No magic at city council for Vancouver mushroom dispensaries as retail framework rejected – BC

No magic at city council for Vancouver mushroom dispensaries as retail framework rejected - BC

Vancouver city council has shot down a proposal to craft a regulatory framework for retail stores selling magic mushrooms.

The rejection came a month after a hearing panel voted to reinstate the business licence of a retail store operated by drug activist Dana Larsen that sells magic mushrooms and other psychoactive entheogens in the city.

“While we acknowledge the importance of this national conversation, we firmly believe this needs to be discussed at the federal level as they are the regulating body on the issue,” Vancouver Mayor Ken Sim said in a media release.

Click to play video: 'Owner of raided Vancouver magic mushroom dispensaries speaks'

Owner of raided Vancouver magic mushroom dispensaries speaks

“Our focus remains on addressing the critical issues facing Vancouverites that are within our jurisdiction. This includes core services such as public safety, housing, roads and infrastructure.”

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The motion, proposed by Green Coun. Pete Fry, cited a proliferation of stores selling psilocybin “magic” mushrooms in recent years.

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While the mushrooms and other entheogens are listed as controlled substances in Canada, the motion argues the substances aren’t known to be addictive or cause overdoses. It also notes there have not been any prosecutions or convictions of retailers.

The proposal went on to argue that a regulated market of mushrooms could be viewed as an approach to harm reduction and a way to reduce opioid overdose deaths, and called on the city to look at it in the context of its medical marijuana licensing framework that predated cannabis legalization in Canada.

Click to play video: 'Exploring the medicinal magic of mushrooms'

Exploring the medicinal magic of mushrooms

If passed, it would have directed city staff to look into the legal context, including bylaws, licensing and zoning to regulate businesses selling substances including magic mushrooms, peyote, mescaline, ayahuasca and kratom.

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“Every single speaker today spoke in favour of the motion, but the ABC majority is not convinced,” Larsen wrote in a social media post.

“Looks like this motion won’t pass, but it’s good we’re having this conversation. Let’s make sure this is a civic election issue next year! Because shroom shops aren’t going away.”

Larsen went on to argue that the lack of a retail framework means the city will miss out on revenue from the dozens of existing shops, in a circumstance he described as a “free-for-all.”

In his media release, Sim cited a letter from Health Canada stating that illegal storefronts pose a risk to public health and safety, along with opposition from business groups.

It further pointed to insufficient clinical studies proving the substances as an effective form of harm reduction.

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