A Guide To Vancouver’s Magic Mushroom Dispensaries
As legislation permitting the use of plant medicines is passed in a growing number of jurisdictions, dispensaries selling mushrooms are quietly popping up in cities throughout North America, including in Oakland, Portland, and Toronto.
However, no city is home to more psilocybin dispensaries than Vancouver. This comes despite no legislation being passed to decriminalize psilocybin or plant medicines — yet eight different shops have opened since 2020.
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This likely doesn’t come as a surprise to residents of Vancouver, who may liken the current boom to the city’s illicit cannabis dispensary boom in 2014. The following year, it went on to become the first Canadian city to regulate the retail sale of cannabis. This was well before the implementation of federal legalization in 2018.
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Vancouver’s History Of Drug Policy Activism
Vancouver has been a center for drug policy activism for decades “on both sides,” says Dana Larsen, a long-time drug policy reform activist and the only mushroom dispensary owner contacted by Healing Maps for this story who agreed to go on record.
Today, Vancouver may be home to more progressive drug activism, but in the early 1920s, it was home to a months-long, racist anti-drug campaign triggered by the writings of Emily Murphy, a campaign that eventually led to legislation making penalties for drug possession more severe.
“In terms of [pro-drug] activism, the critical mass really started in the ‘90s,” says Larsen, who points out that at the time, “you couldn’t buy a bong or a pipe in Vancouver because police were raiding head shops.”
Local cops’ approach to cannabis would begin to shift (albeit slowly) after 2001. This is when medical cannabis access regulations were passed at the federal level. While some of the cannabis dispensaries to open during the boom of the 2010s were raided on occasion, the Vancouver Police Department came to recognize that going after dispensaries was not only unpopular with Vancouverites; it was expensive and ineffective.
“When there were over 100 shops in Vancouver, the police would say, ‘It costs us $30,000 to raid a cannabis dispensary. They open the next day, and the courts aren’t willing to do anything with them, so it’s not worth our time and money,’” he recalls.
Will Law Enforcement Raid Magic Mushroom Dispensaries?
Psilocybin mushrooms do still classify as a Schedule III substance in Canada. However, Larsen is confident that his shop, Medicinal Mushroom Dispensary, and the other seven stores that have opened in the last two years, will not be raided by the city’s local police force.
“I think they’re applying the same attitude to mushroom dispensaries that they did to cannabis. They know that if they come in and raid me, several things will happen: it’s going to cost them a lot of money, I’m going to get a lot of free publicity, we’ll re-open, and we might even go to court and create some kind of precedent,” he says. “There’s not a lot of motivation for them to act in that way, as long as there are no complaints from the community.”
Another factor possibly contributing to the lack of enforcement, says Larsen, is his shop’s proximity to the Downtown Eastside. That’s because it’s a neighborhood where other illicit drugs are openly bought and sold.
“It’s hard for cops to justify busting someone selling mushrooms two blocks away from people that are selling and using substances which may be more controversial or frightening to the average person.”
What’s Available At Vancouver’s Psilocybin Dispensaries
Customers visiting any one of Vancouver’s mushroom dispensaries can expect to find dried psilocybin mushrooms, microdosing capsules at varying doses, teas, chocolates, gummies, and even psilocybin-infused kombucha.
At Larsen’s Medicinal Mushroom Dispensary, customers can peruse a large selection of magic mushrooms varieties, microdosing options, and other psilocybin-based products. He goes a step further than other shops in the city, stocking other psychedelic drugs in an array of formats, including tabs of LSD, DMT vape pens, potted San Pedro cacti, and even synthetic mescaline.
“Mushrooms, LSD, and DMT are on the same schedule in Canada, so I thought why not offer them all?” says Larsen. “I don’t carry it right now, but I’d like to bring in MDMA and other substances as well.”
A café in Larsen’s dispensary offers another substance, though it’s not a psychedelic. At the Coca Leaf Café, customers can order from a menu of hot and cold drinks made from coca leaves. In South America, people use coca leaves as a stimulant. The leaf is also a main ingredient in the process of making cocaine. (Coca leaves contain less than one percent cocaine).
“People aren’t familiar with the word ‘coca,’” says Larsen. “Some people come in thinking it’s cocoa or chocolate. It’s good to be able to teach people about coca leaf, its uses through history, and how it can be made into a tea.”
Why People Are Visiting Vancouver’s Magic Mushroom Dispensaries
While Larsen says it’s hard to know for sure how many customers visiting Vancouver’s dispensaries are using psychedelics for therapeutic reasons, microdoses make up “a sizable portion” of sales at his East Hastings shop, “and no one is using those recreationally — those are for therapeutic use.”
“People have told me some really wonderful stories about how much microdosing has helped them with different ailments,” he says, noting that customers suffering from anxiety, depression, migraines, chronic pain, and even narcolepsy have reported benefits.
“If I had to guess, I’d say fifty percent or more people that come into access psychedelics in whatever form are seeking some kind of therapeutic benefit.”
The Vancouver Magic Mushroom Shop Map
Interested in visiting one of the city’s shops? Why not all eight?
We’ve plotted each of Vancouver’s magic mushroom dispensaries on a map traveling through the city, from East Vancouver, through downtown, to the city’s West End. The last shop, Mushroom Cuts, is just a block from the beach at English Bay — an excellent spot to try one of your newly acquired psilocybin chocolates.
1. Shroom House
2869 Commercial Drive (East Van)
The only mushroom dispensary located outside of the downtown area, Shroom House opened in 2020 and offers an array of psilocybin products, including capsules, gummies, teas, and of course dried mushrooms, as well as functional mushroom products and supplements.
Dana Larsen’s Medicinal Mushroom Dispensary and Coca Leaf Café boast the widest selection of psychedelic drugs of any Vancouver-based retail shop, carrying LSD, DMT, mescaline, and other drugs in different formats and potencies. Dried magic mushrooms and psilocybin microdose capsules are this store’s most popular products. The shop also houses an impressive collection of drug policy-related literature and art.
3. Truffle Health
26 E Cordova Street, Unit 108 (Gastown)
This cozy, boutique-style shop in the heart of Gastown specializes in functional mushrooms and offers a curated selection of products including supplements, shake and coffee mixes, and tinctures made with reishi, shiitake, cordyceps, and lion’s mane, as well as an assortment of psilocybin-based products.
4. Forest – The Mushroom Store
579 West Pender Street (Downtown)
This centrally located shop focuses on psilocybin products and offers a comfortable spot to sit, learn, and chat if you’re a customer with questions. Some functional mushroom products are also available at Forest.
5. Fungi Shop
925 Seymour Street (Downtown)
Like other stores in the city, Fungi Shop offers several varieties of psilocybin mushrooms to choose from in different quantities, formats, and doses. Tucked into a corner at Seymour near Smithe St, it’s a convenient spot for anyone looking to acquire some fungi before heading to a nearby concert. (The art at Fungi Shop is pretty cool, too.)
6. Zoomers Dispensary
1181 Granville Street (Downtown)
You can’t miss the bright yellow awning hanging over the doorway to Zoomers, located in the busy Granville entertainment district. With in-house nurses and a naturopath, this dispensary takes a medicinal approach and requires that all customers fill out an application before making a purchase.
7. Cybin Wellness Fungi Shop
499 Davie St (Yaletown)
The bright white walls of this Yaletown store might be giving Apple Store vibes, but don’t let that fool you: this store takes a naturopathic approach and carries several brands of microdosing products and different varieties of dried mushrooms.
8. Mushroom Cuts
1717 Davie St (West End)
Both a premium barber and a botanical mushroom house, this shop stands out from the crowd for its dual offerings. Pop in for a fresh fade and leave with a five-gram bag? Yes, please. Mushroom Cuts stocks microdosing products, chocolates, and several varieties of dried mushrooms.