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Psilocybin mushrooms, known as “magic mushrooms." Photo: James Hilder.

Murphy signs bill downgrading magic mushroom penalties

By Nikita Biryukov, February 04 2021 4:29 pm

Gov. Phil Murphy signed into law reducing criminal penalties for possession of hallucinogenic mushrooms Thursday.

The bill would make possession of one ounce or less of psilocybin, the psychoactive found in more than 200 types of mushrooms, a disorderly persons offense carrying maximum penalties of up to six months imprisonment and fines of not more than $1,000.

Under existing law, it was a third-degree crime that could earn offenders between three and five years in prison and fines of up to $15,000.

The reclassification for mushrooms was part of a deal reached on Marijuana legalization in early December, but it was split off into a separate bill, sponsored by Assemblyman James Kennedy (D-Rahway), after objections from lawmakers in the lower chamber.

It passed both houses of the legislature in party-line votes.

Negotiations on marijuana legalization continue amid a standoff between members of the administration and members of the Legislative Black Caucus that continues in the face of a procedural deadline that could see legalization and decriminalization bills on Murphy’s desk made law without his signature.

Some lawmakers, including State Sen. Nicholas Scutari (D-Linden), want the Assembly to push its Feb. 8 quorum to give negotiations more time, though it’s not clear if Assembly Speaker Craig Coughlin is willing to delay the deadline.

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