Canadian Dispensary Owner Ventures Into Psilocybin Microdoses

The unexpected story of the Medicinal Mushroom Dispensary

Psilocybin mushrooms in the wild.
John Shortland/Creative Commons
By Tobias Carroll / September 21, 2019 7:15 am

As more and more regions legalize marijuana, astute observers might briefly pause to wonder what currently illicit substance might be next to be decriminalized. You could do worse than to place your bets on psilocybin mushrooms, which seem to be following weed’s lead in a number of places around the world. The city of Denver voted earlier this year to decriminalize it, for instance, and the phenomenon of microdosing has increased support for it as a legitimate way to address depression and other behavioral issues. 

At DoubleBlind, Miro Tomoski explored the case of Dana Larsen, who operates a cannabis dispensary in Vancouver. Tomoski describes Larsen as “a fixture in Vancouver’s cannabis scene.” Larsen once edited the magazine Cannabis Culture and co-founded the Vancouver Seed Bank. He’s also run for office on both the national and local level — and that, Tomoski writes, is what’s paved the way for this new initiative.

Years of activism on behalf of that community has involved breaking the law to sell cannabis in dispensaries, publicly emphasizing its medicinal value, and challenging the federal ban on its use and possession in court — and the same could happen for psilocybin.

Larsen recently founded the Medicinal Mushroom Dispensary, a website where one can purchase microdose-sized quantities of psilocybin. A warning on the site makes it clear that this is a geographically-restricted service: “This website is for Canadians only.” But what makes it more interesting is that, despite the fact that what Larsen is doing falls into a legal grey area, no one seems particularly interested in stopping him. Larsen believes that law enforcement cracking down on his business could lead to a court case which might lead to the broader legalization of psilocybin.

“In the coming months,” Tomoski writes, “Larsen intends to open a safe consumption space, where patients who require higher doses can be treated in a therapeutic setting.” It’s an interesting model to watch, both for legal and therapeutic reasons.

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