Laws concerning low-level drugs have been changing around our country over the past few years. Some drug laws are in a state of flux in some areas of the country with several states reconsidering outdated drug classifications. Much of this is in response to how ineffective these drug usage and drug trafficking laws have been and how these drug offense charges have the ability to seriously upend an offenders life. While hallucinogenic mushrooms are still considered Schedule 1 drugs in New Jersey possession of small amounts has been reclassified. Now instead of being charged with possession of a controlled substance if you have been found with one ounce or less of these mushrooms the most stringent penalty will be six months in jail and a maximum fine of $1000 under the new classification. Before you make any decisions it is important to speak with a New Jersey drug crimes lawyer. The Psychoactive Nature of Hallucinogenic Mushrooms The federal government first banned psychedelic mushrooms back in 1970 as part of the nations efforts to stop recreational drug use. But since the Nixon-era war on drugs much of the nations response has been ineffective and expensive often targeting the lowest-level offenders. Hallucinogenic mushrooms contain a compound called psilocybin. This compound has psychoactive effects and has been considered a Schedule I drug under the Controlled Substances Act. But like other cases of low-level psychoactive substances New Jersey still groups them with other more harmful drugs such as heroin methamphetamine and cocaine which carry a much higher risk for abuse. NJ Mushroom Decriminalization New Jersey has joined the movement of US states decriminalizing mushrooms which contain the psychedelic compound psilocybin. New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy has approved a bill that reduces the penalty for possessing up to one ounce of the mushrooms with a maximum $1000 fine or six-month jail sentence. Psilocybin was previously listed with drugs such as heroin cocaine and methamphetamine resulting in penalties of up to five years in prison and a $25000 fine. Possession of psilocybin is now recategorized from a third-degree offense to a disorderly persons offense. New Jersey drug crimes attorney This decision follows Oregons choice to become the first US state to decriminalize psilocybin mushrooms in November 2020 with the drug now completely legalized for medicinal use. Although psilocybin has been demonstrated to be effective in treating various mental health conditions such as anxiety depression and addiction it remains illegal under federal law in the US. Decriminalizing psilocybin is part of the wider movement to reform drug laws in the US. Several states have already legalized marijuana for both medical and recreational use and others are expected to follow. Studies into the therapeutic potential of psychedelics including psilocybin and LSD are also ongoing with a focus on treating mental health conditions. If it Has Been Reclassified Is Possession of Mushrooms Still a Criminal Offense? In recent years some states and cities around the country have decriminalized these mushrooms making them a low priority for law enforcement. In New Jersey although possessing and selling hallucinogenic mushrooms is still a criminal offense as of February 2021 possession of less than an ounce of these mushrooms has been reclassified as a disorderly persons offense. Now someone caught with less than one ounce of these mushrooms will face up to six months in jail and/or a fine of up to $1000 compared to previous much more serious penalties. Possession of over an ounce of these mushrooms is still considered a serious drug offense. Possession of a Schedule I controlled dangerous substance of which mushrooms are still considered can be charged and prosecuted as a third-degree offense. If you are found with over an ounce of these mushrooms you can still face up to 5 years in prison and fines of up to $35000. Furthermore you will have a criminal record that may follow you for the rest of your life. What is Considered Hallucinogenic Mushroom Possession? Simple possession in New Jersey under N.J.S.A. 2C:35-10 is simply having the mushrooms on you. Under possession laws it is unlawful to Obtain or possess them To use or be under the influence of them Fail to turn those in your possession over to a law enforcement officer. If you were in possession of these mushrooms with the intent to sell them to someone else or even just share them you may face higher penalties for distribution. There are two ways to prove the possession element. One is by proving actual or constructive possession. It is easy to prove actual possession if drugs are found on your body in your pockets or in your mouth. This type of charge can be very difficult to overcome since the case is so biased against you. However in cases of constructive possession the possession element could be challenged. Constructive possession is when you claim to have something but the item is not in your possession at the time of the arrest. To prove you were in constructive possession of a drug the police must show that you knew that it existed and were able to control it. If drugs were found in shared areas were hidden or locked away the law enforcement people may be unable to prove that you had the drugs in your possession at all. Due to the way that the statute was written police can always prove possession if they show evidence of drug use. Drug use is also a violation of N.J.S.A. 2C:35-10. You must be physically present to possess drugs. Will the Amount of Mushrooms in Possession Matter? There are no steps-up provisions for heroin possession but a judge will likely impose more severe sanctions if the drug is heavier than the minimum. If the amount of mushrooms possessed is sufficient the police may also charge the defendant with Possession with Intent To Distribute. This has more severe consequences. How will My NJ Mushroom Possession Conviction Affect my Immigration Status? This is not an easy question. There are many consequences depending on your status and the charges you face. A conviction under N.J.S.A. is generally deportation. 2C:35-5 is extremely dangerous for your immigration status and could result in deportation or ineligibility to citizenship. Please click here for more information about the immigration implications of an NJ magic mushrooms possession charge. If you have been arrested and charged with possession of hallucinogenic mushrooms in New Jersey you should get legal representation as soon as possible. At Lustberg Law Offices our experienced New Jersey criminal defense lawyers understand the new classification and how it can make a big difference in how you are charged prosecuted and penalized. Call us at (201) 880-5311 or contact us online to schedule a no-cost consultation. via Lustberg Law