Date: Thu, 18 Dec 1997 19:25:57 EST
From: Chris Jenks <>
To: Multiple recipients of list <>
Subject: Drug Law from TIHKAL

  Dear Everyone,

  Here is some background on the drug laws and how they formed (pp. 471-472

  Which brings us back to the mushrooms, and the topic of the law. In the
original writing of the Controlled Substances Act of 1970, our Federal drug
law, there are only four plants listed as being "Scheduled Drugs." In
Schedule I there was Marijuana (later defined as the plant Cannabis spp.)
and Peyote (later defined as the botanical Lophophora williamsii); in
Schedule II there was Opium poppy and poppy straw, and Coca leaves. It is
generally known that commercial opium comes from the plant Papaver
somniferum and that commercial coca comes from the plant Erythroxylum coca,
but I am not aware of either of these botanical binomials having been
explicitly named in the statutes. A couple of quickies were slipped in, not
completely properly, in the giving of the binomial of Tabernanthe iboga as
a synonym for ibogaine, and the giving of the binomial of Catha edulis as a
synonym for cathinone, both Schedule I drugs. So there are definitely four,
and maybe six, plants that can be considered scheduled drugs.
  But nowhere in the legal archives of current drug statutes can you find
mention of Genera such as Psilocybe, Stropharia, Paneolus or Inocybe. Nor
of the dozens and dozens of species that stem from them. So, you would
logically conclude that these magic mushroom are not illegal? Well, yes and
  No, in the letter-of-the-law sense that they are not explicitly named as
illegal entities. But yes, in the de facto exercise of the law. With the
inescapable fact that both psilocin and psilocybin are named as Schedule I
drugs, and the acknowledgment that there are some mushrooms that might
contain these drugs, then these botanical entities become legal
complications. Might the dried fruiting bodies be seen as packaging
strategy for the sale and delivery of a Schedule I drug? Might the growing
of them be seen as a production strategy for the manufacture of a Schedule
I drug? Of course it might be, as the law has stated that the manufacture
and sale of Schedule I drugs is a Federal felony. "Your Honor. I gathered
these things out there in the field for my dinner salad. I had no idea they
contained something illegal." A reasonable defense, and it may well work
today, along with the argument that opium poppy pods are buyable at the
Farmer's Market as floral decorations, and morning glory seeds can be
bought at the local nursery for next Spring's garden. Innocence may be a
virtue for a while, as it is not widely recognized that these decorative
poppies are in fact Schedule II opium capsules and those Ipomoea seeds in
fact contain ergine, a Schedule III depressant. But that is today. What
happens tomorrow?
  Today, to a large measure, the burden of proof still falls upon the
accuser, and that ephemeral and undocumented "presumption of innocence"
concept provides some measure of protection. They, the accusers, must prove
you are guilty. But, as the legal structure drifts from the criminal
statutes to the regulatory statutes, this protection is lost. You must
prove that you are innocent. The perfect example is the random urine test,
which demands, without any probable cause, that you prove that you do not
have drugs in you. There is no presumption of innocence. This has been the
sad state of our income tax laws for years, and now it is becoming a
reality in our drug laws. Prove to the court that you didn't know that
these mushrooms were psychoactive! Shades of the Inquisitions of a few
hundred years ago. Or the Salem travesties of more recent times. Prove to
us you are not a witch.