Councillor wants to halt plans for a magic mushroom dispensary in Vancouver

VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) — A Vancouver city councillor wants to put a stop to the sale of psilocybin mushrooms in Vancouver.

The motion, tabled by Melissa De Genova, appears to be spurred by an announcement on the website of The Medicinal Mushroom Dispensary that they plan to expand operations by opening a storefront in Vancouver.

De Genova wants the city to study the potential impacts on public health and safety of “businesses and or dispensaries participating in the unlawful sale and/or distribution of substances protected by the Controlled and Drug Substances Act.”

But Director of Vancouver Medicinal Mushroom Dispensary Dana Larsen says the motion is fundamentally frivolous.

“Vancouver city staff have more important things to be doing than worrying about my mail-order microdose mushroom dispensary,” he says. “I think most people in Vancouver would rather see the police and city hall focus on the real issues that are facing the people of our city.”

Larsen is undeterred by the motion and confident council will vote it down.

“I always knew a storefront would be a challenge,” he says. “But I do plan on opening a storefront some time in the next few months. We’ll just have to see how it goes when it comes to city hall.”

De Genova wants the Vancouver Police Department to participate in the study and the motion raises concerns that such dispensaries could be used to launder money or otherwise facilitate organized crime.

Larsen acknowledges that the mushrooms are illegal but says his supply comes from a single producer and has no links to gangs or other criminal activity.

“The idea that this is organized crime is really just paranoia and fear-mongering. There’s nothing like that involved in this enterprise at all,” he says.

Larsen says he only provides microdoses of mushrooms, meaning a quantity so small that it does not produce a psychoactive high. Larsen says microdosing can relieve anxiety and depression.

“The benefits of microdoses are well-established. The risks are virtually non-existent. It’s a beneficial, natural herb.”

De Genova points to Health Canada, which says the substances are being studied for their potential to treat a number of conditions but that “currently there are no approved therapeutic products containing psilocybin in Canada.”

The motion is on the agenda for the July 23 meeting.

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