of any kind) which contains psilocin or an ester of psilocin’

into Part 1 of Schedule 2 to the 1971 Act.

Thus, as of 18th July 2005, it is an offence to import, export, produce, supply, possess or possess with intent to supply magic mushrooms whatever form they are in, whether prepared or fresh.

Exceptions:

  • A person will not be committing an offence of possession of magic mushrooms if the mushrooms are growing uncultivated on his or her premises.

  • A person will not be committing an offence of possession if he or she picks magic mushrooms for disposal (i.e. destruction OR delivery to a person who can lawfully take custody of them,

    • e.

      g. licensed staff at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew and Edinburgh) as soon as is reasonably practicable and holds them in accordance with that purpose.

Licence provision: The Secretary of State can issue a licence in respect of the production, supply, offer to supply or possession of psilocybe fungi – normally for research purposes rather than for general use.

Such a licence is issued annually and currently costs £31.00 p.a. Applications would be made to:

Ian Breadmore or Mike Evans The Home Office Drugs Branch Licensing Section Floor 6, Peel Building 2, Marsham Street, London SW1P 4DF

1 The phrase ‘magic mushroom’ refers to all those species listed in Appendix 12A (below). This is a provisional list prepared by the Royal Botanic Garden, Kew: it reflects current knowledge only and revisions will need to be made as that knowledge expands.

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