Police raided three magic mushroom dispensaries in Vancouver on Wednesday.
In a media release, Vancouver police alleged the stores were buying controlled substances and selling them in bulk quantities to walk-in customers.
Psilocybin, the active ingredient in psychedelic mushrooms, is listed as a controlled substance in Canada.
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“We have been clear that anyone who breaks the law by illegally trafficking controlled drugs and substances could be arrested and charged with a criminal offence,” Vancouver police Sgt. Steve Addison said.
“This includes people who traffic drugs for profit from unlicensed and illegal retail businesses.”
Police said the storefronts were on Broadway, East Hastings Street and Granville Street.
In a social media post, Vancouver drug activist Dana Larsen said the dispensaries were his, and located at 651 East Hastings, 651 West Broadway and 8480 Granville.
“This is pretty surprising and if you believe in progressive drug policy this is a real setback for the city of Vancouver,” Larsen said.
“We actually do have business licences and I’ve got court dates coming up to determine those business licences — the city are trying to take them away, so I thought that the city would let the bureaucracy deal with us like they have with cannabis dispensaries in the past.”
Larsen’s website describes the shops as “medicinal mushroom dispensaries.” The website further states that Larsen, who was an active campaigner in efforts to have cannabis legalized, is pursuing a similar strategy regarding psychedelic drugs.
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“Following our victory in ending cannabis prohibition in Canada, I am now using the same tactics with the Medicinal Mushroom Dispensary – working to directly challenge the law by bringing the healing power of psilocybin and other psychedelics to all Canadians who need them,” the site states.
In its media release, the Vancouver Police Department acknowledges that there are exemptions in B.C. to the possession of some illicit drugs, but says those exemptions don’t cover the sale of psilocybin and other psychedelic drugs unless the organization has an exemption from Health Canada.
It said police will consider whether to recommend charges to Crown prosecutors once it wraps its investigation.
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