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In downtown Ottawa, a storefront called The Golden Teacher has been openly selling mushrooms and other products like gummies and micro-dosing capsules since December 2021. It’s a small shop, but its presence is unmistakable. Owner Jordan Armstrong says he’s a “grey-area research facility” that sells the psychoactive drug psilocybin to learn how it affects people and help them navigate a difficult world. URL magicmushroomsdispensary.ca

Mushroom dispensaries have popped up across Canada in the past few years, taking advantage of legal loopholes that allow pot shops to operate while selling substances that are still illegal under federal law. The shops’ operators say they are helping consumers with mental health issues such as depression or post-traumatic stress disorder or people who want to experience spiritual growth or self-discovery.

Advocating for Change: The Push for Further Recognition and Legalization of Magic Mushroom Dispensaries in Canada”

But psilocybin is a Schedule Three controlled substance, meaning it’s illegal to produce, possess or traffic. And while cannabis is legal to grow, consume or sell in most provinces, the same can’t be said for magic mushrooms, which can only be purchased legally with a prescription from a doctor in very specific circumstances.

A panel of city councillors voted Tuesday to reissue the business licence for a mushroom dispensary in Vancouver, and its operator Dana Larsen says that sets a political precedent. She says she would welcome the opportunity to seek a similar license in Ottawa, and that adding mushrooms and psilocybin to the medicinal cannabis licensing framework adopted by city council in 2015 could be a simple solution.

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