For the most part, psychedelics are still illegal in Mexico with a few exceptions.
As Mexico’s lawmakers continue to express their interest in legalizing magic mushrooms, more questions about the legal status of psychedelics in Mexico have arisen.
Mexico’s drug laws, specifically pertaining to entheogenic substances, can be quite ambiguous, as some substances are tolerated in select scenarios but prohibited in most others.
In this article, you will learn everything you need to know about the legality of psychedelics in Mexico, including the legal nuances around each substance.
Are psychedelics legal in Mexico?
The black and white answer to this question is no, with one major exception.
The exception lies under Article 195 bis of the Federal Penal Code, where it states that you can not be prosecuted for using psilocybin mushrooms or 5-MeO-DMT for traditional spiritual practices or ceremonies. This provision was created to protect the cultural and religious rights of indigenous communities who have a long history of incorporating these substances into their sacred rituals. It has led to the opening of a number of psychedelic retreat centers in Mexico and has given rise to a new category in the Mexican economy known as “psychedelic tourism” — where tourists visit solely for a transformative spiritual experience.
Outside of this provision, psychedelics, generally speaking, are considered to be illegal with distinct legal considerations for each substance.
Legal Status of Psychedelics in Mexico
|Substance||Legal Status||legal use||Penalties|
|Psilocybin||Illegal (except for traditional practices)||Traditional spiritual practices or ceremonies||Hefty fines and 4-7 years in prison|
|LSD||Illegal||Possession of small amounts (less than 0.015mg)||Hefty fines and 4-7 years in prison|
|Ketamine||Legal for medicinal purposes||Administered by licensed medical professionals in clinics||Hefty fines and 4-7 years in prison|
|DMT (traditional)||Illegal (except for traditional practices)||Traditional spiritual practices or ceremonies||Hefty fines and 4-7 years in prison|
|5-MeO-DMT||Legal for traditional practices||Traditional spiritual practices or ceremonies||Hefty fines and 4-7 years in prison|
|Ibogaine||Unregulated||Treatment for PTSD, addiction, and other mental health illnesses||Unregulated|
Is Psilocybin Legal in Mexico?
If you are caught with psilocybin mushrooms outside of a therapeutic environment, you may be charged with hefty fines and forced to serve a prison sentence that can last 4-7 years.
That being said, Mexico is home to a large number of psilocybin retreat places that are legitimately in operation. They are able to legally operate because of the provisions mentioned in Article 195 bis of the Federal Penal, which states that consuming psilocybin mushrooms for spiritual purposes is not punishable by law. A growing number of psilocybin retreat centers are emerging in Mexico in response to the rising mental health challenges that our world is facing.
Mexico Senator, Alejandra Lagunes, has made it clear that she plans to legalize magic mushrooms in coming years and “pull Mexico into the psychedelic renaissance.”
Is LSD Legal in Mexico?
LSD is illegal in Mexico, but authorities will not prosecute you if they find less than .015 mg on you.
.015 mg of LSD is considered to be a low dose and will only produce mild psychedelic effects. If authorities find more than .015 mg of LSD on you, like psilocybin, you are likely to face hefty fines and 4-7 years in prison.
Is Ketamine Legal in Mexico?
Similar to the U.S, ketamine is exclusively legal for medicinal purposes in Mexico.
Ketamine is typically administered to patients by licensed medical professionals and administered in clinical settings.
Although Ketamine is medicalized, possession of the substance without a prescription from a medical professional will result in punishments similar to those if caught with larger doses of psilocybin or LSD.
Is DMT Legal in Mexico?
DMT (traditional) is illegal in Mexico, but 5-MeO-DMT (the venom of the Bufo Alvarius toad), other known as ”Toad Medicine”, when used for traditional spiritual practices or ceremonies, is considered legal.
5-MeO-DMT is considered to be sacred medicine for indigenous communities in Mexico and has been used by them for centuries.
Like psilocybin, LSD and unprescribed Ketamine, possession of DMT may result in hefty fines and 4-7 years in prison.
Is Ibogaine Legal in Mexico?
Ibogaine is considered unregulated in Mexico and is therefore is a popular location for treatment centers.
Legalization vs. Decriminalization
In a psychedelic legalization setting, one can see a government regulatory system where individuals can legally purchase, consume, and sell certain psychedelics. Though the specifics can vary greatly, the basic concept it that a resident of a legal age has the ability to walk into a store, buy a psychedelic substance, such as psilocybin mushrooms, bring them home, and legally consume them.
Included is a regulatory system whereby producers and sellers of these substances follow rules set by the government to ensure quality control and potency. For instance, psilocybin growers would likely need a license from the government, would function under certain standards and allow government regulators to conduct inspections. The end product would be sold in stores or dispensaries that would likewise have to follow certain regulations, such as ensuring customers are of legal age and perhaps a maximum amount any one individual could purchase. Needless to say, throughout this entire process, actors in the growth, distribution and sale processes would be taxed like any other business.
Examples of legal frameworks
There are some examples of a legal framework for psychedelics that already exist. Netherlands has the most comprehensive legal psychedelics framework, where individuals can buy psilocybin truffles, Salvia divinorum and other naturally derived psychedelics in so-called “smart shops.” Strangely, little government regulation surrounds these smart shops. However, the stores themselves highly self-regulate to avoid a government crackdown.
Under decriminalization, there are typically no criminal punishments for consuming a psychedelic substance, or a least penalties are significantly reduced. However, the sale remains an illegal activity. Under some forms of decriminalization, an individual who's been stopped for using a banned substance may still receive a fine or even be mandated to rehab. This is the case for Vancouver where adults aged 18+ are no longer subject to an arrest or charges for having a personal amount of illicit drugs – such as heroin, fentanyl and morphine, crack and powder cocaine, meth, and MDMA (ecstasy). According to the BC government, this exception applies for amounts up to 2.5grams.
In essence, the point of decriminalization is to end arrests of psychedelic users, while still criminalizing and prosecuting those who sell and distribute the drugs.
Recently, Eureka became the sixth jurisdiction in California to decriminalize psychedelics, joining Oakland, Santa Cruz, Arcata, San Francisco, and Berkeley.
Psychedelics are still illegal in Mexico with a few exceptions — those exceptions being the medicalization of Ketamine and the use of Ibogaine, psilocybin, and 5-MeO-DMT in spiritual settings.
As Mexico continues to express their interest in legalizing magic mushrooms, this article could look very different in the future.