Magic Mushrooms and Psychedelics Can Impair Immigration

I write to share here a blog post I authored for the American Immigration Lawyers Association concerning magic mushrooms, psychedelics and the adverse immigration consequences they can have for noncitizens.

I have noted a substantial increase in the legalization or decriminalization of magic mushrooms (aka psylocibin and psilocin). There is a growing school of thought, based on reputable studies, that these substances can have therapeutic value for dealing with anxiety, depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, end-of-life care and other health challenges. There are other psychedelics that are receiving similar attention, in some measure, including LSD, MDMA and ketamine.

Canada is said to be undergoing a “shroom boom,” and it is possible to purchase psilocybin in packages, over the counter, in some cities.

These substances continue to be listed on Schedule 1 of the Controlled Substances Act, and are therefore designated by the U.S. Government as having no medical value and substantial risk of abuse. The Immigration and Nationality Act is very unforgiving when it comes to controlled substance violations, and the immigration application processes specifically ask about controlled substance use. Use of these substances in the United States by a noncitizen will jeopardize legal status and have other longstanding immigration consequences. This is similar to the situation with legalized marijuana and its continued listing under Schedule 1.

The linked blog post includes a bit longer discussion. It was circulated to all members of the American Immigration Lawyers Association as a featured post in the organization’s daily email to members.