and that as soon as possible after taking possession of it they took all such steps as were reasonably open to them to deliver it into the custody of such a person.
Effectively, thus far, any person can pick magic mushrooms for either the purpose of delivery or destruction, or acquire magic mushrooms for such purposes, so long as he holds them for and in accordance with either of those purposes.
There is also a defence in section 5(4)(a) of the 1971 Act for those who, having such fungi in their possession, can prove that that they took possession of the mushrooms (knowing or suspecting the fungi to be a controlled drug) for the purpose of preventing others from committing or continuing to commit an offence in connection with the fungi and that as soon as possible after taking possession of the fungi they had taken all such steps as were reasonably open to them to destroy the fungi or to deliver them into the custody of a person lawfully entitled to take custody of them.
Proof of lack of knowledge is also a defence to the offences of production, supply, possession and possession with intent to supply magic mushrooms under section 28 of the 1971 Act. Section 28 would apply, for example, where a person who picks magic mushrooms in the wild does not know or suspect and has no reason to suspect that they are magic mushrooms.
Licensing provision: Regulation 2(3) of the 2005 Regulations inserts a fungus containing psilocin or an ester of psilocin into Schedule 1 to the 2001 Regulations, enabling the Secretary of State to issue a licence under regulation 5 of the 2001 Regulations in respect of the production, supply, offer to supply or possession of those fungi – normally for research purposes rather than for general use.
Liz Holden BMSRN Co-ordinator
March 7th 2006