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Vancouver, known for its lax drug enforcement and marijuana culture, is now contemplating regulating magic mushrooms and other psychedelic drugs.

Councillors Pete Fry and Adrian Carr have submitted a motion to city council to create a regulatory framework for the retail sales of psilocybin and similar substances in the city.

The motion highlights the rapid increase in unlicensed and unregulated shops selling magic mushrooms and other entheogens in recent years. Despite these drugs being classified as controlled substances, there has been little to no prosecution or conviction of their retailers. 

Additionally, there are currently no specific business license regulations governing their sale or display in Vancouver. 

Entheogens, psychoactive substances used for spiritual, therapeutic, and inspirational purposes, have a long history of use by Indigenous peoples worldwide, argued the councillors. 

Examples include cannabis, psilocybin (magic mushrooms), peyote, and kratom. These substances are gaining popularity among Vancouverites, with recreational use doubling in the last three years.

The councillors argued that because psychedelics like psilocybin are generally considered safer than opioids and are not known to cause physical dependencies or risk of overdose, the sale of the substances doesn’t pose a significant threat. 

Despite being designated as controlled substances under Canada’s Controlled Drugs and Substances Act, mushroom dispensaries have proliferated across Canada, including in Vancouver. 

Many retailers operate online and these days Canadians can simply order magic mushrooms and other hallucinogens with the click of a button. 

The pair said that the city should explore licensing, zoning, and development policies to ensure the safe and responsible sale of these substances.

City Council is also considering alternative approaches, including ignoring the issue altogether or actively prohibiting entheogenic retailers.

The consumption and possession of drugs in British Columbia was decriminalized in 2022 after the British Columbia government requested a Criminal Code exemption from Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.