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Tripping Around The World: The Global Legal Landscape of Psychedelics

Psychedelics have been illegal in much of the world for over half a century. However, that is starting to change. As the medical and spiritual benefits…



Psychedelics have been illegal in much of the world for over half a century. However, that is starting to change. As the medical and spiritual benefits of psychedelics become increasingly apparent, more cities, states, and countries are changing the laws that govern these compounds.

The following is an outline of the global laws governing psychedelics as of June 1, 2023. Fortunately, laws are constantly changing! To stay up to date on where psychedelics are legalized and decriminalized, keep an eye on our legal guide, which is constantly being updated to reflect changes in regulations.

Legalized VS Decriminalized

Many cities, states, and even countries have begun to change their laws surrounding psychedelics. Some have completely legalized certain substances, while others have decriminalized them. There is an important distinction between the two.

To legalize a psychedelic means that, well, it is fully legal to use the substance. Unfortunately, no government has yet legalized all psychedelic compounds. However, some have begun to change their laws for MDMA and psilocybin (the active ingredient in magic mushrooms). And, there are several countries that have allowed the use of certain psychedelics for years.

Even areas that are changing their laws have restrictions on the compounds. This might include restrictions on the age you must be to access these compounds and who is able to sell or prescribe them. 

On the other hand, decriminalization of psychedelics simply makes it the lowest priority for law enforcement. Decriminalization does nothing to change the legal status. However, it does mean that users of psychedelics will be less likely to face problems with the law. 

United States

In the US, two states have legalized and over a dozen cities have decriminalized psychedelics for possession and personal use. 

In 2020, Oregon passed a proposition that allows access to psilocybin through licensed service centers. The program went into effect on January 1, 2023. Some of the main issues that we have seen with it so far have been the cost of treatment and a shortage of licensed practitioners and facilities.

Colorado passed similar legislation in the mid-term election in November 2022, legalizing psilocybin use in a licensed facility for people over 21 years of age. The state also decriminalized personal use and possession. The program will go into effect at the end of 2024. The proposition also allows several other psychedelic compounds to be added to the list of legalized substances in 2026 if all goes well with psilocybin. 

Psilocybin and MDMA will likely become FDA-approved within the next couple of years, with MAPS less than a year from the approval of MDMA for PTSD. FDA approval will allow medical professionals to prescribe these compounds legally. It will not, however, change the federal scheduling of these compounds. They will remain illegal, and only the approved drug will be available for legal consumption.


Though psychedelics remain illegal in Canada, the country’s enforcement of its laws regarding them is incredibly lax. Several major cities in Canada have stores where an array of psychedelic compounds can be purchased, and they are not your average underground psychedelic dealer.

Psychedelic dispensaries are as public as coffee shops or restaurants. They make no effort to conceal themselves, as people selling illegal substances usually do, and law enforcement in Canada has made no effort to shut them down. 

While there remains no action from Canada’s government to legalize psychedelic substances, there are several signs that it will happen in the future. Cannabis went through several of the processes that psychedelics are going through now before it was finally legalized. First was the illegal cannabis dispensaries operating publicly that saw little to no legal action against them. Second was a lawsuit against the government claiming that citizens have a legal right to cannabis. The lawsuit ultimately won, and psilocybin is currently going through a similar process. 


Europe, of course, has varied laws throughout its countries. The primary places of interest here are The Netherlands, The UK, and Portugal. All three countries are pioneering the legal landscape of psychedelic use in different ways. 

The only place where psychedelics are legal in Europe is The Netherlands. There is a loophole in the country’s laws that allow the sale and consumption of psilocybin-containing Mushroom Truffles— the part of the mushroom that grows underground. This loophole has made The Netherlands a popular place for people to travel to consume psychedelics legally. It has also become a target market for several psychedelic companies. 

Portugal is also pioneering the legal landscape as one of the first countries to decriminalize all illegal drugs, including psychedelics. No, psychedelics aren’t technically legal. However, people can use them for personal reasons without fear of legal repercussions. 

The last country of interest in Europe is England. An incredibly high volume of pioneering psychedelic research has been coming out of England for quite a few years, even though there have been no legal changes yet. The country will likely be one of the first in Europe to make significant changes to the legal status of psychedelic compounds.

Central America

Central America is a popular place for psychedelic clinics and retreat centers because of its’ countries lax laws and enforcement. It is also relatively close in proximity to countries where it is difficult to access treatment, such as the US. 

In Mexico, all psychedelic compounds except Bufo Frog (5-MeO-DMT) are illegal. However, the country’s law enforcement pays little attention to psychedelic drugs because they have bigger problems to deal with. Psychedelic centers in Mexico do occasionally have issues with the police, however, they can generally be solved with a little bribe.

Costa Rica has become another hub for psychedelic treatment centers. Ayahuasca and Ibogaine remain unscheduled drugs in the country, making it possible for practitioners to set up shop without fear of legal repercussions. Although other psychedelic compounds remain illegal and have heavy penalties, 5-MeO-DMT, and psilocybin treatments can also be found in relative abundance. 

South America

Several South American countries offer access to psychedelic treatment. However, it has not been as popular a location as Mexico and Costa Rica for “designer” psychedelic treatment centers because it is a much further location for many people seeking treatment. 

Ayahuasca and San Pedro (mescaline) are both very popular psychedelics in South American countries such as Peru, Columbia, and Brazil. In Peru, these two traditional plant medicines are fully legal. As for other psychedelic compounds, personal possession is decriminalized. Despite manufacturing and selling other psychedelics, such as psilocybin, being illegal, you can find these products for sale in many stores and coffee shops across Peru. 

Brazil is another popular hub for ayahuasca. This plant originated in the Amazon rainforest, which inhabits Columbia, Bolivia, Peru, and Brazil. All psychedelics are illegal in Columbia, yet many centers continue to operate in the country with no problems from law enforcement. On the other hand, mushrooms and ayahuasca are legal in Brazil. 


Jamaica had become a popular psychedelic destination because of the legal status of mushrooms. Mushrooms were never listed under the country’s Dangerous Drug Act, so people can manufacture, cultivate, and sell products containing psilocybin. Many retreats have popped up in Jamaica as a result. It is also relatively close for people traveling from the east coast, making it a convenient location to obtain psychedelic treatment. 


It comes as no surprise that Asia has not enthusiastically joined the psychedelic movement. Drug laws and stigmas in many Asia countries an extremely conservative. The only Asian country that has made a name for itself in the psychedelic space is Thailand. 

Though psychedelics remain illegal in Thailand— and the country has very strict drug laws— it is not uncommon to find “mushroom shakes” sold at bars. In addition, the government began funding a study testing psilocybin for the treatment of depression in 2022. The research will take several years, but if the results are positive (and the current data says it will be), then the Thai government will strongly consider legalizing mushrooms. 

Other than that, Asia is not a very psychedelic-friendly part of the world. Its’ countries will likely be the last to join in on the movement. 


Australia recently changed its regulations pertaining to psilocybin and MDMA. As of July 1, 2023, both compounds will be legal to use for medical purposes. Though, personal use and possession outside of a licensed medical setting remain illegal. 

People will soon be able to access psychedelics to treat medical conditions, however, the out-of-pocket price for such treatments is astronomical. As Australia’s legal psychedelic program begins next month, it is worth keeping an eye on how it plays out. Its’ successes and failures will be useful pointers for other countries and states wishing to do something similar.

New Zealand

New Zealand is one of the few places in the world where you can access legal, medical ibogaine treatment. Doctors are able to prescribe the drug to treat addiction— specifically opioid dependence. Unfortunately for people outside of New Zealand or Australia, it is not an easy location to get to. 

As a result of its distance from the rest of the world, the country has not seen much outside tourism from people seeking out ibogaine. People from the US, Canada, and Europe tend to head to Mexico instead.
There you have it for our legal guide to psychedelics! If you are interested in staying up to date and/or learning more, we have a few more resources for you. Our complete guide to psychedelic legalization is updated regularly to reflect the constantly changing in global regulations. We also have a comprehensive regulations and politics report available for PRO members, which covers the subject in more detail.

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