Dispensaries selling illegal magic mushrooms in Vancouver could lead to the legalization of the substance, like they did with cannabis, shop keeper says

  • It’s not legal to sell psilocybin or “shrooms” in Canada, but one activist shop owner does anyway.
  • He’s trying to push Vancouver to manage or legalize it, as cannabis sellers did in 2015.
  • “If you’re like me, and you’re willing to take a risk and kind of push it forward, you find the resistance isn’t very strong,” he told Insider.

Psilocybin, also known as magic mushrooms or “shrooms,” is not allowed to be sold under Canadian federal law, but that hasn’t stopped some Vancouver store owners from selling it anyway.

“There’s not a strong resistance to people doing this kind of stuff. If you’re like me, and you’re willing to take a risk and kind of push it forward, you find the resistance isn’t very strong,” Dana Larsen, the owner of the Medicinal Mushroom Dispensary, told Insider.

Read more at Business Insider

How ‘magic mushrooms’ could follow in the footsteps of cannabis

What was something of a taboo issue half a decade ago is now the subject of bills from both Republicans and Democrats in more than a dozen states. They range from proposals to study the medical benefits of psychedelics to bills that would allow adults to consume such drugs under supervision.

“It’s gone viral and sparked an interest nationwide,” said Democratic Washington state Sen. Jesse Salomon, who is sponsoring a bill that would allow psilocybin use among adults over age 21 under supervision. “I just didn’t know there were so many like-minded people on this.”

Oregon led the nation when voters approved a ballot measure in 2020 to legalize and regulate psilocybin therapy, alongside another decriminalizing drug possession more broadly.

Read the full story at Politico

Making Mushrooms Legal

In November 2020, voters in Oregon passed a pair of historic drug policy ballot measures. The first was Measure 110, a proposal to decriminalize low-level drug possession, with 58 percent in favor; the second was Measure 109, a proposal to grant legal access to psilocybin (the psychoactive component in magic mushrooms) for mental health treatment, with 56 percent in favor. It was an unprecedented turn of events in drug policy. But as always in the United States, businessmen were waiting in the wings. 

Compass Pathways, a biotech firm backed by the right-wing Silicon Valley billionaire Peter Thiel, had been preparing for a “psychedelic revolution” and the subsequent investor windfall, accumulating patents here and abroad for its synthesized formulation of psilocybin and its use in therapy.

Keep reading at The Nation

California Activists Drop 2022 Psilocybin Legalization Ballot Initiative After Falling Short Of Signature Requirement

California activists on Wednesday announced that they have come up short on collecting enough signatures to qualify a measure to legalize psilocybin mushrooms for the state’s November ballot, though they aren’t giving up on a future election cycle bid.

Decriminalize California was first cleared by the state’s attorney general’s officeto begin signature gathering in September, giving them 180 days to collect 623,212 valid signatures from registered voters. On an all-volunteer basis, the group collected about 46 percent of those signatures, but that was pre-validation, meaning a significant portion would likely have been deemed invalid for one reason or another.

“We were doing great there collecting and then in mid-December just about everyone of our core volunteers got COVID and most of the events we were scheduled at either closed, postponed or had an extremely weak turnout,” campaign manager Ryan Munevar said in an e-mail blast to supporters.

Read the full story at Marijuana Movement

Oregon drafting rules for magic mushroom legalization

PORTLAND, Ore. — Oregon has released draft rules for the therapeutic use of psilocybin, commonly called magic mushrooms.

Voters approved Measure 109 in November of 2020, giving the state two years to set up the framework to regulate legal magic mushrooms in the state, The Oregonian/OregonLive reports.

Researchers believe psilocybin could help treat depression, PTSD and addiction, and Oregon’s system would allow for consumption of the substance in a therapeutic setting for anyone 21 years or older. No prescription or diagnosis would be required to take part in the program.

The rules released last week by the Oregon Health Authority are not complete and are not yet adopted, but they give a glimpse into what the program might look like.

The draft rules deal with how training programs for those administering psilocybin will be evaluated and credentialed, what the psilocybin itself will be and how that substance will be tested.

Read more at The Lewiston Tribune.

Maine could legalize ‘magic mushroom’ drug to treat depression

He’s been struggling with depression for nearly 20 years. Traditional antidepressants weren’t working.

Losing hope of being cured, he began researching alternative treatments. That’s when he read about psilocybin, the hallucinogenic drug found in “magic mushrooms,” and how it was emerging as a promising treatment for major depressive disorder.

In 2015, he took the leap. Because psilocybin is an illegal drug, he had to be discreet. He secured the psychedelic fungus from black market sources, then found people he trusted to stay with him and guide him through the experience. He lay down, put on a blindfold and headphones playing music, and embarked on an inward journey.

“There’s no words to explain it,” said the 43-year-old man, whose first name is Patrick. The newspaper agreed to not use his full name or identify him because the drug is illegal and he fears criminal enforcement.

Get the full story at pressherald.com

Global Coalition Launches Push To Reschedule Psilocybin Under International Rules

A new global coalition announced a new campaign on Tuesday to get psilocybin mushrooms internationally rescheduled.

As the psychedelics reform movement continues to expand domestically in the U.S., the International Therapeutic Psilocybin Rescheduling Initiative (ITPRI) is seeking a worldwide policy change in order to facilitate research into the therapeutic potential of the substance.

Partners of the coalition include the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS), Beckley Foundation, Mind Medicine Australia, Drug Science and Open Foundation.

The initiative focuses on international drug scheduling under the United Nations’s 1971 Convention on Psychotropic Substances, which currently places psilocybin in the most tightly restricted, Schedule I category, which is supposed to be reserved for drugs  that constitute “an especially serious risk” and have “limited” therapeutic uses.

Advocates say that psilocybin fits neither of those criteria.

Read the full story at Marijuana Moment.

New Bill Introduced In Washington State Would Legalize Psilocybin, Magic Mushrooms

The legislation echoes a program launched in 2020 by neighboring Oregon, where a ballot bill allowed for the creation of a state-licensed psilocybin therapy program which is now in the final stages of its two-year set-up period.

Adding to a wave of psychedelics legalization measures that are sweeping across the American Northwest, lawmakers in Washington State introduced a bill that would create a state-licensed program to provide medical treatment with psilocybin, the active compound in magic mushrooms.

The Psilocybin Wellness and Opportunity Act would legalize “supported psilocybin experiences” for adults 21 and older, who would be allowed to consume products containing psilocybin and psilocin, under the support of a trained and state-licensed service administrator, Marijuana Moment reported.

The Fresh Toast has the full story.

‘Magic mushroom’ drug psilocybin edges toward mainstream therapy

Tony Head was depressed and fearing death from stage 4 prostate cancer when, as part of a supervised scientific trial, he took a large dose of the psychedelic agent in “magic mushrooms,” psilocybin.

Head donned a mask and headphones to shut out the world around him, and had an experience that changed the course of his life.

“At some point in that time I felt like a higher power or something — I didn’t see anything, I didn’t see any type of image — I felt like something connected and touched me and as soon as it did, I just started crying,” Head, an award-nominated actor who lives in New York City, said in an interview with HealthDay Now.

He said the one-time therapy helped relieve much of the anxiety surrounding his prognosis.

Read more at upi.com

Is Denver’s Psilocybin Decriminalization Having an Impact?

In May 2019, by popular vote, Denver became the first US city to decriminalize psilocybin. A naturally occurring psychedelic found in certain mushrooms, psilocybin is currently a Schedule I narcotic under federal law.

Voters approved Initiative 301 (I-301), better-known as “Decriminalize Denver,” which stated that personal possession, use and cultivation of psilocybin (no specified amount) would be the “lowest law enforcement priority.” The sale and purchase of psilocybin is still illegal, but the bill prohibits police and prosecutors from using any public funding to prosecute those charges. The initiative took effect immediately.

It also required the city to create a psilocybin policy review board comprising local officials, law enforcement, scientific experts and advocates.

“In the past two years since this passed, the sky has not fallen,” Decriminalize Denver Campaign Director and psilocybin review board member Kevin Matthews told Filter.

Keep reading at Filter.

Digital Therapeutics And The Future Of Psychedelic Medicine

Digital health and therapeutics will play a crucial role in the future of medicine. Across medical and mental health industries, companies are realizing that the confluence of healthcare and digital platforms will be part of the future of medicine.

Digital therapeutics seem to be especially important in the burgeoning psychedelic medicine industry. The future of psychedelics will be more than simply taking FDA-approved medication, as such potent compounds call for a more holistic and experiential approach to therapy. Therefore digital platforms will likely play a key role in developing this fast-growing sector.

Here are some companies positioning themselves as digital leaders in the growing psychedelic medicine space.

Keep reading at Benzinga.

Proposed California Initiative Enters Circulation: Decriminalizes Psilocybin Mushrooms

SACRAMENTO, CA – Secretary of State Dr. Shirley N. Weber has announced that the proponent of a new initiative was cleared to begin collecting petition signatures on September 16, 2021.

The Attorney General prepares the legal title and summary that is required to appear on initiative petitions. When the official language is complete, the Attorney General forwards it to the proponent and to the Secretary of State, and the initiative may be circulated for signatures. The Secretary of State then provides calendar deadlines to the proponent and to county elections officials. The Attorney General’s official title and summary for the measure is as follows:

DECRIMINALIZES PSILOCYBIN MUSHROOMS. INITIATIVE STATUTE. For individuals 21 and over, decriminalizes under state law the cultivation, manufacture, processing, distribution, transportation, possession, storage, consumption, and retail sale of psilocybin mushrooms, the hallucinogenic chemical compounds contained in them, and edible products and extracts derived from psilocybin mushrooms.

Keep reading at Sierra Sun Times.

Bill aims to decriminalize magic mushrooms, mescaline

(The Center Square) – Two Democratic senators sponsored a bill aiming to decriminalize the possession of a range of psychedelics, including psilocybin and mescaline to better treat depression and other diseases.

Democratic Sens. Jeff Irwin of Ann Arbor and Adam Hollier of Detroit sponsored Senate Bill 631.

Irwin says the War on Drugs is the “granddaddy of all failed big government programs.” Like in 2018 when Michiganders legalized marijuana, he argues lumping psilocybin and other hallucinogenic drugs that aren’t prone to abuse next to addictive drugs like heroin and meth is a mistake.

“These are just not the type of drugs that suck people into that vortex of addiction that can sometimes be such a problem,” Irwin said in a phone interview with The Center Square.

Read the story at The Center Square.

Talking the Future of Magic Mushrooms and Their Therapeutic Uses

Marijuana was legalized in Canada just a few years back and we are certain there are not too many who are truly upset with this. Psilocybin, however, the chemical compound found in “magic mushrooms”, is still illegal. It has been since 1974. This needs to change.

Enter Spencer Hawkswell. He’s the CEO of a new Victoria based non-profit called TheraPsil. He helped co-found this venture with his friend and mentor Dr. Bruce Tobin, a psychotherapist. Together they’ve helped a small group of Canadians in their time of need, specifically end of life treatment.

In doing so they’ve given those individuals at this time a new medicine with which to work with, one that isn’t addictive and completely natural. The results have been life changing. They want to help all Canadians, but until Health Canada changes the law regarding the manufacture, production and use of psilocybin, their hands are largely tied.

Read more at Scout Magazine.

What to know about the booming psychedelics industry, where companies are racing to turn magic mushrooms and MDMA into approved medicines

The psychedelics space is booming.

Over the past year, startups focused on turning psychedelic compounds into approved medicines have raised hundreds of millions of dollars from private investors and dozens have gone public.

Research on compounds like psilocybin, the active compound found in magic mushrooms, and MDMA is resurfacing after years of neglect amid the war on drugs.

Here’s a look at the booming psychedelics industry:

VCs have deployed millions into psychedelics startups – here’s what they say will happen next

Venture-capital investors have been at the center of the psychedelics boom. In early 2020, startups in the space said they were beginning to see signs that investor appetite was growing.

Then, we saw a flurry of activity, which one industry exec called a “psychedelic renaissance.”

Soon, VC firms focused on psychedelics companies specifically began to emerge.

Read more at Business Insider via MSN.

Why some Mass. communities are moving to decriminalize psychedelics

As evidence of the medicinal value of psychedelics grows, advocates and legislators are pushing to decriminalize and eventually legalize these long-used natural substances.

Since February, Cambridge, Somerville, and Northampton have passed resolutions decriminalizing entheogenic plants, a family of natural sources containing certain psychoactive compounds. Examples include peyote (a species of cacti), psychedelic mushrooms (which contain the hallucinogen psilocybin), and ayahuasca.

Oakland, California, did it first: in 2019, the City Council passed a resolution effectively decriminalizing entheogenic plants. In 2020, Oregon voters passed a ballot measure giving the state health authority two years to develop a program where adults can purchase and consume psilocybin products under supervision at a service center.

Though in the U.S., these substances famously grew in popularity in the 1960s and 70s, indigenous cultures across the Americas have used them for remedial and spiritual purposes for hundreds of years.

Keep reading at Boston.com via MSN.

MAGIC MUSHROOMS could work as antidepressant, study finds

A psychedelic drug found in mushrooms could work as an antidepressant, new research shows.

Psilocybin, a compound that naturally occurs in some mushrooms, may be able to increase the long-lasting connections between neurons in the brain by 10 percent.

A research team from Yale University believes these connections can reduce the effects of depression on a person.

The study, which will be published in the journal Neuron on Monday, also found that the strength of neuron connections increases as well.

‘We not only saw a 10 percent increase in the number of neuronal connections, but also they were on average about 10 percent larger, so the connections were stronger as well,’ Alex Kwan, senior author of the study and associate professor of psychiatry and of neuroscience at Yale.

Keep reading at The Daily Mail UK.

Magic mushrooms, other psychedelics would be decriminalized in California under proposed legislation

California could become the second state to decriminalize magic mushrooms and other psychedelics.

SB 519, a bill that would decriminalize the possession and sharing of certain psychedelics by people 21 or older, is gaining momentum.

The measure has cleared the state Senate, and an Assembly hearing is set for Tuesday.

State Sen. Scott Wiener, D-San Francisco, who authored the bill, said research indicates that psychedelics help with mental health.

He also said it’s time to stop criminal-justice policies that target people of color.

“The racist war on drugs, which has fueled mass incarceration and torn apart communities — particularly communities of color — has not made us any safer,” Wiener said. “For 50 years, the war on drugs has not made us safer. We have incarcerated as many people as possible, and we have had no benefit.”

Read more at ABC7

What if Seattle decriminalized magic mushrooms? City Council wants to explore that

The Seattle City Council is asking a drug overdose and recovery panel to explore the potential liberalization of local policies on psychedelics like magic mushrooms, citing their potential for treating addiction and mental health conditions.

Seven council members Monday signed a letter to the Overdose Emergency and Innovative Recovery Task Force, which will launch soon in King County.

The panel led by Black Lives Matter Seattle-King County and VOCAL Washington plans to reconsider how governments and communities can reduce overdoses, racial inequities in drug-user health and criminal-legal system challenges, representatives say.

The task force will delve into questions related to psychedelic medicines, also known as entheogens, among many other topics, said Malika Lamont, program director for VOCAL-WA, an advocacy organization that focuses on the war on drugs, homelessness, mass incarceration and HIV/AIDS. Entheogens include substances like psilocybin, ayahuasca and ibogaine.

Read more at Seattle Times.

Why Is Ottawa Stalling Proven Magic Mushroom Therapy for the Dying?

For many, COVID-19 has made one day blur into the next and each month merge with another in a sameness that’s different from the pre-pandemic feeling of time passing.

But there are some who are never untethered from clocks and calendars as they confront something far more personally profound than even COVID-19.

They cope with terminal illness, and the existential grief and anxiety that comes with an end-of-life diagnosis.

Last year I wrote about what seemed to be enlightenment and compassion from the federal health minister. Patty Hajdu used her authority under Section 56 of Canada’s Controlled Drugs and Substances Act to grant legal access to psilocybin for terminal patients. In at least one case Hajdu gave the exemption to a woman with a crippling life-long mental illness.

Read the full story at thetyee.ca