Trudeau says feds may look to provinces on enforcement around Magic Mushrooms after Winnipeg shop raided
Posted May 24, 2023 5:08 pm.
Last Updated May 24, 2023 6:34 pm.
A Magic Mushroom dispensary in Winnipeg’s Osborne Village has remained shuttered since it was raided by police last week.
While visiting the city, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau commented and it appears the feds will looking to the provinces to set regulations for hallucinogenic mushrooms.
“One of the most challenging parts, but one of the best parts of being a federation is that on a whole bunch of things, different provinces have different approaches,” said Trudeau.
“Just think of drinking age, which is different from one province to the next, between 18 and 19, think of the way they choose to regulate and run their healthcare systems. There is always going to be a certain amount of variety on many issues across the country and that allows the provincial governments to respond to local priorities and local needs.”
Last week, attorney Jamie Kagan, who represents the Ontario-based business, known in Winnipeg as Magic Mush, said there needs to be a consistent approach to enforcement of the substance, pointing to how shops selling the drugs in Toronto, Vancouver and Ottawa, for the most part, have been left alone.
“All we’re asking for is the same opportunities that people in Vancouver and Toronto have, which is if people feel this is a benefit to them, then why not,” said Jamie Kagan. “What we’re trying to do is say to, especially the politicians and the liberal party across Canada, that enough is enough. We’re adults. Treat us like adults.”
The Magic Mush storefront was raided late last week. Organized Crime investigators from the WPS, arrested two on drug trafficking charges and saying the dispensaries are not welcome in Winnipeg.
In response to Prime Minister Trudeau’s remarks, a statement from Manitoba Justice said the sale of magic mushrooms in Canada is illegal and questions about enforcement should be directed to police, but said the “Criminal Code is the exclusive jurisdiction of the federal government.”
“We have to be just very cautious about opening the floodgates,” said Lynda Balneaves, professor at the University of Manitoba’s College of Nursing and a registered nurse who has been researching the use of psychedelics for medicinal purposes, including magic mushrooms.
She says while there is evidence the drugs have real therapeutic value, more work needs to be done before they are fully available to the public, stressing consistency is critical.
“There needs to be some federal direction in terms of are we going to decriminalise this, are we going to legalize it? Is this only going to be accessible through a medical release program. To me, it’s really challenging when you have differs across the country,” said Balneaves.
She also worries full public access coming too quickly would result in the tobacco and alcohol industry trying to capitalise on the recreational market, with medicinal providers taking a backseat. The professor says more resources need to be dedicated to researching the drug and its effects.
“This is still going to be a very lengthy journey. I think the biggest issue for us right now is gaining enough research to truly understand what the therapeutic applications are of things like Psilocybin, the potential side-effects and contraindications and then how best to produce it in a safe and responsible manner in this country.”