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NEWS: Magic mushroom dispensary opens on Bloor (Apr. 2024)

May 7th, 2024 · No Comments

Shroomyz chain store faces police raid and vandalism

By Ammara Khan

A Shroomyz mushroom dispensary recently opened at 497 Bloor St. W., replacing a nail salon. Since its opening, Shroomyz has experienced a police raid, a staff arrest, as well as significant vandalism. Despite these challenges, it continues to conduct business. 

The Shroomyz Annex location is not difficult to spot. The store’s exterior displays bright and colorful posters of mushrooms asking customers to “walk into a new reality.” The exterior is now partially covered by large wooden panels due to the recent vandalism. 

The interior reflects the colors of the exterior with graffiti-style art and screens depicting the different products sold. Some of the products, such as magic mushroom-infused gummies and chocolate bars, are displayed on glass shelves. 

In order to enter, customers must wait for an employee to buzz them in, and when purchasing the products, customers are asked to sign a waiver stating they understand the risks. In the waiver, Shroomyz also recommends that the product be used in microdoses to treat individual conditions and not used when engaging with “potentially hazardous activities.”

Individuals using magic mushrooms may experience hallucinations or altered states of consciousness, according to the Government of Canada’s website about controlled and illegal drugs; however, the effects will vary from person to person, the site says. 

Simultaneously, the government of Canada is investing nearly $3 million in studying the possible benefits of magic mushrooms when used as part of psychotherapy. Results show they do have therapeutic benefits when paired with psychotherapy, however more research needs to be conducted.  

An employee at the Annex location, who identified as Super, says the products are popular among customers of various ages. Some who do not have access to a diagnosis for mental health issues use the products to self medicate. 

Super spends his free time at the Shroomyz checkout counter reading the New York Times bestseller How to Change Your Mind: What the New Science of Psychedelics Teaches Us about Consciousness, Dying, Addiction, Depression, and Transcendence. He is an advocate for, and consumer of, magic mushrooms. 

Super shares his own experiences with the more therapeutic effects of magic mushrooms. 

“The way that I think mushrooms work their magic is that they do dissolve your ego a little bit,” he said. “There’s a little more recognition of yourself as part or something. I think it’s that sort of connection, this idea of unity, this feeling of togetherness, the feeling that we are the same.”

“The feeling of connection feels amazing,” he continued. “It’s great to feel connected.” He explains that the best moments in our lives are the ones where we feel deep connections, even when we are on our own. That is how he describes the feeling of microdosing magic mushrooms.

While the store appears to be functioning, there are some concerns about its legality. 

 On March 5, witnesses saw a Toronto Police raid at the Shroomyz Annex location and arrested the store manager. Despite the raid, the store was able to reopen only two to three days later, and the manager was moved to a different location. 

The Controlled Drugs and Substances Act states that obtaining, possessing, and trafficking (selling) controlled substances can be punishable by law unless authorized by Health Canada. The products sold by Shroomyz are controlled substances. Psilocybin is listed as a Schedule III drug under the legislation, hence the police raid.

“Magic mushrooms just generally refers to psilocybin-containing mushrooms. And there’s over 200 known identified species, like different genetic variations of mushrooms that contain psilocybin found all over the world. And we sell 13 of them that are professionally grown and dried,” shared Super. 

In a comment made to the National Post on Aug. 31, the Toronto Public Service stated that “in terms of priorities, enforcement by TPS is largely focused on the trafficking of illegal drugs that are resulting in overdose deaths and having a traumatic and devastating impact on our communities.”

 Despite the questions surrounding the legality of the business, neighbouring stores have nothing bad to say about Shroomyz. 

Howard Pressburger is the manager at the hardware store Wiener’s, across the street from Shroomyz. He has been living in the Annex for 20 years. Pressburger calls Wiener’s the “unofficial hub of what happens in the neighborhood” due to being around for over 100 years. It appears the arrival of the store has brought both curiosity and an overall shrug from passersby.

Pressburger reported that aside from noticing a new store opening, none of Wiener’s customers have anything to say about the store. 

He encourages pushing for more research on the use of mushrooms. He put money into an ETF (exchange-traded fund) that dealt with using hallucinogenic drugs in the medical field. “I mean, they exist, they’ve got a storefront, they’ve got signs up, they operate like any other regular ritual store of the strip. So I think the stigma just comes with what they’re selling. I think there’s a lot of preconceived prejudices towards that,” said Pressburger. 

He also reflected that the community has not changed after the addition of Shroomyz to the neighborhood, “I don’t see them as being detrimental or more positive or, you know, they’re just like anybody else who’s selling stuff.” 

Despite the storefront appearing to be well received by Annex locals, vandals brought hammers to the windows of both the Bloor and Queen location on April 5 without committing any theft.  

Spokespeople for Shroomyz, authorized to speak to the media, were not responsive when asked to comment on the article. Toronto Police also did not reply to requests for comment.

Tags: Annex · News