The Swiss federal court in Lausanne has ruled that hallucinogenic mushrooms are not drugs, despite their effects, but their trade remains prohibited under food safety laws.
In their decision, the judges wrote that so-called "magic" mushrooms could be eaten, just like any other mushroom. Because of this, the food safety laws are applied to their trade.
Unlike morels or truffles, these mushrooms can be harmful to the consumer's health, particularly to mental health. The court says consuming them can provoke psychiatric disorders.
According to federal law, it is prohibited to make, distribute, store or transport food that could threaten a person's health. Consumption, on the other hand, is not considered an issue.
Contravening the food safety law is not without risk. A person could not only be sentenced to pay a fine, but could also spend up to five years in jail if convicted.
The court rejected an appeal by a drug dealer sentenced to two and a half years in prison. The man from canton Aargau had sold marijuana and ecstasy as well as hallucinogenic mushrooms.
He had appealed a cantonal court decision that ruled the mushrooms were a type of food, and therefore subject to food safety laws.
swissinfo with agencies