Canada’s Magic Mushroom Dispensary

The gray exterior of Dana Larsen’s dispensary in downtown Vancouver belies the mosaic of magic mushroom dispensary inside. A rainbow shiitake hangs in front of the door, and posters proclaim “Sky High” and “Enter A New Reality.” Inside, a smoky, cramped space is stocked with fudge bars, hemp lip balm and stoner-centric comic books.

Larsen is one of the few Canadians who sells magic mushrooms. The government has relaxed possession penalties for cannabis and other drugs, but not psilocybin, which is still illegal. The move has created an opportunity for storefronts like his, known in Canada as a “shroomy,” to flourish, though many of them are operating in a legal grey area.

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At the Toronto mushroom shop Shroomyz, a mural of mushrooms adorns the building. A sign at the entrance invites customers to “walk into a new reality.” Employees distribute discount fliers around town. A 2022 policy shift allowed Canada to relax drug possession laws for marijuana and MDMA, but not psilocybin. That prompted a wave of psychedelic dispensaries with names like Fun Guyz and Shroom City to open in Canada’s biggest cities.

In Oregon, Darren Lyman’s co-op charges $30 for a session that includes talking about the effects of psilocybin and a guided trip in a private room at his small studio. He advertises in Westword, and he says his business has been growing steadily since opening last year.

His company, Third Wave, also sells a line of dried mushrooms, gummies and capsules. It hasn’t seen a huge bump in traffic, but Hermida is hopeful because the market for mushrooms is growing. He’s found something of a loophole in selling Amanita muscaria, which is federally legal because it doesn’t contain psilocybin and can’t induce hallucinations, according to the online resource Chillum.

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