Image credit: Noa Knafo
Disclaimer: none of the retreats or businesses mentioned in this article are affiliated with, or endorsed by, EntheoNation. We do not encourage illegal activities, and at the time of writing all the information here relates to activities that are not illegal in the host countries.
Psilocybin mushrooms, better known as “magic mushrooms,” are among the most well-loved psychedelics globally. As the safest illicit substance in existence1 with low addictive potential, extremely low potential for abuse,2 and myriad prospective therapeutic benefits, it’s strange to think that in most of the world it carries the same punishments as possessing crystal meth. However, as asking “why?” leads nowhere in this case, we can turn to more productive questions such as “where can I try this phenomenal substance without repercussions?”
Without further ado, we present to you some of the most appealing and available options to procure and consume magic mushrooms as safely and legally as possible. Make sure to consult our full article on the legality of magic mushrooms for more information.
Legal Magic Mushrooms in Canada
Psilocybin is classified as a Schedule III substance in Canada under the country’s Controlled Drugs and Substances Act,3 meaning selling magic mushrooms could carry criminal penalties, although possession is legal. There is, however, an option to purchase magic mushroom microdoses from a private dispensary that the government is as of yet not attempting to take down in any substantial capacity.
Dana Larsen, a veteran cannabis activist and owner of a couple of medical marijuana dispensaries in Vancouver (and, incidentally, the author of Hairy Pothead and the Marijuana Stone), founded The Mushroom Dispensary in July 2019. This is an online store through which clients can order pills of psilocybin microdoses packed with anywhere from 12.5 to 100mg of ground up Golden Teacher mushrooms.
To become a member of the dispensary, patients are required to provide a confirmation of a medical condition for which psilocybin may be beneficial, such as PTSD, depression, or cancer-related anxiety. The microdoses themselves are shipped only within Canada.
After announcing his plans to open up a physical storefront, a motion to cease and desist was promptly filed against Larsen in July 2019. However, it was defeated by the city council in September 2019, by which this dispensary, although still unlawful at the national level, was effectively green-lit by local law.
Due to the miniscule amounts that are being sold, psilocybin’s potential clinical benefits and non-addictive properties, and the patient screening which ensures it’s for personal use only, Larsen firmly believes that the government will not be able to dismantle his venture in the future. And, with mushroom decriminalization starting up just next door in the US, where psilocybin is designated as an even higher priority illicit substance (Schedule I), Canada seems to not be too pressed on overturning the tides of change either.
Legal Magic Mushrooms in the Netherlands
It’s no secret that the Netherlands has been serving the psychedelic needs of all Europe and beyond for decades. The country used to have an extremely lenient stance toward psilocybin mushrooms, with numerous strains available for purchase and consumption in specialized coffee shops and dispensaries throughout Amsterdam.
However, with the accumulation of public outrage following a few magic mushroom-related incidents, the government decided to legislate. In 2008, production, possession (of over 0.5g dry or 5g fresh mushrooms), and sales of psilocybin mushrooms was declared illegal.4
Fortunately, this ban only included the actual fully grown fungi. The underground mycelial clumps known as truffles, or sclerotia, somehow made it through this legal loophole, and have since replaced magic mushrooms on retail shelves as the next best thing. You can learn about the differences between psilocybin truffles and mushrooms here.
Aside from smart shops, magic truffles can also legally be enjoyed as part of retreats held in and around the disenthralled capital. A highly acclaimed retreat center in Amsterdam is Synthesis. Another is run by the London Psychedelic Society. Both these retreats include medical supervision and individualized focus on personal integration.
Another option for buying psilocybin truffles is through any of the number of online shops operating from the Netherlands. Having them delivered to a country where they are illegal, though, is still subject to local laws and may lead to criminal persecution.
Legal Magic Mushrooms in Mexico
Psilocybin mushrooms have a long history of sacramental use by indigenous peoples of Mesoamerica.5 Aztec and Mayan artifacts and artwork strongly suggest that mushrooms were ritually used in these cultures some 2,000 years ago for the purpose of communication with deities.6 Other tribes from the region, such as Mazatec, Mixtec, Nauhua and Zapatec, are known to have used psilocybin mushrooms in the same vein. The name given to the psychedelic fungi was Teonanácatl, which translates to “God flesh.”
Today, although psilocybin is officially illegal in Mexico, mushroom rituals involving indigenous healers are usually disregarded by the authorities. Mushrooms are still consumed in a few small villages in the mountainous region of the Sierra Mazatec (in the northern part of Oaxaca). This region, and especially a small town by the name of Huautla de Jimenez, have been on the receiving end of Western curiosity since the 1950s when Robert Gordon Wasson “discovered” them and publicized their shamanic rituals involving psychoactive fungi.
As it tends to happen with sacred indigenous traditions, too much publicity inevitably contributed to a drastic change in the landscape of traditional healing of these Mazatecos. As a result, local reverence toward the ritualistic use of mushrooms has dwindled over time and is today upheld in a more-or-less theatrical way in order to indulge the visitors’ desires for an “authentic” experience. This is not to say that truly authentic experiences are nowhere to be found, just that it may be difficult in these parts which have seen almost seven decades of commercialization.
As an alternative to these small-scale local shamanic options, high-end retreat centers are also welcoming visitors who are in need of more comfort and better amenities.
Legal Magic Mushrooms in Brazil
While psilocybin and psilocin are illicit substances under Brazilian law, the psilocybin mushroom species themselves are in a legal loophole. Due to this, their possession, production, and distribution are completely overlooked by authorities; so much so that there are numerous online shops which deliver them throughout the country, and in some places, like Florianopolis, they can be purchased in actual physical stores. Although this lenient stance is current as of 2019, it may change in the coming years if Jair Bolsonaro’s regime clamps down on psychoactive substances.
Legal Magic Mushrooms in the British Virgin Islands
The BVI is a group of islands where magic mushrooms grow in abundance, and are legal to possess and consume. However, their distribution is still illegal. The law on this matter is largely unenforced, yet still on most islands foraging is the only way to go, as there are few or no options to purchase them. Tortola, however, the most populated and, more importantly, most visited island of the BVI, is an exception, with ample businesses and individuals openly selling them.
Legal Magic Mushrooms in Jamaica
Jamaica is one of the few easily accessible countries that have never had psilocybin regulated, and the police accordingly turn a blind eye to their distribution. As such, in certain areas, such as Negril, mushrooms are sold openly in small shops and by individuals.
Jamaica has also developed a solid infrastructure for hosting visitors in a psychedelic retreat context. A couple of well-known magic mushroom retreat centers operate in the country.
Are Magic Mushrooms Legal in Southeast Asia?
“Magic mushroom shakes” is a phrase familiar to anyone who has spent some time traveling around popular tourist destinations in Southeast Asia, specifically Thailand, Laos, and Indonesia. Still, however common these shakes may be, psilocybin is a scheduled substance in all these countries, and the penalties can be quite severe. The strict laws are in stark contrast to the relaxed attitude surrounding both the sales and consumption of these frosty psychedelic beverages in select backpacker havens, usually small seaside towns.
The shakes or smoothies usually consist of blended fruits, ice, and magic mushrooms. However, whether psilocybin mushrooms are actually the ingredient is usually uncertain, as you’d be hard pressed to see the actual mushrooms in their unpulverized form upon demand. Perhaps not having the mushrooms in their whole form is part of a compromise with the local police, and perhaps sometimes other substances with similar effects are used. Myriad anecdotal accounts that can easily be found online do read like mild mushroom trip reports, but consuming something that you can’t be sure is what you intend to consume is never advised.
Here’s a quick rundown of the destinations where magic mushroom shakes are abundantly available:
Magic Mushrooms in Thailand
Numerous destinations in the ‘Land of Smiles’ are well-known for peddling magic mushroom shakes, with little chance of repercussions from the authorities. They can be purchased in select bars mostly on islands in the south of the country (Koh Phangan, Koh Lanta, Phi Phi islands, Phuket, Koh Samui, Koh Tao, Ao Nang beach, and others), and the lenient stance toward their distribution is likely owed to a mutually beneficial agreement between the venue owners and the law.
However, at times, the signs for mushroom shakes may be ploys set up by the police in order to capture visitors engaging in this highly illegal activity, threaten them with jail time, and shake them down for bribes. Thailand has notoriously strict drug laws, and we strongly advise against consuming psychedelics there.
Magic Mushrooms in Laos
Laos followed the path set out by its more frequently visited neighboring country, and also developed an offer of psilocybin mushrooms served in shakes, pizzas, teas, and other consumable varieties.
The most popular place where these “special” menus can be found is the party capital Vang Vieng. Unfortunately, due to a series of fatal accidents involving foreign visitors, river tubing, and copious amounts of alcohol and psychedelics, this town was subject to an intense government crackdown in 2012. Psilocybin-based delicacies can still be found, but police shakedowns are not unheard of.
One more town which serves up mushroom shakes in select bars in an idyllic riverside setting is the popular backpacker island on the Mekong Delta just north of the border with Cambodia, Don Det.
The same warnings that go for Thailand apply for Laos as well.
Magic Mushrooms in Indonesia
With some of the strictest drug laws in the world, this majority Muslim country has been known to dish out death penalties for possession of even moderate amounts of psychoactives. Events frequented by foreigners are commonly raided, especially in Bali, and the visitors may be searched and forced to provide urine samples with a zero-tolerance policy.
Having said that, the Gili Islands (Gili Trawangan, Gili Meno, or Gili Air) seem to be largely exempt from this ruthless enforcement. Known far and wide as a safe haven for trip-hungry backpackers, these islands have for many years been home to numerous bars that openly sell mushroom shakes.
However, it’s important to note that, as of 2019, the police presence in Trawangan has risen significantly, and numerous arrests have been made for drug trafficking. For this reason, we also advise against taking magic mushrooms, or any other psychedelic, in this country.
Be Mindful of the Law
If you’re traveling to a foreign country with an intention of consuming magic mushrooms, always make sure to thoroughly check the current regulations and situation both on official government portals as well as online public forums. We do not condone breaking the law; we advise you to take utmost care even in areas where it is not enforced, and to stay fully up to date with the changes in local drug policies.