Police seize $10K worth of magic mushrooms from Winnipeg dispensary

Winnipeg police say they seized $10,000 worth of psilocybin and found evidence of trafficking when they raided a business that called itself Manitoba’s first magic mushroom dispensary, as well as a home on Waterfront Drive, last week.

“Although I believe there is merit to decriminalization and I support that initiative, we need to be clear that decriminalization and drug trafficking are not one and the same,” Insp. Elton Hall of the organized crime unit said at a news conference Thursday.

“This is not a grey market. This is, by definition, the black market.”

Winnipeg police organized crime and drug enforcement officers arrested two people when they raided Magic Mush on Friday.

The 37-year-old man and 37-year-old woman are believed to be involved in the operation of Magic Mush, police said in a news release that provided more information Thursday.

The man and woman each face two charges of trafficking in a scheduled substance (psilocybin) and charges of possessing a scheduled substance for the purpose of trafficking (psilocybin) and possession of proceeds of property obtained by crime over $5,000. They were released with conditions.

A black package labeled Magic Mush is held up in front of a busy intersection.
This is one of the products that were sold at Magic Mush on Osborne Street in Winnipeg, which was raided last week. Insp. Elton Hall of the organized crime unit alleges the owners sold the one strain of psilocybin for various prices by marketing it as different strains. (Prabhjot Singh Lotey/CBC)

Magic Mush officially launched its Winnipeg store in Osborne Village on May 13. Magic Mush stores previously opened in Ottawa and Toronto.

Magic mushrooms typically contain psilocybin or psilocin, hallucinogens classified as Schedule III substances under the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act. The production, sale and possession of magic mushrooms is illegal in Canada, but some exemptions are made for people living with mental health disorders to legally use psilocybin through a health-care provider.

Officers searched the Osborne Village store, a home on Waterfront Drive between Bannatyne and Galt avenues and a vehicle believed to be involved in the business dealings on Friday, police said.

Police found 39 13-gram bags of mushrooms, 260 grams of loose psilocybin, mushroom edibles and other drug paraphernalia during their searches. The drugs are worth roughly $10,000, police said.

Hall said police believe the accused got psilocybin in bulk from another province.

He said four boxes were shipped to the address on Waterfront Drive before police searched the residence, and another one was intercepted and is being searched today.

Hall said customers may have been misled about the products they were buying.

Psilocybin bought in bulk by the business owners was being sold as different strains with different effects, but it was the same, “ultimately deceiving customers,” Hall alleged.

“The highest price for psilocybin was $125, the lowest price was $50, and again, this is for a single strain,” Hall said.

Hall said there were also some concerns about cleanliness in the store.

He said the drugs were being packaged on the floor, next to a garbage bin that was overflowing with refuse, including building materials.

Two black pouches of magic mushrooms are displayed on a counter inside a magic mushroom dispensary.
Dried magic mushrooms were sold in this packaging at the Magic Mush location in Winnipeg. Police allege the mushrooms were packed in unsanitary conditions and labelled inaccurately as different strains. (Josh Crabb/CBC )

“There was nowhere to wash hands before, during or after packaging psilocybin. There was no evidence that gloves were used, and no hand cleaner was located. I would describe the location as being very unsanitary,” he said.

Winnipeg-based lawyer Jamie Kagan, a partner at Thompson Dorfman Sweatman who’s representing the Ontario-based owners of the business, previously told CBC News the owners knew they were taking a risk in opening the Osborne Village store.