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Oregon and the Real Start to the Shrooms Market

Shrooms market
Written by Sarah Friedman

This isn’t the first time we’ve seen it happen, and we’ll probably see it a lot more soon. Though it might not be legal to do so, stores are popping up in different places, openly selling magic mushrooms. This might not be a part of any regulated plan, but it certainly signals the real start of the shrooms market.

Where are magic mushrooms legal?

Outside of America, there are a few places like Jamaica, Bahamas, and Brazil which allow the legal use of psilocybin mushrooms. On the North American continent, magic mushrooms are federally illegal throughout, though stipulations in Mexican law say its okay to use mushrooms found in nature that are for a religious or spiritual purpose. None of this means that a shrooms market isn’t popping up though.

If you follow along, you already know that magic mushrooms aren’t 100% illegal anymore in North America, what with different states and cities in the US passing legalization and decriminalization measures. A growing number of individual locations have decriminalization policies including California locations like San Francisco, Oakland, Santa Cruz, and Arcata; Denver, Colorado; in Michigan: Ann Arbor, Washtenaw County, and Detroit; Washington, DC; In Massachusetts: Somerville, Cambridge, Northampton, and Easthampton; and Seattle, Washington.

On top of that, two states have legalization measures, though they differ in what they allow. Oregon voted in psilocybin mushrooms in a ballot measure in 2020. Measure 109 passed with 55.75% of the vote, and came with very little information. So little, that until the first set of draft rules were released in May of this year, some thought it was a medical legalization. In reality, it’s not quite either.


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It only allows for mushroom use in designated facilities under the eye of a non-medical tripsitter, and even disallows use of any mushroom which isn’t Psilocybe cubensis. The state made no use laws outside of this, so though the mushrooms are decriminalized in small amounts, they aren’t technically legal for use outside of the rigid system. And certainly not for sale.

Colorado, on the other hand, also just passed a ballot measure at this year’s election. Called the Decriminalization and Regulated Access Program for Certain Psychedelic Plants and Fungi Initiative (Proposition 122), it legalizes the possession and use of some entheogenic plants, including DMT, psilocybin, and mescaline (non-Peyote, which is technically already legal through a loophole and religious allowance). It also seeks to establish natural medicine treatment centers, but doesn’t disallow use of the plants outside of these areas. In this way, Colorado has a much more expansive psychedelics legalization than Oregon.

In neither legal state, or in any decriminalized location, is it legal to just open shop and sell mushrooms though. Which makes the increasing presence of shops which do this, possibly a signal of what’s to come: a pretty big shrooms market that intends to exist with or without the backing of legislation. This is true now of Canada too, where the same thing is found.

A real shrooms market in Oregon?

Though Oregon legalized magic mushrooms under limited circumstances, it did nothing to open an actual sales market, and such activities are still deemed illegal. However, that hasn’t stopped at least one shop in Oregon, from putting the fungi up for sale. The move landed the operator in hot water, with a raid on the morning of December 8th. The raid came several days after reports of its existence came out in the press, which led to long lines down the block to access the store.

Shroom House, an herbal products seller, started selling magic mushrooms at some earlier time. Apparently the owner of said shop copped to doing exactly this after an employee of his called the press about possible illegal sales of mushrooms from the store.

As per the usual, the little attention-desirer who broke code to rat on their boss, wasn’t afraid to put themselves out there. The employee is Kace Colwell, and in the words of this person to KOIN 6, “I was led to believe by management at Shroom House that this was the first medically licensed and sanctioned place to buy psychedelics in the state of Oregon. They’re breaking all sorts of laws over there.” They went on to say:

“They’re straight up just lying to people about the most basic facts about their store, about the shrooms being sanctioned. So I don’t know what else they’re willing to lie about.” I find the statement odd, as buyers didn’t report being sold anything under false pretenses at all. It sounds like this former employee was confused about many things.

According to publication Willamette Week, in order to get the mushrooms, each buyer must fill out an application as well as present two IDs. Ages are verified and all buyers must be 21 or above. The application consists of questions about anxiety, depression, and other aspects of mental health. It’s a short application process, and mushrooms can be procured within minutes of handing it in.

According to the application, “The Society Board will consider your application at which time it will be rejected or accepted.” Once deemed fit for service, a buyer can choose from an array of psilocybin mushrooms, including Penis Envy, Albino Golden Teacher, and Liberty Caps.

Magic mushrooms
Magic mushrooms

It’s hard to say what will happen to this shop, or how many other similar enterprises exist, (which if they’re smart, won’t hire employees that pull such nonsense). If the growth of literally any other industry is an indication, and with such a huge number of illegal dispensaries, its safe to say that mushrooms are being sold outright in many places. And despite an arrest, things should only expand, even if not for this particular location.

It had been reported that regulators were aware of the location over a week ago, and the slow response time could be an indication of reticence about doing anything, possibly because of how many of these places exist. It might have been the increased popularity and long lines, which did urge them to act. I expect it will end up like the cannabinoid industry, with regulators unable to do much about it. Maybe an ‘example’ was set, but how many times can this be done when store after store pops up? The government used to raid medical cannabis dispensaries, remember.

Shrooms market in Florida?

Where else did this happen in the US? Florida! Florida actually tried to legalize magic mushrooms for medical use a few years ago, but the bill didn’t go through. It seems some in the state are set on the industry moving forward nonetheless. Namely Carlos Hermida, and his Chillum Mushroom and Hemp Dispensary in the Ybor City area of Tampa, Florida. The catch? They aren’t regular magic mushrooms with psilocybin.

So what is in them? Good question, and not one that Hermida answered directly, except to say that the compound does make a person trip, while not being the standard compounds of mushrooms. Hermida likened the situation to the current one that exists across the country with delta-8 THC. Though Hermida used this analogy as a way to push the legality of his own mushrooms, it comes with the issue that delta-8 isn’t technically legal, just not something that regulators have the power to go after.

In reality, the guy is actually just selling amanita mushrooms, which are legal; and passing them off as psilocybin mushrooms. Amanita muscaria mushrooms contain no psilocybin or psilocin, and instead cause effects through muscimol, which is not a psychedelic compound. In fact, rather then serotonin, its main mode of effect is on the neurotransmitter GABA, which creates a relaxing experience rather than a stimulant experience. Though they offer plenty of great effects including hallucinations, amanita mushrooms are wildly different, and all they have in common with psilocybin mushrooms, is being fungi.

Meaning regardless that what the guy is doing is legal, he’s still lying, by trying to pass off amanita mushrooms as psychedelic mushrooms. Right now his site is down so its hard to know what’s going on. Weirdly, its the image of amanita mushrooms that comes up most when looking up ‘psychedelic mushrooms’; and though we all know the image of the polka-dot shroom (like on the cover of this article), its most definitely an amanita mushroom, and not a psilocybin one.

New: Amanita Muscaria Mushroom Gummies

The shrooms market in Canada

Canada also has its share of illegal mushroom sellers, with stories going back to early this year. In spring of 2022 there were several reports of illegal mushroom operators out of both Vancouver and in Ottawa, Ontario. The Ottawa reports came out around The Golden Teacher magic mushroom shop, where owner Jordan Armstrong is a strong advocate for legal mushroom usage. I did not find a site for Golden Teacher, and cannot verify if its still open.

At the time of the write-up in April, its said Armstrong had been selling the mushrooms since the end of the previous year. Since that time, another shop, Shroomyz, also opened up in Ottawa selling magic mushrooms, and by the looks of its site, things are up and running. The second location of the dispensary, which opened in Toronto in September, was raided in November, but city officials said they have no intention to close the dispensary. Which makes for an odd discrepancy. Like there’s an idea to instill fear, but with nothing behind it, as the raid was clearly not enough to close it.

Shrooms medicinal market
Shrooms medicinal market

Likewise. It was reported in March of this year that Vancouver was home to several such shops. At the time of the reporting, at least four new mushroom selling venues were in operation. And without attempting to hide what they’re doing, with The Medicinal Mushroom Dispensary owner Dan Larsen saying, “I was heavily involved in the cannabis movement in Vancouver and across Canada and I see psychedelics and mushrooms in particular as the next step in that process.”

He went on, “We kind of operate in this grey area and I hope to change that grey area to lighter and lighter shades of grey, and hopefully in the next few years, we see a change in the laws around psilocybin mushrooms.” Larsen peddles both microdose amount as well as full doses, the latter of which requires filling out a medical form. By the looks of the site, everything is operational.

At the time of the reports, it was said law enforcement acknowledged the businesses, saying those who break laws can face criminal penalties. But then actually went on to admit that there are bigger issues to deal with. A sentiment backed up by the dispensaries still running. With very few issues.

Conclusion

Perhaps the biggest lesson here, is that law enforcement is hesitant to go after industries that are growing in popularity and acceptance. We see this thankfully with the cannabis industry as well, highlighted by the cannabinoid market that seems it’ll stay around as long as it feels like; which is likely till a full legalization makes products available. What does this mean about what we can expect moving forward? A whole bunch of magic mushroom dispensaries operating outright, regardless of regulation.

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About the author

Sarah Friedman

I look stuff up and and write stuff down, in order to make sense of the world around. And I travel a lot too.

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