The shrooms canada pickers of Haida Gwaii are out in force this autumn, scouring the forests for their precious bounty. But for the first time in decades they don’t fear the risk of arrest, unlike in the past when mushrooms containing the psychoactive substances psilocybin and psilocin were considered illegal. Hundreds of people in that era would descend on productive Liberty Cap mushroom fields for fun and profit. Conflicts over trespassing, property damage and adverse reactions to the drugs ingested by pickers arose, along with squatter communities in areas known for their fungi.
Now, as psychedelic medicine experiences a renaissance, some are calling for the drug’s legalization and regulated distribution similar to what happened with cannabis in Canada. But that’s a complicated proposition, given that psilocybin itself remains illegal under federal law, and only exists in a legal “grey zone” as Health Canada grants s. 56 exemptions to people near the end of life and therapists are trained to guide them through therapeutic trips.
Shrooms in the North: A Journey into the World of Psychedelic Mushrooms in Canada
Despite these legal precedents, the sale of magic mushrooms for recreational use and microdosing (low-dose self-medication) is surging online. In addition, some dispensaries are popping up in cities across the country, including one Vancouver business that received extensive media attention when it opened in the summer of 2023. Psilocybin spores are also being sold openly, though it isn’t clear whether this reflects a gap in the law. The Controlled Substances Act defines a “spore” as anything that can be used in the reproduction of a prohibited substance, and the wording would seem to include mushrooms and their extracts.