No fun-gi city: Vancouver’s magic mushroom dispensary motion shot down

A motion to regulate magic mushroom dispensaries in Vancouver has been shot down by city council.

Councillors voted against the proposal, with the motion being defeated 5-2. Three councillors and the mayor were absent for the vote.

The motion was brought forward by Green couns. Pete Fry and Adriane Carr. Under the proposal, magic mushroom dispensaries would have been given similar licences the city gave illicit cannabis shops back in 2015. Fry stressed this motion was not seeking to legalize magic mushrooms.

“I think this is an opportunity for us to create a regulatory framework, and really recognize that people are using drugs, and there are dispensaries that are providing safe options to people buying drug otherwise in back alleys or on the internet, or trying to forage mushrooms themselves and putting themselves at greater risk,” said Fry Wednesday.

There were 18 registered speakers in council Wednesday, all in support of the motion. However, some of the councillors suggested the matter is a federal one that wasn’t within their jurisdiction.

There are currently several unregulated stores already operating in Vancouver. Activist Dana Larsen previously told CityNews, after a decision by city council last month, his mushroom dispensary is the only one currently operating with a business licence.

That council decision in March was cited by some councillors in their opposition to Wednesday’s motion.

“Bottom line is this is a federal matter and it should be left at the federal level. Councillors, we even got a letter, we even drew the attention of Health Canada. A letter from Health Canada recently addressed to the city manager … reminded all of us regulated substances fall under the jurisdiction of the federal government. This has absolutely no business being considered by municipal government,” coun. Brian Montague. said.

“Again, I’m not here to debate the merits or the harms of a potential product. I’m here to say that this is not our lane, this is not our jurisdiction. We shouldn’t be touching this with a 10-foot pole. There are other matters that council and staff should be spending time on, pressing issues that actually fall under the city’s jurisdiction. I’ll be voting in opposition.

Psilocybin, the active psychedelic compound found in magic mushrooms, is a kind of entheogen that would have been regulated under the Greens’ plan. As stated in the councillors’ motion, the goal of the proposal was to regulate a safe supply of mushrooms and entheogens as a form of harm reduction.

The motion also stated entheogenic substances are “generally considered safer than opioids since psychedelics are not known to cause physical dependencies or risk of overdose.”

Currently, the production, sale, and possession of magic mushrooms are illegal in Canada. The federal government says while there is “increasing interest in the potential therapeutic uses of” these drugs, as well as clinical trials with “promising results,” “there are no approved therapeutic products containing psilocybin in Canada or elsewhere.”