Businesses in Vancouver have been raided by the police for selling magic mushrooms. Police conducted seizures and may recommend criminal charges.

Owners of the affected businesses have stated that they have been operating their businesses for several years without issue and that some of their business licences have been renewed several times. This raises the question: are mushrooms legal in Canada? This blog will examine the legal status of magic mushrooms in Canada.


What are “Magic Mushrooms”?

“Psilocybin mushrooms”, commonly known as “magic mushrooms”, “psychedelic mushrooms”, or simply “shrooms”, are fungi that contain the hallucinogenic compound psilocybin and psilocin. Magic mushrooms are often eaten (raw or cooked). They are also ground into powder and mixed with liquid or swallowed in capsule form.

Magic mushrooms are being researched for potential therapeutic use for the treatment of mental health disorders, such as anxiety, depression, obsessive-compulsive disorder, trauma and problematic substance use. Its mechanisms and efficacy are not yet fully understood. Clinical trials are ongoing.

Ingesting magic mushrooms can induce visual, auditory, or tactile hallucinations. However, the experience may also involve adverse effects like anxiety, fear, nausea, muscle twitches, elevated heart rate, and increased blood pressure; the consumption of magic mushrooms may also trigger unsettling episodes referred to as “bad trips”.


What is the Legal Status of “Magic Mushrooms” in Canada?

Simply put: the production, sale, and possession of magic mushrooms are illegal in Canada.

The law in BC permits individuals to possess small quantities of opiates, MDMA, cocaine and methamphetamine because of an exemption from the federal Minister of Health; however, psilocybin (the active ingredient in magic mushrooms) was not included in the exemption. This means that it is a criminal offence to possess magic mushrooms in any amount across Canada.


Are There Any Exceptions?

While Canada has not approved any psilocybin products for sale, there are three ways to access magic mushrooms legally:

  1. clinical trials;
  2. the Special Access Program; and
  3. an exemption from the Minister of Health.

Clinical trials allow persons to participate in ongoing research on the effects of psilocybin for scientific purposes. Psilocybin is legally provided as part of the trial.

Healthcare professionals can request access to psilocybin on behalf of a patient through a Health Canada’s Special Access Program. Individuals who are not healthcare professionals are not permitted to make a request.

Individuals may request an exemption from the Minister of Health. Requests are evaluated based on factors including:

  • clinical trial availability;
  • the relevant medical condition;
  • existing scientific evidence;
  • consideration of conventional therapies;
  • healthcare practitioner support;
  • adherence to public health and safety objectives;
  • compliance with applicable federal, provincial, and municipal laws; and
  • the evaluation of risks.

Previous blog on House Arrest



The sale, production, and possession of magic mushrooms are illegal in Canada. There are very limited exceptions as part of clinical trials, the Special Access Program, or an individual exemption from the Minister of Health. If you have been charged or are being investigated with an offence involving magic mushrooms or any drug, contact the experienced lawyers at Filkow Law for legal assistance.