An illegal dispensary selling psilocybin – commonly called magic mushrooms – in Bradford West Gwillimbury is pushing for the drug’s legalization just one day after a police raid.
A 37-year-old woman faces multiple charges after South Simcoe officers located the Holland Street store on Wednesday and carried out the bust, but that didn’t stop the owners from reopening the next day.
“It’s as much a protest as it is a business,” said Reggie Floyd, a spokesperson for Fun Guyz, the dispensary-based business that operates five locations within Ontario. “The demand is there; people enjoy mushrooms. We didn’t come to Bradford on a whim.”
Floyd said Fun Guyz intends to expand further throughout Ontario, with plans for adding up to 10 new stores in various cities.
“We stand behind psilocybin, and we stand behind the benefits of it,” added Floyd. “Mushrooms have existed for centuries; it’s natural.”
The push by the organization comes as lawmakers and advocates continue to meet in Ottawa this week to discuss legalization.
Spencer Hawkswell is the President and CEO of Therapsil, a non-profit that aims to legalize therapeutic psilocybin use.
Hawkswell’s group has garnered support from the federal Green and NDP parties, doctors and palliative care patients seeking treatment.
“I think of Janet Hughes, a palliative Canadian waiting over a year for access to medicine that has helped her,” Hawkswell said. “We must remove barriers for those seeking this treatment and for doctors who want to utilize this for patients.”
Hawkswell brought Hughes to Ottawa to speak before the media regarding her application to Health Canada for permission to use psilocybin in treatment.
Under Health Canada’s current guidelines, patients seeking psilocybin treatment can apply through the special access program, which allows for specific use under rare circumstances.
Hawkswell said Hughes had applied under the program twice but had been unable to find a doctor who administers psilocybin for therapy.
“She was told to apply again, and over a year later, she has yet to hear back from Health Canada,” Hawkswell added. “We want safe, medical access to psilocybin, and we want people to be able to legalize work with their doctors and therapists.”
Patients and doctors have also launched lawsuits against the federal government to begin enacting some legislative change.
Paul Lewin is a Cannabis and Psychedelics lawyer based out of Toronto.
Lewin said the fight for psilocybin legalization is just beginning but anticipates it to follow a similar path to legal cannabis.
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