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Mescaline-containing Cacti
Legal Status
by Erowid
Caution :   All legal information should be verified through other sources. [see below]
Mescaline-containing Cacti
Schedule I Chemical
San Pedro and the other columnar mescaline-containing cacti are not specifically scheduled, but they contain the controlled substance mescaline. Mescaline is a Schedule I substance in the U.S. Because of their ubiquitous availability through nurseries and major plant vendors across the country, as well as in arboretums and on government property, simple possession of columnar mescaline-containing cacti with no intent to ingest is de facto legal.

Sellers (or anyone) who represent the cactus as a source of mescaline or sell them for their psychoactive properties (for "getting high") are at far higher risk of prosecution. Any preparation of the cactus for ingestion would likely turn the plant into a clearly scheduled (illegal) material. We are not aware of any convictions for the possession or sale of non-peyote mescaline-containing cacti such as San Pedro, but this does not mean that the cacti are "legal", it just means that the cactus has not been considered a problem and is currently not treated as a controlled plant by the police. We have been told of one prosecution (and subsequent guilty plea) for sale of powdered mescaline-containing cactus material.

For more information, see Discussion of the US Legal Status of Non-Peyote Mescaline-Containing Cacti.

California: (Oakland) #
The SF-bay area city of Oakland de-prioritized / decriminalized the possession of "entheogenic plants" including psilocybin mushrooms, mescaline-containing cacti, iboga, and DMT-containing plants such as those used in ayahuasca on June 4 2019 at 23:12 (11:12pm) on a "unanimous vote" (although it appeared at least one councilperson abstained. This effort was lead by Decriminalize Nature Oakland. The Oakland resolution did not decriminalize opiate-containing plants. Congratulations to those who worked this successful campaign! The text of the resolution included: "RESOLVED, That the Mayor and City Council hereby declare that it shall be the policy of the City of Oakland that no department, agency, board, commission, officer or employee of the city, including without limitation, Oakland Police Department personnel, shall use any city funds or resources to assist in the enforcement of laws imposing criminal penalties for the use and possession of Entheogenic Plants by adults; [... and ...] RESOLVED That the Mayor and City Council hereby declare that it shall be the policy of the City of Oakland that the investigation and arrest of adult persons for planting, cultivating, purchasing, transporting, distributing, engaging in practices with, and/or possessing Entheogenic Plants or plant compounds on the Federal Schedule 1 list shall be amongst the lowest law enforcement priority for the City of Oakland; [...]" (last updated June 4 2019)
Illinois #
One man who sold powdered columnar cacti in Illinois was prosecuted after police found multiple kilograms of dried and powdered mescaline-containing cactus. The police went to his home after a noise complaint for a neighbor. He eventually plead guilty to felony possession of a controlled substance and was sentenced to 2.5 years, despite dried cactus being sold on ebay and other sites at the time. (thanks m) (last updated Oct 16, 2013)
South Dakota #
One visitor commented:
"I have a friend who had his residence searched; the police siezed around 30g of dried Peruvian Torch cactus flesh, 4oz of dried Amanita muscaria mushrooms, and a very small amount of cannabis seeds and stems. He was charged with possession of a controlled substance (a class 4 felony in South Dakota) because the cacti contained a scheduled substance (mescaline). He gave no information to the police with regard to ingesting the cacti or mushrooms. [...] Apparently, the prosecutors and the judge found that posession of dried cacti flesh (in combination with posession of other "drugs") is a viable means of prosecuting somebody for posession of a controlled substance." (unconfirmed) (thanks K)

If you have information about the legal status of this substance in any other U.S. state, please let us know.
Brazil #
We are told that although mescaline and peyote are illegal in Brazil, Peruvian Torch and San Pedro are not. (unconfirmed) (thanks JAB)
Canada #
It appears that possession and sales of San Pedro and related cacti are not prosecuted in Canada. If they are dried or otherwise prepared for use, they would likely be considered mescaline-containers and would be prosecuted under the 2001 Controlled Drugs and Substances Act (which replaced the older Narcotics Control Act) in which mescaline is listed as a schedule III drug. Please see Peyote Law, Canada for more information. (thanks DSK)
Germany #
We are told it is legal to possess a living mescaline-containing cacti, but that intent to process into a psychoactive preparation is illegal. (unconfirmed) (thanks BT)
Ireland #
While mescaline is scheduled in Ireland (see Mescaline Law Vault), we are told that fresh and dried mescaline-containing cacti are sold openly and that dried San Pedro is sold in headshops. There have reportedly been raids but no successful prosecutions, just confiscation. (Nov 2007) (unconfirmed) (thanks S, A)
Switzerland #
San Pedro and Peruvian Torch cacti are listed as prohibited substances in Switzerland. (see Liste des stupéfiants prohibés, thanks V)
United Kingdom #
A 2007 court case in the U.K. resulted in a decision that left dried mescaline-containing cacti legal to sell and possess. The case (see Regina v. Saul Sette) was thrown out by the judge on the grounds that the law did not clearly make dried chips or powder illegal. This certainly indicates that fresh growing cacti are also not controlled at this time. Note that peyote is also not controlled in the United Kingdom. (last updated Jun 2007)
If you have information about the legal status of this substance in any other country, please let us know.

Erowid legal information is a summary of data gathered from site visitors, government documents, websites, and other resources. We are not lawyers and can not guarantee the accuracy of the information provided here. We do our best to keep this information correct and up-to-date, but laws are complex and constantly changing. Laws may also vary from one jurisdiction to another (county, state, country, etc)...this list is not comprehensive.