Mushroom, illicit drug dispensary owner released after Vancouver police raids
Posted November 1, 2023 11:28 pm.
Seven hours after the Vancouver Police Department (VPD) executed search warrants and raided his mushroom dispensaries on Wednesday, Get Your Drugs Tested Director and Co-founder Dana Larsen tells CityNews he was released from jail without charges.
Police executed search warrants across the city on Wednesday, raiding storefronts the VPD says sell illegal psychedelic drugs.
“I’m very disappointed in the Vancouver police having taken this step. I hope the people of Vancouver let our politicians and police know – we do not support these kinds of raids now or in the future,” said Larsen.
“I thought we had a good relationship with the Vancouver police. They come in fairly often, asking us for footage from our cameras about things that may happen on the street, we always cooperate. So I’m quite surprised they chose to do this.”
On Wednesday afternoon, Sgt. Steve Addison maintained that the raids shouldn’t come as a surprise and said people found breaking the law could face charges.
“Once we have reviewed all of the evidence, including all of the evidence seized today during these search warrants, that we could recommend to crown counsel that criminal charges be laid under the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act,” he said.
Larsen says selling illicit psychedelics now is the same civil disobedience that led to cannabis being legalized. He says some of his shelves that used to be filled with microdosing capsules and various medicinal products are now empty.
“They emptied the till, took all the money out of the till, everything’s gone … what they’ve left us is Lotus and Kratom and a few things like that, but everything else is taken,” he said.
This raid comes after the VPD took action against the Drug User Liberation Front (DULF) earlier in October.
DULF bought cocaine, heroin, and meth off the dark web and then tested them for purity before handing them out to a select group in order to prove it could reduce overdoses and deaths.
Addison says Wednesday’s search warrants had nothing to do with the VPD’s investigation into DULF. He says it even predated the investigation associated with Wednesday’s operation.
“Aside from both being illegal enterprises that were trafficking controlled substances outside of the law, there’s no connection between these two investigations.”
Regardless, Larsen says he thinks the situation was tied to what happened with the Drug User Liberation Front.
“I think there is political pressure from the BC NDP who are coming under attack from the United party about being too lenient on drug stuff, and so they’re embarrassed and they’re cracking down,” he said.
“The reality is, there’s over a dozen other mushroom shops selling a lot of the same products we sell … ultimately this is a big waste of time, money, and effort on the part of the Vancouver police.”
Larsen says he plans on reopening his stores as soon as he can.