Green Councillors Propose Regulatory Framework for “Magic” Mushroom Dispensaries in Vancouver

With close to two dozen dispensaries across Vancouver and more on the way, Greens suggest it is time to regulate how these businesses operate in the City.

VANCOUVER, B.C. – Vancouver Greens Pete Fry and Adriane Carr are introducing a motion at City Council on April 10: Creating a regulatory framework for retail sales of psilocybin and entheogens in Vancouver.

The motion seeks to address the proliferation of unregulated and unlicensed mushroom dispensaries, and balance consumer interest with responsible operating rules and community. 

Mushroom dispensaries have been opening across Vancouver in recent years reflecting a growing interest in therapeutic and recreational  psychedelics, particularly among younger demographics, and as a substitute for more harmful substances.

Green City Councillor Pete Fry prepared the motion, asking staff to report back on a possible regulatory framework, drawing parallels to the approach taken with then-illegal cannabis in 2015, when Vancouver led the country creating the MMRU (Medical Marijiuana Related Use) framework for regulating cannabis retail sales, three years before federal legalization. 

The proposed framework is informed by principles of harm reduction and aims to ensure that these businesses operate safely and responsibly, notwithstanding their legal status as controlled substances. Vancouver’s cannabis regulations in 2015 defied Health Canada and the federal government of the day, but were supported by Council, Vancouver Coastal Health, and Vancouver Police as a common sense solution to widespread use and sale of marijuana. 

"Mushrooms and entheogens are classified as Schedule 3 drugs, and are not considered addictive nor do they pose a risk of overdose," said Councillor Fry. "Beyond their obvious growth in recreational use and appeal, emerging science suggests there are significant therapeutic benefits, and so far law enforcement has not targeted dispensaries for prosecution."

Under the Vancouver Charter, the issuance of a business license by the City does not imply compliance with federal or provincial laws. However, as the land use and licensing authority, the City has an obligation to regulate how businesses are run. This includes limiting visibility, access, and proximity to minors, as well as regulating signage and operating hours.

The proposed motion directs city staff to report back with a framework similar to the one implemented in 2015 for licensing cannabis shops. It also explores alternative considerations, such as ignoring the issue altogether or actively prohibiting retailers.

"People do drugs. We have a responsibility to keep people safe through harm reduction. Enabling access to mushrooms and entheogens as substitutes for more harmful drugs like alcohol, heroin, and cocaine can help reduce overdose deaths and mitigate risks for consumers buying from regulated shops rather than the internet or streets," concludes Fry. 

"I was on Council when the cannabis framework was created in 2015, and in part it was a response to the urgency of the toxic drug crisis that had claimed 138 lives in our city that year. In 2023, the death toll from toxic street drugs in Vancouver was 644." added Councillor Adriane Carr, "we need to do everything we can to stop the harm." 

The motion underscores the importance of regulating mushroom and entheogen dispensaries to ensure public safety while acknowledging the growing demand for access to these substances. The Green Party of Vancouver remains committed to evidence-based policies that prioritize harm reduction and community well-being.


Link to motion:


Entheogens are psychoactive substances that alter perception, mood or behaviour, for spiritual, therapeutic, and/or inspirational purposes. First termed by ethnobotanists and anthropologists in the late 20th century, entheogens have been used by indigenous peoples around the world for millennia, and are variously referred to as hallucinogens and psychedelics in scientific literature and popular vernacular respectively. Examples of naturally occurring (plant/fungi) entheogens include Auyahuasca, Cannabis, Psilocybin (aka magic mushrooms), Peyote, and Mescaline.