Results of reader challenge

So it was an eye-opening experience to toss a challenge to readers Friday:

Can you find a law about mushrooms somewhere in the United States?1

more mushrooms

Boy, could you ever:

• Readers found the law on the books now in Maine “to ensure that properly trained persons harvest, broker and sell wild mushrooms in order to protect public health and the safety of the food supply.”2 Reader Cathy Moison was the first up with that one,3 to be joined later by readers Ruy Cardoso4 and Don Taylor.5

• Ruy Cardoso also found that Massachusetts is contemplating adopting an official state mushroom, and gets extra points for noting that Minnesota has already adopted the morel mushroom as its official mushroom.6 And reader Coleen Barger gets the same extra points for finding out that the morel is the state mushroom of Minnesota.7 After all, it was the more-morel typo that triggered this whole thing… Coleen also found laws in Virginia, Maine, Washington and California.8

• Reader Ralph Willing located four references to mushrooms in Connecticut statutes9 through a search of the Connecticut General Assembly’s statute search feature. They include laws about farmers’ markets and about taking mushrooms in state parks and forests.10

• Readers Sara Brower and Carl Reisinger came up with a web page citing to both Pennsylvania and federal laws and regulations on picking mushrooms in state and federal parks and game lands.11 Mushrooming in federal parks was also the focus of an article found by reader Albert Gidari.12

• Virginia’s statute on produce safety mentions mushrooms,13 as found by reader marytinvb.14

• Reader Kim Simpson found a Michigan law that references wild mushrooms.15

• Reader Stuart Haley found a court case where the readers of a guide to mushrooms sued because they “became severely ill from picking and eating mushrooms after relying on information” in the guide.16

• Reader Sandra Johnson “put in Mushrooms in the digital Washington State Records and came up with a long list to slog through. Picked one in Walla Walla and there was an unofficial ordinance about marijuana which included agricultural uses of land including for mushrooms.”17 She was joined by reader Carol J, who looked at the specific Washington State law on wild mushrooms.18

• Reader Lisa Baker was the first to note that psilocybin mushrooms are generally banned in the United States and around the world.19 a link also sent by reader Pirate Jenny.20 Reader Linda Hope joined in with a New Mexico court opinion involving a prosecution for “trafficking psilocybin mushrooms by manufacture contrary to NMSA 1978, § 30-31-20(A)(1) (1990) of the Controlled Substances Act (CSA)” where the court saying growing them wasn’t the same thing as manufacturing.21 Reader Kay Cahill chimed in with a Florida case that says you have to know a mushroom contains psilocybin to be guilty of a crime there.22 Reader Kathy Rowley also focused on laws about psilocybin mushrooms, and reader Richard Belz chimed in with three court cases,23

• Reader Dick Kahane chimed in with the Theft Act 1968 for England and Wales that says it’s not theft to pick wild mushrooms as long as you don’t do it “for reward or for sale or other commercial purpose.”24

Now… you notice something about all of these?

They’re all current laws or court cases.

Hey, people, really. We’re genealogists. Family historians even. I even made the rules so you’d get extra brownie points for finding the oldest law on the books that mentions mushrooms of any kind.25

And the closest anybody came was Katherine R. Willson, who knew about a “1620 Holy Office of the Inquisition in Mexico City formally decreeing that ingestion of inebriating plants was heresy (Archivo General de Nación (Mexico) Inquisición Tomo 289, Exp 2)” — but disqualified herself when she realized that it referenced peyote which is actually a cactus, not a mushroom.26 Jonathan Webb Deiss said he’d found “a report of an army officer eating a psychedelic mushroom in 1904” — but he didn’t cite his source.27

Seriously?

Nobody even looked at the Tariff Act of 1897, imposing a tax on imported “beans, pease and mushrooms”?28 Comes up on the first page of Google Books in a West book on judicial and statutory definitions if you search “statutes laws acts mushroom” …

Tsk tsk…

We have to do better next time…


Cite/link to this post: Judy G. Russell, “Mushrooming laws,” The Legal Genealogist (https://www.legalgenealogist.com/blog : posted 18 Feb 2019).

SOURCES

  1. Judy G. Russell, “Mushrooms in law books,” The Legal Genealogist, posted 15 Feb 2019 (https://www.legalgenealogist.com/blog : accessed 18 Feb 2019).
  2. Title 22, Maine Revised Statutes, §2175; Office of the Revisor of Statutes, Maine Legislature (http://legislature.maine.gov/ : accessed 15 Feb 2019).
  3. Cathy Moison to Judy G. Russell, email, 15 Feb 2019.
  4. Comment, Ruy Cardoso to Judy G. Russell Facebook status, 15 Feb 2019.
  5. Don Taylor to Judy G. Russell, email, 15 Feb 2019.
  6. Comment, Ruy Cardoso to Judy G. Russell Facebook status, 15 Feb 2019.
  7. Minn. Stat. Ann. § 1.149, Office of the Revisor of Statutes, Minnesota Legislature (https://www.revisor.mn.gov/statutes/ : accessed 18 Feb 2019).
  8. Comment, Coleen Barger, to “Mushrooms in law books,” posted 15 Feb 2019.
  9. Ibid., comment, Ralph Willing, posted 15 Feb 2019.
  10. CGA Search Results: Mushroom, Connecticut General Assembly (https://search.cga.state.ct.us/r/statute/ : accessed 18 Feb 2019).
  11. See “Mushroom Picking Rules & Regulations in PA,” Western Pennsylvania Mushroom Club (https://wpamushroomclub.org/ : accessed 18 Feb 2019), referenced in Comment, Sara Brower, to “Mushrooms in law books,” posted 15 Feb 2019, and in Don Taylor to Judy G. Russell, email, 16 Feb 2019.
  12. Albert Gidari to Judy G. Russell, email, 15 Feb 2019.
  13. § 3.2-5146, Code of Virginia, Legislative Information System, Virginia General Assembly (https://law.lis.virginia.gov/ : accessed 18 Feb 2019).
  14. marytinvb to Judy G. Russell, email, 15 Feb 2019.
  15. §3-201.16, Michigan Modified Food Code, 2012, PDF at 50; Michigan.gov (https://www.michigan.gov/ : accessed 18 Feb 2019), referenced in Comment, Kim Simpson, to “Mushrooms in law books,” posted 15 Feb 2019.
  16. Winter v. G.P. Putnam’s Sons, 938 F.2d 1033 (9th Cir. 1991), mentioned in Comment, Stuart Haley to Judy G. Russell Facebook status, 15 Feb 2019.
  17. Comment, Sandra Johnson, to “Mushrooms in law books,” posted 15 Feb 2019.
  18. Chapter 230, 1987 Session Laws of the State of Washington, PDF at 1055 (Olympia: Statute Law Committee, 1987); Office of the Code Reviser, Washington State Legislature (http://leg.wa.gov/CodeReviser/ : accessed 18 Feb 2019), referenced in Comment, Carol J, to “Mushrooms in law books,” posted 15 Feb 2019.
  19. See Wikipedia (https://www.wikipedia.com), “Legal status of psilocybin mushrooms,” rev. 26 Jan 2019, mentioned in Comment, Carol J, to “Mushrooms in law books,” posted 15 Feb 2019.
  20. Pirate Jenny to Judy G. Russell, email, 15 Feb 2019).
  21. Linda Hope to Judy G. Russell, email, 15 Feb 2019, mentioning State v. Pratt, 138 N.M. 161 (2005).
  22. Fiske v. State, 366 So.2d 423 (1978), in Kay Cahill to Judy G. Russell, email, 15 Feb 2019.
  23. Richard Belz to Judy G. Russell, email, 15 Feb 2019.) all focusing on psychedelic mushrooms.[24. Okay people… what’s with this? Is there something I’m missing out on???
  24. Comment, Dick Kahane, to “Mushrooms in law books,” posted 15 Feb 2019.
  25. See Judy G. Russell, “Mushrooms in law books,” posted 15 Feb 2019 (“in case of multiple answers, the earliest-adopted law wins”).
  26. Comments by Katherine R. Willson to Judy G. Russell Facebook status, posted 15 Feb 2019. She still gets major league points for looking back in time.
  27. Ibid., comment by Jonathan Webb Deiss.
  28. §241, “An Act To provide revenue for the Government and to encourage the industries of the United States,” 24 July 1897, 30 Stat. 151, 170 (24 July 1897).
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