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'We're trailblazers': Magic mushroom advocates aim to pave path towards legalization

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The lawyer that represents some staff at FunGuyz, a magic mushroom dispensary with locations across Ontario including Cambridge, says they’re planning to make a big move next week in hopes of getting closer to legalization.

The Cambridge dispensary was raided by Waterloo regional police on Tuesday and reopened to the public a day later. Product was seized and a 20-year-old was arrested and charged.

“We're trailblazers who are making things better,” said lawyer Paul Lewin. “We are going to be bringing a constitutional challenge to the psilocybin prohibition.”

Lewin said they’re going to be lobbying the government next week, arguing not legalizing psilocybin is a breach of freedom of thought.

“Really we have nothing without our thoughts. It is the most personal and critical of all our rights,” he said. “And this freedom of thought protects all types of thought.”

Lewin said it’s a fight they’re ready for.

“We're battling old drug war hysteria prejudices,” Lewin said.

Lewin said Canada has been here before as a nation, comparing the current climate around psilocybin to cannabis in the lead up to its legalization in 2018.

He said there’s a big difference this time though.

“It's 2023 not 1999. We know the drug war is a failure. It's stupid and it does much more harm than good,” he said.

Waterloo regional police lock up the FunGuyz magic mushroom store in Cambridge, Ont. after a raid and arrest on Nov. 14, 2023. (Jeff Pickel/CTV Kitchener)

Lewin predicts psilocybin could be legal in about a year.

In a statement to CTV News, Health Canada confirmed there are no plans to legalize or decriminalize psilocybin products. But there are ways to access it through Health Canada’s Special Access Program or through clinical trials.

“There's ongoing phase one, two and three clinical trials, looking at psilocybin for things like depression, anxiety, and even to treat substance use disorders like alcohol or opioid use disorders,” said Mike Beazely, with the School of Pharmacy at the University of Waterloo.

Inside the FunGuyz magic mushroom dispensary in Cambridge, Ont. on Nov. 15, 2023. (Heather Senoran/CTV Kitchener)

But like many drugs, there are risks when consuming psychedelics like magic mushrooms, including paranoia, nausea and vomiting.

“There's some slight increases in heart rate, blood pressure in some cases, but it's physiologically not a very harmful drug,” said Beazely.

Inside the FunGuyz magic mushroom dispensary in Cambridge, Ont. on Nov. 15, 2023. (Heather Senoran/CTV Kitchener)

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