Last year, Japan moved to shut down once-legal mushroom dealers. As of June 2002, possession of psychoactive mushrooms in Japan can get a maximum seven year sentence, equivalent to that for heroin and cocaine.
The psychoactive drugs psilocybin and psilocin were banned in 1990, but not the mushrooms that naturally produce them. Many Japanese headshops had long been selling a variety of imported and locally grown psychoactive mushrooms for up to $23 US per gram.
Japanese officials told the media that at least 11 varieties of psychoactive mushrooms were being sold in Tokyo. Since they were classified as poisonous plants and not a drug, they were permitted for sale so long as they were not labeled as food. Under the new law, the mushrooms are classified as a drug in any form, and their cultivation, sale and use is prohibited.