While Oregon voters did approve a law that allows for therapeutic use of psilocybin in a clinical setting, it did not legalize retail sales.
PORTLAND, Ore. — The line to enter Shroom House in downtown Portland extended around the block on Friday, following news that the store was selling psychedelic mushrooms to customers.
Willamette Week and The Oregonian reported on the West Burnside supplement shop Thursday afternoon. In both cases, store staff made no secret of the fact that they were selling mushrooms containing psilocybin, although the process required that customers give identification and register with the company.
In fact, the shop has been open about psilocybin sales since before it opened. In August, when signs around the shop still said “coming soon,” psilocybin appeared about halfway down a list of mushrooms that Shroom House advertised for sale.
In 2020, Oregon voters approved two revolutionary measures related to drug legalization: Measure 110, which decriminalized user amounts of narcotics, and Measure 109, which legalized the use of psilocybin in a regulated therapeutic, clinical setting.
Neither of those laws made the retail sale of psilocybin legal.
At the same time, it’s not clear that anyone cares to harsh Shroom House’s vibe. When asked for comment, the Portland Police Bureau referred the media to the Oregon Health Authority, which is in charge of the state’s legal psilocybin program.
“I can only say that the Narcotics and Organized Crime unit is aware of the allegations being made online and in numerous news stories about this location,” Sgt. Kevin Allen said in a brief statement. “The nature of NOC’s work requires them to be cautious about what they release publicly, so I can’t say more than the fact that they’re aware of it.”
Allen said that he did not expect there to be any new developments Friday.
But this isn’t Shroom House’s first rodeo. A store in Vancouver, British Columbia, shares the same name and logo. It’s been around since late 2021 or early 2022.
Retail psilocybin sales aren’t any more legal in Canada, but police in Vancouver, BC acknowledged earlier this year that busting these mushroom dispensaries simply isn’t high on their list of priorities.
If the company’s Twitter account is any indication, they aren’t exactly afraid of the news coverage either — they retweeted two accounts that shared the Oregonian and Willamette Week stories.
There’s also a Canada-based Shroom House website that purports to sell mushrooms via delivery, but the site includes a disclaimer that it has “no relevance” to retail shops in the U.S. or Canada.
“We do not operate out of any retail units, we are solely online and have no other stores elsewhere,” the site states.
Research suggests psilocybin, administered responsibly, may help address depression, anxiety, trauma and addiction.
Even though Oregon passed the law for legal administration of psilocybin in 2020, the clinics that are expected to do this kind of therapy have yet to open. The program has been gradually making its way through an extensive administrative and regulatory process before that happens.
Health leaders and stakeholders have until the end of the year to finalize these plans, which means the first clinics won’t open until next year at the earliest. A the same time, a number of cities and counties have pushed for bans on psilocybin services — and many of those bans passed in November.
Under Measure 109, psilocybin could only be legally used by people 21 and older in a controlled facility under the supervision of a licensed professional, so people wouldn’t be able to purchase it and take it home.