Another location of a psilocybin mushroom dispensary chain in Canada was raided by police, about a month after its earlier location was raided. Psilocybin advocates in Canada remain undeterred however, with no plans to back down.
CTV News in London reports that on Aug. 17, St. Thomas Police Service (STPS) officers in Ontario in Canada executed a warrant on the FunGuyz (pronounced fungi’s) magic mushroom shop. It was not their first rodeo with law enforcement raids.
STPS released a press release on Aug. 18. “A 39-year-old London resident has been arrested after a swift response from the St. Thomas Police Service (STPS) regarding community concerns about the open sale of psilocybin, commonly known as magic mushrooms, at a newly opened business in the city.”
The store sold products like psilocybin-infused edibles and microdoses of mushrooms. At other FunGuyz locations, for instance, shrooms were sold in 7-, 14-, or 28-gram bags of dried mushrooms labeled by the strains Golden Teachers, Blue Meanies, African Pyramid, Amazonian, Penis Envy, and so on. Microdose psilocybin options for most of the strains of shrooms are available as well in 50, 100, or 200 micrograms. They also sell psilocybin-infused gummies, chocolate, tea, and other products.
“Our street crimes unit did arrest a 39-year-old London resident with possession of a controlled substance for trafficking purposes,” said STPS Corporate Communications Director Samantha Wakefield. “The individual was an employee of the establishment here.”
STPS officers said neighborhood community members raised concerns, however the police were already aware of the operation.
Local reports indicate that FunGuyz locations have played cat and mouse with law enforcement, frequently reopening for business. It’s the second location in two months to be targeted. Police at the St. Thomas raid identified various strains of mushrooms inside the store and seized 7,150 grams of psilocybin with an estimated street value of $71,504.
The owner, who wished to remain anonymous, told CTV News, “We like charges because we’re just going to do a constitutional challenge with everyone that gets charged.”
FunGuyz vs. Canadian Police
Locations in other provinces also face closure thanks to ongoing law enforcement actions. A FunGuyz location in Montreal, Quebec was raided by police last July.
CTV News reported that several police officers descended on the FunGuyz shop hours after the company opened their first location in the province of Quebec in Montreal’s Sainte-Marie district. The shop was raided during its opening day, so day one of sales was likely not a secret. Four people were arrested, police say, and their investigation into the shroom dispensary is ongoing.
“We’re just getting started and we hope that the word gets out,” Edgar Gorbans told CTV News Windsor. As of July, FunGuyz runs 11 other stores in Ontario, plans to open more in Quebec, and has locations close to Detroit, Michigan.
“We’re dealing with people in active addiction who have very little in the way of impulse control, have very little in their ability to say no,” said Director Don Trepanier. “When we have uncontrolled access to these substances, then it becomes a problem.”
The Transformation of Psilocybin in Canada
Psilocybin is prohibited in Canada under the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act (CDSA). The drug has been an illegal controlled substance since 1975. Despite the status of psilocybin, the government concedes that medical properties probably do exist.
Canada’s former health minister used her authority to grant a limited number of legal exemptions for psilocybin, but that was mainly only given to people with terminal illness and treatment-resistant depression.
“There is increasing interest in the potential therapeutic uses of magic mushrooms and of psilocybin, one of the active ingredients in magic mushrooms,” the Government of Canada states. “While clinical trials with psilocybin have shown promising results, at this time, there are no approved therapeutic products containing psilocybin in Canada or elsewhere. Clinical trials are the most appropriate and effective way to advance research with unapproved drugs such as psilocybin while protecting the health and safety of patients.”
The production, sale, and possession of psilocybin remains illegal in Canada. There are over 200 species of psilocybin mushrooms, and officials don’t want people taking the risk into their own hands, given that similar varieties are potentially poisonous.
Store operators, however, often don’t care and commonly open up shop in broad daylight anyways. Advocates in Canada have been pushing the envelope with psilocybin dispensaries operating in the gray area. Canadian advocate Dana Larsen, for instance, opened up an online psilocybin dispensary and storefront locations, four in Vancouver at one point.
Psilocybin mushrooms are being studied for the treatment of depression, obsessive-compulsive disorder, trauma, alcoholism, irritable bowel syndrome, and other medical conditions. There are efforts to decriminalize psilocybin and other psychedelics in Colorado, Washington, Massachusetts, and cities throughout California. Many people visit the dispensaries to get microdoses to treat various conditions.