For Alison Myrden, who lives with multiple sclerosis, the early July police raid on Hamilton’s Mushroom Cabinet meant a massive and almost immediate deterioration in her quality of life.
The 59-year-old Burlington resident says she relied on the East End shop in Hamilton, which sells various strains of psilocybin mushrooms, as the best medicine she’s found to manage the debilitating nerve pain she constantly experiences in her face and neck. whole body. head.
“I want people to know that this works for even the most excruciating pain known to medicine,” Myrden said, describing a condition called trigeminal neuralgia. “I can get relief in six minutes [but] I’m always chasing this pain.”
A former corrections officer and longtime drug legalization advocate, she contacted CBC Hamilton after police raided the Mushroom Cabinet, on Main Street East, a few blocks east of Kenilworth Avenue, on July 6. . On the same day, police also raided the newly opened Shroomyz, on King Street East near Gage Avenue South. Police said at the time that they seized more than $70,000 worth of merchandise and “an amount” of cash from the two stores.
They also arrested two people, charging a 25-year-old Hamilton woman and a 44-year-old Brantford man with possession of psilocybin for the purpose of trafficking and possessing the proceeds of crime. The Brantford man was also charged with trafficking.
It was the second bust of the Mushroom Cabinet, which appeared to reopen shortly after its previous bust, after its opening in December. At the time, police said two people were arrested.
Both businesses are now open
When CBC Hamilton visited Tuesday, both businesses were open again. Shroomyz staff said they were unaware of a raid when they were hired earlier this week. A Mushroom Cabinet employee, also hired after the raid, said business hasn’t changed much in the past two weeks. CBC Hamilton left messages for the owners of both stores and is awaiting a response.
CBC Hamilton has sent numerous interview requests to Hamilton police, beginning May 26, asking for the opportunity to discuss the enforcement strategy regarding Cabinet Mushroom. After initially agreeing to schedule an interview, police have not responded to our requests about this file since May 31.
University of Toronto drug policy expert Akwasi Owusu-Bempah told CBC Hamilton, in a previous interview, that the continued reopening of these stores is aimed at boosting drug policy. Similar stores have opened in other Canadian cities, including Montreal, London, and Winnipeg.
“These acts of civil disobedience force governments to act, whether it’s to decide to enforce or to act faster on what they’re going to do on regulation,” said Owusu-Bempah, a sociologist working on civil disobedience research. psilocybin with the Multidisciplinary Association. for psychedelic studies (MAPS) Canada. He is also a consultant for the mushroom firm. red light netherlands.
“The idea that you can walk into a bar, or walk into a store, and buy alcohol but you can’t buy psychedelics goes against what science tells us. Alcohol is a much more harmful drug than psilocybin, both to the individual and society…Enforcing outdated, unjust and unscientific drug laws is not what our police should be doing.”
‘I macrodose, I don’t microdose’
Psilocybin mushrooms, also known as magic mushrooms, are illegal under the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act. However, there are ways Canadians can legally use them: by participating in a clinical trial, applying for a exemption under the Canadian Controlled Drugs and Substances Act or apply to Health Canada’s special access programthat require both a doctor’s recommendation and government approval.
Health Canada said, in an email sent Thursday: “At this time, there are no therapeutic products containing psilocybin (or magic mushrooms) licensed in Canada or anywhere else. That means no manufacturer, distributor or importer has requested Health Canada (or any other health authority anywhere in the world) to have their products evaluated for quality, safety, and efficacy in treating a specific condition.”
Myrden says her doctor has cleared her to use up to 50 grams per day; She usually drinks five grams of tea and eats five grams of mushrooms in each serving.
“I macrodose, not microdose,” she said, noting that she takes the substance so often that it doesn’t make her feel as high as a recreational user would. “I am nothing but a pain-free, happy, fully dedicated life.”
Myrden, one of Canada’s first legal users of medical marijuana, is currently applying to Health Canada’s Special Access Program to be legally allowed to use psilocybin.
She says she’d like to see psilocybin legalized to make it easier for researchers to study its health effects, which Owusu-Bempah says is challenging in the current regulatory environment. Myrden also noted that the ban increases the cost of his drug and that it could be made more affordable if it were widely available.
“People have to know that this exists and that we have options,” he said. “I don’t want to live my life solely depending on pharmaceuticals.”