Mushroom dispensary Ottawa uncovers the positive effects of psilocybin, shops selling the hallucinogenic mushroom are popping up across Canada. In Toronto, shops with names like Fun Guyz and Shroom City display paintings of rainbow shiitake on their storefronts and welcome customers to “walk into a new reality.” The store in Kitchener that opened on Friday was greeted by a handful of people eager to purchase mushrooms and other products containing the drug.

The shop is not illegal, but it does not have a business licence from the city and operates in an entirely grey area. The owners could face fines and arrest if the city were to shut them down.

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However, a police spokesperson said going after these stores is a low priority. “We have more significant fish to fry,” she said, referring to the opioid crisis that has caused more than 140 overdose deaths in Ottawa this year alone. “Even so, enforcement is largely focused on the trafficking of illegal drugs that are causing overdoses, having a traumatic and devastating impact on our communities.”

A lawyer who specializes in drug law says that’s not surprising. Eugene Oscapella says police have discretion over what to pursue and may have better uses for their resources. But he acknowledges that if there are complaints or reports of illegal activity — such as noise violations or links to organized crime — that might be a different story.

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