Magic mushroom dispensary shops with catchy names like Fun Guyz or Shroomyz are popping up on the streets. They sell a wide variety of products that contain psilocybin, the hallucinogenic substance found in magic mushrooms. Unlike cannabis, magic mushroom sales are illegal in Canada. But these shops are banking on the public’s indifference to the drug, and their owners hope police have more pressing priorities.

Exploring the Magic Mushroom Dispensary Scene in Ottawa

The owner of The Golden Teacher dispensary on Bank Street, a 10-minute walk from Parliament Hill, says about 20 people stroll through on weekdays and 50 on weekends. Despite the fact that his shop is illegal, he says he hasn’t been raided or shut down by Ottawa police. He suspects the city is keeping its hands off these stores because it doesn’t want to get involved in a war of laws that could turn out as messy as the legal battles over marijuana in other cities.

A spokesman for the mayor said City Hall does not issue business licences to mushroom shops, but it is not stopping them from opening. He also emphasized that magic mushroom stores are not the same as cannabis stores, which City Hall has been trying to regulate for years. He said adding a bylaw that would permit the sale of mushrooms and psilocybin to the medicinal cannabis bylaw city council adopted in 2015 “would be a simple and elegant solution.” The bylaw would require sellers to be licensed and subjected to inspections, just as the City’s licensing system for cannabis does.