Canada Shrooms and the Supreme Court of Canada

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In the 1970’s parts of British Columbia – particularly Haida Gwaii – became well known for canada shrooms large numbers of Liberty Cap mushrooms (Psilocybe cubensis). As a result, each autumn saw itinerant mushroom pickers descend on areas like Masset and other communities to gather the popular psychedelic. This seasonal influx led to problems with local residents and the emergence of what were sometimes called “mushroom wars.” In 1979 the B.C. Court of Appeals ruled that possession of the mushrooms in their natural state does not constitute possession of the restricted drug psilocybin and the Court of Appeal decision was upheld by the Supreme Court of Canada.

Psychedelics have been illegal in Canada since late 1974, but the government has given some terminally ill patients exemptions to use the drugs as part of a therapeutic treatment for end-of-life anxiety. These are granted through Health Canada’s section 56 exemption and special access program. A non-profit group is helping some terminally ill people obtain these exemptions, but their numbers are small and the process remains unclear.

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TheraPsil president Bruce Tobin says he has had four cancer patients approved for the exemption but that more than a hundred requests are still outstanding. He says he plans to ask Health Canada for a judicial review of the application process and if he can’t get an answer from Health Canada he will go all the way to the Supreme Court.

Tobin is unsure how long it will be before the government decides to crack down on dispensaries. He says he’s confident a constitutional challenge to the prohibition of canada shrooms will succeed if someone gets busted.

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