Canadian Lawmakers Have New Framework for Regulating Psilocybin


Exciting news for all of those interested in seeing Canada move forward with progressive initiatives to legalize and regulate psilocybin therapy for patients in the country. The Canadian Psychedelic Association (CPA) formally submitted a draft framework to Health Canada last Wednesday, which outlines their professional opinions on how psilocybin-assisted therapy should be regulated.

The draft is a 182-page-long document, called a “Memorandum of Regulatory Approval”, or “MORA”, draws from several different sources: the Canadian Cannabis Act, Canada’s Cannabis Regulations, Narcotic Control Regulations, the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act, the Cannabis Exemption to the Food and Drug Act, and the Food and Drug Regulations. Much inspiration was also taken from the successful ballot effort, Measure 109 – which famously won legalization for medical psilocybin in the state of Oregon.

There is also a letter attached to the document addressed to the Canadian Minister of Health, Patty Hajdu which provides an overview of the contents, and a summary of the CPA’s position of advocacy for the use of psychedelics in Canadian Health Care

Who is the Canadian Psychedelic Association

The Canadian Psychedelic Association is an organization that grew from a group of individuals active in the psychedelic community in Vancouver, as well as medical and therapeutic professionals who believe based on their own experiences and research in the healing power of psychedelics.

They officially became a Canadian non-profit organization in late 2019, and since that time have been dedicated to furthering advocacy for psychedelic medicine in Canada. We wanted to know a little bit more about who exactly is sitting on that board, and did some research. We’ve compiled profiles of the board members here:

Cory Firth, Executive Director
As a plant medicine advocate for 15 years, Cory is passionate about supporting the CPA in its efforts to advance the decriminalization and legalization movement in Canada. He joins the CPA in pursuit of expanding alliances with local, national and international partners with the intention to unite the psychedelic community nationwide and to nurture a foundation for safe, ethical and responsible use of plant medicines in Canada.

Ian Michael Hebert, Founding Member
Ian-Michael Hébert is a retreat center designer and psychotherapist. He holds a BA in design and development, and an MA in counseling psychology and community mental health. He had served on numerous non-profit boards, and worked for many institutions committed to the development of humanity’s potential.

Richard Kay, Founding Member
Co- Founder of The Sentinel Retreat & Wellness Centre. Founding member of The Canadian Psychedelic Association. Psychedelic Practitioner. Integration Coach. Producer of Psychedelic Practitioner Training. Richard is dedicating this 3rd chapter of his life to create avenues for people and communities to realize their full potential by using cutting edge procedures and technologies.

Dr. Pamela Kryskow, Founding Member
Dr. Pamela Kryskow is a medical doctor in Vancouver, British Columbia. Her training includes Family Medicine, Rural Emergency Medicine, Chronic pain, Functional Medicine and Ketamine Assisted Psychotherapy. She is currently working with colleagues on research related to Ketamine Assisted Psychotherapy, Psychedelic Microdosing, MDMA for Chronic Pain, Psilocybin, and Psychedelic therapy.

Gillian Maxwell, Founding Member
Based in British Columbia, Canada, Gillian brings her experience in harm reduction and drug policy reform, along with a wide and diverse network of colleagues and associates, who value her knowledge and wisdom. She co-founded the Canadian Drug Policy Coalition (CDPC), served on the board of directors of MAPS Canada for over 10 years, has spoken at conferences nationally and internationally. In 2012, Gillian received Queen Elizabeth II, Diamond Jubilee Medal, for community service in introducing harm reduction to Vancouver and successfully advocating for INSITE, North America’s first supervised injection site, that opened there in 2003
Trevor Millar, Founding Member
Trevor Millar is a social-entrepreneur who has played a role in advancing the psychedelic movement for nearly a decade. He has the unique perspective of having operated a business where he legally administered psychedelics to over 200 people within Canada, mostly for substance use disorder. He is a board member and co-founder of the Canadian Psychedelic Association and from 2018 to 2021 was on the board of directors for the Multidisciplinary Association of Psychedelic Studies (MAPS) Canada, where he acted as Chair of the Board for over two years.

Salimeh Tabrizi, Founding Member
Salimeh Tabrizi, M.Ed is a clinical counsellor, success coach, intuitive energy worker and plant medicine advocate who supports individuals in and out of ceremonies. As the founder of the Cannabis Hemp Conference and Expo, the largest and most comprehensive Cannabis conference in Canada, and a founding member of the Canadian Psychedelic Association, she is inspired by the co-evolutionary process between humans and Entheogenic plants such as Cannabis, Ayahuasca, Psilocybin and San Pedro. She feels grateful to be part of the collective as humanity faces a pivotal point of ascension and has a chance and choice to step into complete self-healing, empowerment and responsibility for Earth stewardship and protection.

Steve Rio, Board Member
Steve is a social impact entrepreneur, psychedelic guide, and musician based in British Columbia, Canada. Steve is Co-Founder and Founder of multiple ventures including Nature of Work, a work-wellness program, Humkala Institute, focused on retreats and research based on psychedelics, breathwork, meditation, and somatic modalities, and NOW with Steve Rio, a podcast that explores what it means to live a good life. Steve’s greatest hope is that all humans can realize their full potential in order to expand global consciousness, and transform the world.

Sonia Stringer, Board Member
Sonia Stringer is a business / life coach and professional speaker who has been involved in transformational work for over 25 years. She started her career working with peak performance expert Anthony Robbins, before launching a own coaching/training company that serves 500,000+ people around the world. Sonia has been a passionate advocate regarding the transformational use of psychedelics and plant medicines since 1998.

Jazmin Pirozek, Board Member
Jazmin Pirozek, HBA, MSc practices and teaches traditional and contemporary methods regarding the Boreal and Amazon forests plants. Currently, Jazmin is a consultant combining scientific and traditional methods, focussing on remediating chronic illnesses for the people of Northern Ontario, Canada. Jazmin has applied concepts of Nishnawbe Aski Nation Health Transformation perspectives in her work to combine Traditional and Contemporary Health practices to create better access to Integrative medicine for all.


What is the Canada Supports Alliance?

The Canada Supports Alliance was started by the CPA as a way to disclose all relevant stakeholders behind their association. It is, at its core, a group of likeminded companies who are working together to advance the interests of psychedelic medicine in Canada. Again, we were curious about who exactly these stakeholders were, so we investigated the subject and prepared dossiers on each of the companies for you to review:

Gwella describe themselves as “nature lovers with a passion for mushrooms, accessibility and creating.” They offer a small selection of legally derived nootropic mushroom products, and on their community page explain “our driving forces are intentional wellness and to ensure that anyone, outside of a clinical setting, who wishes to improve themselves through the incredible power of functional and psychedelic mushrooms, will be able to do so.”

Waves Pear Coaching is a service for those interested in learning plant medicine. Their About page explains, “After years of struggle with mental health symptoms, Peter was ready to try something different and attended his first psychedelic meetup in 2017. Following his transformative experiences with plant medicine, Peter became involved in the local Calgary psychedelic community helping to facilitate events…. He empowers people to see themselves in new ways and their problems from new perspectives, allowing them to release years of pain, and heal themselves.”

Wake Network “are focused on advancing the field of naturally derived psilocybin mushroom compounds and delivering them through genetics-based psychedelic therapies.” They are looking to be the first to bring a prescription psilocybin mushroom microdose product to market, with teams in Jamaica and Canada. They currently sell a collection of legally derived mushroom products on their site.

Nectara is an online community created to help people use psychedelic experiences to transform their lives. They offer masterclasses and have some free video resources on their website.

Mindcure is a software and technology company that provides clinicians and patients with a software tool that will help them to personalize and optimize their psychedelic therapy experience. Their software provides tools to aid in the therapeutic process as well as track and monitor relevant clinical data.

The Holos Foundation is a registered non-profit “dedicated to integrating psychedelic medicines into the heartland region of the country as they become legally available.” Their mission is is to raise awareness about the benefits of psychedelic medicines and to train psychotherapists to be ready to provide psychedelic assisted therapy in Northwest AR when it becomes legally available.

Field Trip are a team of seasoned medical professionals, therapists and business-people who are helping to bring psychedelic therapy into the modern world. They have facilities in Toronto, ON, New York, NY, and Los Angeles, CA which provide an alternative to traditional forms of psychotherapy for those looking for help. They are passionate about changing minds, improving mental wellbeing for all and creating a happier and healthier world.

The Sentinel is a retread in Kaslo, BC that exists to realize the full potential of humanity, creating a mindful world through cutting-edge transformative practices. They offer unique programs and diverse gathering spaces in a tranquil setting overlooking beautiful Kootenay Lake and the soaring Purcell Range. They attract visitors from every corner of the globe to our intimate workshops and retreats, as well as produce and curate virtual programming. We are constantly reviewing, and when necessary enhancing our protocols to secure the well-being of our visitors.

The Flying Sage is a community of psychedelic healers and educators in Vancouver using peer support to heal one another, strengthen connection and promote harm reduction. They offer tripsitting services and have some merch on their site as well.

The ATMA Journey Centre is devoted to a mission of helping deliver effective and innovative healing and transformative experiences that awaken the inner healer and allow for a deeper connection with self, with others and with the beauty of our world. They provide courses through which Canadian therapists and medical professionals can receive training so that they can assist their patients with psychedelic therapy.

Roots to Thrive is a team of leading psychotherapists, therapists and medical professionals. They provide an evidence-informed program aimed at activating our innate, individual and collective human capacity for resilience. The Roots to Thrive journey promotes the development of personal resources to buffer us from stress and improve our ability to thrive. With resilient roots we can access the inner resources necessary to self-actualize into our highest, most confident and authentic self. They help clients seeking ketamine-assisted therapy.

Entheotech describe themselves as a Psilocybin and Ketamine wellness company based in the Okanagan Valley. They offer Threshold & Microdose Therapy and Psychedelic Therapy Training. They also have a selection of different physiotherapy services offered, and specialise in interventional pain treatments.

Enfold Institute is an organization that “designs transformational experiences for you to heal, grow, and create a deep connection with yourself and source.” Beyond offering one-off experiences, they create transformational containers that bring together preparation exercises and reflection, retreats, breathwork, somatics, nourishing meals, meditation and mindfulness practices, and integration coaching.

Green Economy Law is a firm whose primary focus is providing green businesses and nonprofits services by legal professionals with specialized knowledge of how environmental concerns increasingly intersect with business operations in new forms like carbon pricing and ESG ratings. They offer a variety of pricing models from Hourly, to flat-rate, to subscription and could be a great choice if you run a green corp or a non-profit and are looking for ethically aligned counsel.

Segno “from the sign” Flow is a brand & movement aimed at promoting awareness of various tools & strategies to examine consciousness, including psychedelics. Although their website is still not active, and their Instagram and Facebook pages don’t seem to indicate they are actively selling anything yet, it looks like they plan to offer some kind of clinical psychedelic products in the future.

Psygen is a manufacturer of pharmaceutical-grade psychedelic drug products for clinical research and therapeutic applications. Psygen has applied to Health Canada for a corporate Dealer’s License which will allow them to manufacture, possess, sell, import, export and analyze psychedelic substances. The company is actively developing and constructing their 6000sq/ft lab capable of large-scale synthesis, formulation and distribution of the psychedelic compounds mentioned above. Psygen intends to be the leader in psychedelic supply chain solutions and is committed to supporting the research renaissance in the clinical treatment of a wide variety of mental health issues.

Cybin are on a mission to revolutionize mental healthcare. Their website says they are “dedicated to fundamentally changing the mental healthcare experience for those affected by mental illness, and their loved ones, through delivering powerful and effective new psychedelic-based therapies that are accessible to all. We believe that psychedelic therapies will be key to addressing the mental health crisis by transforming the treatment landscape.” They offer a variety of different therapeutic services for those in need, including programs to help support the underserved population.

Wayfound is a psychological clinic founded in 1999 and based in Calgary, AB. They are recognized experts in the field of first responder and general mental health. We have clinics across Canada and have developed a suite of proprietary products and interventions based on the experience we have gathered and research we have completed with our clients. They offer a variety of different clinical services, and are passionate about the growth in the psychedelic therapy space.

Calyx Law are a law firm specialized in the cannabis and psychedelics space. Their vision is to provide unparalleled legal guidance to businesses in the cannabis and psychedelics spaces, helping to generate value and growth through patents and intellectual property. They offer a wide variety of legal services to companies in this space, and are a passionate voice in the defense of the benefits of these substances.

What is the MORA All About?

The Memorandum of Regulatory Approval (or “MORA”,) is a long document which aims to provide Canadian lawmakers with a framework with which they can retool the existing laws around psychedelics (especially psilocybin) as a therapeutic drug (especially in palliative care and with end-of-life patients.)

Essentially, this is a reference tool that can be used by the Canadian government to help draft laws that will allow for medical professions and clinical practitioners in Canada to have access to psilocybin in the treatment of palliative patients – those with serious conditions who are close to end-of-life, where the priority is ensuring their happiness and comfort.

This is widely seen as the first step towards a more broad acceptance of psilocybin and other psychedelics in therapeutic care. Much the same way as cannabis was first accepted within the medical community and allowed to be prescribed and taken by those with a prescription, this could be the very first step towards getting legal shrooms into the hands of Canadians!

In the attached letter, the CPA explains that,

“The attached MORA provides for the legal, controlled use for medicinal purposes, under the supervision of an authorized medical professional, of both natural and synthetic psilocybin.”

They draw attention to the fact that Canadians are overwhelmingly supportive of allowing the use of psychedelics in therapy, citing that:

“82% of Canadians support allowing psilocybin-based treatment for people suffering from a terminal illness”

According to a survey conducted earlier this year with over 1,000 participants.

Noting the mental health crisis currently facing the nation in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic and the wealth of scientific and clinical research supporting the benefits of psychedelics, the CPA goes on to explain,

“Enacting the MORA framework attached will give Canadians and their doctors new tools to face this crisis head-on.”

They conclude by saying,

“We strongly wish to work with you and Health Canada in the timeliest way possible to enable appropriate legal access. By doing so, we are assuring Canadians their constitutional right to security of the person under Section 7 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. We will also get a new therapy into the hands of doctors and their patients in time to improve and save the lives of countless Canadians suffering from mental illness.”

The rest of the document is essentially providing a reference tool for lawmakers showing how similar legislation has been written in Oregon, and for the Cannabis Act.

Obviously this is only one small step in a long journey. What the Canadian government will do with this remains to be seen, but the fact that the gears are in motion is massively encouraging news to anyone interested in seeing psychedelics being taken more seriously in Canada!

What Does this Mean for Canadians?

So we’ve explained who the Canadian Psychedelic Association is, who comprises the Canada Supports Alliance, what the MORA is all about, but now for the million dollar question: what does all this mean for your average Canadian?

In the short-term: not much. I wouldn’t expect to be seeing psilocybin mushroom tea available at the pharmacy any time soon. It is highly likely that if (when) psilocybin is re-classified as a substance by Canadian lawmakers, it will not have all the restrictions lifted. What this MORA aims to provide instead is a new system to regulate the production, prescription and therapeutic use of psilocybin, in line with what has been done for cannabis in the past.

If Canadian lawmakers choose to work with the CPA (and it seems very likely that they will,) what this could mean is that Canadian healthcare workers and medical professionals will have the ability to use psilocybin therapy in their work, should they deem fit. It’s important to note that this bill is all about giving the freedom of choice to Canadian healthcare professionals to be able to use psilocybin in the treatment of palliative and end-of-life patients. We are still a long ways off from having psilocybin be readily available over-the-counter like we have now with cannabis, tobacco and alcohol.

However, this framework would represent a massive step in the right direction for Canadian lawmakers, and will make it much easier for health professionals in the country to continue exploring the healing power of psilocybin!

In the meantime, Shroom Bros will stay here to be your #1 trusted source on all things psilocybin – and your go-to shop to buy magic mushrooms online!

Magic Mushrooms and Canadian Law: Everything You Need to Know

Answered on this page:

  • When did magic mushrooms first appear in Canada?
  • When were magic mushrooms made illegal in Canada?
  • Are magic mushrooms illegal in Canada today?
  • How are magic mushroom laws enforced in Canada?
  • What does the future hold for magic mushrooms in Canadian law?

New research has Canadians increasingly interested in the potential medicinal benefits of magic mushrooms and their active ingredient, the hallucinogenic compound psilocybin. Recent studies indicate that taking magic mushrooms under the right conditions can produce positive personality changes, help treat addictions, and reduce (or even eliminate) symptoms of depression.

We know millions of Canadians are struggling with depression and addictions, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic, so what’s preventing more Canadians from taking advantage of the potential benefits of magic mushrooms? For many, it’s the relationship between magic mushrooms and Canadian law. 

The legal status of magic mushrooms in Canada is going through a period of intense change, but don’t worry if you’re having trouble keeping up – we’ve got you covered.

This article will explain everything you need to know about magic mushrooms and Canadian law. We’ll start with a primer on the history of magic mushroom laws in Canada, review the current legal status of magic mushrooms in Canadian law, then look into the future and try and predict how Canada will be regulating magic mushrooms in the years and decades to come.

Note: We have to put a disclaimer here and let you know that we’re not your lawyer and this article is not legal advice. If you need legal advice, get a lawyer.

A History of Magic Mushroom Laws in Canada

Very few Canadians had ever heard of magic mushrooms before 1957, when Life Magazine published an article called “Great Adventures III: Seeking the Magic Mushroom” by Robert Gordon Wasson, an amateur mycologist. 

In the article, Wasson described his experience travelling to Oaxaca, Mexico and taking magic mushrooms with Mexico’s indigenous people known as the Mazatec. He claimed to be “the first white man in recorded history to eat the divine mushrooms”.

The article served as a roadmap that would lead countless Canadians, Americans, and Europeans to Mexico in the 1960s, in pursuit of the same hallucinogenic and spiritual experiences that Wasson had described. 

After these tourists returned home, they began to recognize pasture mushrooms in the local environment that were similar to those they encountered in Mexico – as it turns out, mushrooms with hallucinogenic properties occur naturally on every continent of the world.

Magic mushrooms began to be used in Canada in the mid-1960s. The first criminal seizure of magic mushrooms took place in Vancouver in 1965, when RCMP officers confiscated psilocybin-containing liberty cap mushrooms from a group of students at the University of British Columbia.

Magic mushrooms continued to grow in popularity through the hippie movement in the late 1960s and early 1970s. Liberty cap mushrooms grew abundantly in the pastures, meadows, and fields of British Columbia, attracting thousands of pickers from across the country. 

Pickers would arrive in autumn when the mushrooms were in season, establishing tent cities around the most productive areas and often committing petty crimes like trespassing or property damage to access liberty caps growing on private land. Magic mushrooms were still technically legal in Canada, but the practices around accessing the mushrooms were often illegal or disruptive to the community.

While disruptive mushroom pickers may have created problems for local police, they may not have influenced the development of Canadian Law as much as a single document from the United Nations: the Convention on Psychotropic Substances, 1971. This was an International treaty where 71 states agreed to participate in a worldwide program to limit the availability of psychotropic substances to the general public and restrict the use of psychotropics to medicinal and scientific settings. 

The 1971 Convention listed psilocybin as a Schedule I drug, the most restrictive designation possible. Schedule I drugs were characterized as having a high potential for abuse and no known therapeutic value, a description that no longer seems to suit magic mushrooms. Ultimately, the convention on psychotropic substances influenced how Canada, as well as other countries, wrote laws to govern the use of psychotropics. In many cases, complying with the convention meant banning psychotropic substances like magic mushrooms entirely, often without complete knowledge of their effects – either positive or negative.

Predictably, magic mushrooms were prohibited in Canada in 1974, by their addition to the Food and Drug Act – sort of. In fact, the government of Canada added the compound Psilocybin to the Food and Drug Act – not the mushrooms themselves (this becomes important later). Between 1974 and 1979, approximately 350 individuals were convicted under the Food and Drug Act for possessing magic mushrooms.

Then, in 1979, the British Columbia Court of Appeals ruled that possession of magic mushrooms in their natural state (freshly picked and not dehydrated) did not constitute possession of psilocybin. For three years, between 1979 and 1982, magic mushrooms were completely legal in Canada and pickers rejoiced.

But their joy was short-lived, as a 1982 decision from the Canadian Supreme Court would overrule the B.C. Court of Appeals decision, stating that possession of magic mushrooms in their raw form did actually constitute possession of psilocybin. Magic mushrooms were illegal in Canada once again and would remain illegal for decades to follow.

Magic Mushrooms in Canada: What Does the Law Say Today?

Magic mushrooms are still under prohibition in Canada, although recent legislative changes indicate that this could change in the near future. Still, our review of magic mushrooms and Canadian law would be incomplete without a thorough analysis of how mushrooms and psilocybin are regulated in Canada today. 

Here’s everything you need to know.

Magic Mushrooms are Regulated Under the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act

Magic mushrooms are not explicitly mentioned in the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act (CDSA). However, Psilocybin, the active ingredient in mushrooms, belongs to the list of Schedule III controlled substances which includes other recognized psychotropics, such as:

  • Methylphenidate (Ritalin/Concerta, used to treat ADHD)
  • Lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD)
  • Mescaline (Hallucinogenic, occurs naturally in Peyote cactus)
  • Dimethyltryptamine (DMT, a hallucinogenic compound produced by the human brain and associated with dreaming)

Possession of magic mushrooms in their natural state is still considered to constitute possession of psilocybin. The CDSA even states that any reference it makes to a controlled substance also includes a reference to any substance containing the controlled substance. 

Thus, all of the laws which apply to Schedule III controlled substances may be applied to psilocybin itself or to magic mushrooms in any form that contain psilocybin

Possession of Magic Mushrooms is Regulated in Canada

The CDSA prohibits anyone in Canada from possessing psilocybin or magic mushrooms except as authorized under Canadian law. Medical practitioners such as doctors, lawyers, or veterinarians, may be authorized under the regulations to prescribe psilocybin treatments to their patients. 

Patients seeking a prescription for magic mushrooms from a practitioner are required by law to disclose any other acquisitions of drugs in Schedule I, II, III, or IV, along with any prescriptions received for such substances in the past 30 days.

Selling of Magic Mushrooms is Regulated in Canada

The CDSA prohibits anyone from possessing magic mushrooms for the purpose of trafficking them to others.

Importing/Exporting Magic Mushrooms is Regulated in Canada

The CDSA prohibits anyone from importing or exporting magic mushrooms except as authorized under Canadian regulations.

Growing Magic Mushrooms is Regulated in Canada

The CDSA prohibits anyone from producing magic mushrooms in Canada.

How Are Magic Mushroom Laws Enforced in Canada?

The general trend in Canada is that enforcement of drug crimes is declining. The number of yearly arrests for drug-related offences has dramatically dropped by 30% in the last 5 years, as documented by Statistics Canada.

  • In 2015, police arrested 99,827 Canadians for drug-related offences.
  • In 2016, police made a total of 95,417 arrests in Canada for drug-related offences, 46% of which were for cannabis possession.
  • In 2017, the total number of arrests fell to 90,625 and just 42% were for cannabis possession.
  • In 2018, the total number of arrests fell again, this time to 84.927, driven in part by the legalization of cannabis in October same year. Still, cannabis-related offences accounted for 43% of all arrests.
  • In 2019, Canadian police made just 70,140 drug-related arrests and just 24% were related to cannabis.

And where were magic mushrooms in all this? Well, the Vancouver City Council recently voted to strike down a motion to crack down on magic mushroom vendors. We can also look to the emergence of new Psychedelics companies such as Numinus – the first Canadian company legally harvesting magic mushrooms.

There are many other promising developments in these areas, and arrests for possession rarely result in any major penalties for those with clean criminal records.

As a result of these considerations, the courts tend to show leniency to first-time offenders with a clear record, especially in cases of simple possession where the penalty for a first-offence is sometimes just a fine of $250-500.

Magic Mushrooms and Canadian Law: Indications of a Bright Future

Historically, the courts haven’t always agreed on whether magic mushrooms should be illegal in Canada. 

What’s also clear is that the Canadian lawmakers who pushed for prohibition were unaware of the medicinal benefits of psilocybin that have been uncovered by modern research into psychedelic substances. 

But now that those benefits are coming to the surface, we’re seeing our government and our courts change their stance on magic mushrooms. Just like when cannabis was legalized, we’re starting to see “soft changes” in how magic mushrooms are regulated that could ultimately lead to decriminalization and more widespread usage in the future. 

Below, we highlight some of the critical milestones that have been reached in the past five years for the legal status of magic mushrooms in Canada.

Magic Mushrooms are Openly Sold Online

Despite their questionable legal status, magic mushrooms are openly sold online in Canada. Digital dispensaries sell a variety of shroom products to Canadians over 19 years of age, with or without a medical prescription. The authorities know about these dispensaries but have chosen to focus their limited resources on criminal activities involving more harmful drugs.

Vancouver City Council Killed Motion to Crack Down on Psilocybin Sales

The lack of political will to prosecute Canadians for magic mushrooms has never been more clearly evident than it was on September 11th, 2019, in a meeting of the Vancouver city council.

This was when Councillor Melissa De Genova filed a motion with the title: “Deterring and Preventing the Distribution and Sale of Psilocybin Mushrooms and/or Other Illicit or Controlled Drugs Unlawfully Sold in the City of Vancouver”.

Breaking the fourth wall here for a moment, I can honestly say that I have never witnessed any occurrence of a government body who introduced a motion on whether or not it should enforce the de facto laws of the land. Why should politicians need to file a motion that mandates police to do their job? Aren’t the police already mandated to do their job?

The truth is that the police are too busy dealing with the impacts of hard drugs like opioids to bother chasing people around for magic mushrooms, especially now that they’ve been associated with positive health benefits for so many people. 

In any case, other councillors characterized the motion as “anti-drug hysteria” and it was defeated in a 6-2 vote.

Magic Mushroom Growing Kits and Spores are Legal

While the practice of cultivating magic mushrooms is technically illegal, magic mushroom spores and growing kits may be purchased in Canada, both in stores and online. It is not explicitly legal to purchase these kits, but nowhere is it prohibited and the kits themselves do not contain any psilocybin. 

It may be illegal under 7.1(1) of the CDSA to sell mushroom growing kits, as they will be used to produce a controlled substance, however, the sale of mushroom kits is a common and generally tolerated practice.

Magic Mushrooms Approved for Palliative Patients

In April of 2020, four Canadians in palliative care with terminal illnesses petitioned the Canadian Health Ministry for a legal exemption that would allow them to use magic mushrooms to relieve the depression and anxiety associated with dying. 

On August 4th, it was revealed that their request had been granted and they would be the first four people to legally use magic mushrooms in Canada since the Supreme Court decision of 1982, a period of 28 years. Since then, at least 7 other legal exemptions have been awarded for psilocybin use, including at least 1 exemption for a non-palliative case.

Ministry of Health Supports Research into Psychotropics

At the beginning of this article, we talked about some of the research that has uncovered new benefits of magic mushrooms that were previously not known. 

The promising results obtained in these studies have led Health Canada to hand out more legal exemptions to health professionals who wish to conduct research and develop therapies involving psilocybin. 

In December 2020, Health Canada granted 16 exemptions to a selection of social workers and medical professionals. This gave them permission to possess and use psilocybin themselves, without the risk of legal consequences, for the purpose of developing new treatment protocols for patients.

Growing Magic Mushrooms Could Soon Be Legal for Medicinal Purposes

In the year 2000, the Ontario Court of Appeals determined that Canada’s anti-cannabis laws were unconstitutional because they did not provide an exemption for medical use. 

This, the court said, violated the individual’s right to “life, liberty, and security of the person” as outlined in Section 7 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

The legal precedent established here is essentially that the government shouldn’t prohibit a private citizen from being prescribed a medicine that can improve their quality of life. This designation might not have applied to magic mushrooms six or seven years ago, but with the new research and developments we’re seeing, it sure seems to apply today. 

If precedent holds, it could mean that Canadians have a constitutional right to access medicinal psilocybin or even to grow it for personal use.

Magic Mushrooms and Canadian Law: What’s Next?

It appears that magical mushrooms are on the same path to legality that cannabis started on in 2001.

While magic mushrooms are still technically illegal, individuals are rarely prosecuted for simple possession and penalties for first-time offenders usually consist of a fine that costs less than a traffic ticket.

The general trend of drug enforcement is on the decline and government bodies like the Vancouver City Council have voted not to ramp up enforcement activities against psilocybin dispensaries, both online and in the city.

It’s also important to look at what’s happening across the border. Magic mushrooms are still illegal the federal level in the United States, but simple possession has already been decriminalized in places like:

  • Ann Arbor, Michigan,
  • Denver, Colorado,
  • Oakland, California,
  • Santa Cruz, California,
  • Washington, D.C
  • Oregon

Magic mushrooms will be legal for use in supervised clinical settings in Oregon as of February, 2021.

In the future, we expect to see more legal exemptions for magic mushroom usage, both for medical professionals who wish to conduct studies and develop treatments and for private individuals who wish to enjoy the health benefits of psilocybin. 

More research is now being conducted into the health benefits of magic mushrooms than at any other time in our history. We believe this research will only yield additional evidence of the health benefits of magic mushrooms. As this body of evidence continues to grow, Canadians who claim the constitutional right to access medical psilocybin will start having their voices heard.

If all of the above holds true, the question isn’t “if” magic mushrooms will be legal in Canada one day – but “when?” and “how?”.

One path to legality involves the Federal government choosing to remove psilocybin from the list of Schedule III substances. This could depend very much on how Canadians vote: while Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has stated that he won’t consider decriminalizing drugs besides cannabis while he is in office, NDP leader Jagmeet Singh has publicly stated his intention to decriminalize all illegal drugs if elected. 

The other path is a successful constitutional challenge, alleging that Canadians have the right to grow and possess magic mushrooms for medical purposes. If we collectively assert our rights to life, liberty, and security of the person, our government should recognize that access to beneficial medicine, including psilocybin, is protected under the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

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