Psilocybin, the active alkaloid found in most species of magic mushrooms is currently scheduled as a class A controlled substance in New Zealand. This is the same classification given to hard drugs like cocaine, heroin and methamphetamine. The maximum penalty for possession of a Class A drug is six months’ jail or a $1,000 fine, or both.
But New Zealand Drug Foundation chief executive Sarah Helm say's New Zealand's legal framework around psilocybin does not make sense. She says people should not be criminalized for psilocybin use.
She told the New Zealand Herald "It's unhelpful, doesn't deter use and (psilocybin) may in fact be preventing some people from using other substances. The harm of criminal prosecution on someone's life would far exceed the harm from psilocybin."
With magic mushrooms, the biggest risk is consuming the wrong kind of mushroom. Helm says criminalization stopped people from accessing robust information.
“Psilocybin has been shown to be a generally low-harm substance and yet it is a Class A drug. The classification system is meant to reflect the risk to the public, yet this is not the case.”
In the recent US midterm elections, Colorado joined Oregon in decriminalizing the use of psilocybin and other psychedelics, and legalizing clinical psilocybin treatment, Helm told the Herald. “This makes sense. Our legal framework does not. “We are aware that people self-medicate using psilocybin, particularly as they see the emerging research and are unable to access it in a therapeutic setting.”
She said there was incredibly promising research about the positive use of the drug in the treatment of anxiety and depression, including a recent study showing that a single dose of psilocybin may be able to impact treatment-resistant depression.
Here at MindFuel our team all strongly agree on the points Sarah is making. We urge the New Zealand government to decriminalize magic mushrooms and psilocybin. You can read the complete article at the Herald's site.
Sources: NZ Drug Foundation, The Herald.