It’s 2017, and legal weed is coming to Canada. It’s close enough that you might even have your first non-criminal session planned out. If you’re corny enough to imagine making history by sparking a joint on the steps of Parliament minutes after the paperwork is signed, it’s worth remembering you won’t be the first legal weed smoker.
Medical weed, and the right to grow it, has now been on the table for two decades, starting with an epileptic guy named Terrence Parker. After being charged with possession a bunch of times, Parker fought the government and won the right to be exempt from further growing and holding charges in 1997. An appeal court decided that exemption should apply to anyone growing for a medical purpose in 2000. Though regulations tried to outlaw homegrown medicinal bud again in 2013, that was struck down in court last year.
What we haven’t had in Canada (yet) is a legally-sanctioned medical shroom grower. With a wave of recent studies suggesting psychedelics are an effective treatment for depression, end-of-life anxiety, addiction and more, that prospect doesn’t seem as far fetched at it once did. As you can probably imagine, some fans are already looking at Canada’s path to medical weed, and applying the same arguments to magic mushrooms. Will that take another 20 years to grow your own? Or is the legal precedent already set?
Twenty-three-year-old Spencer Allison is on precisely this trip. He’s read much of the new research on psychedelic treatment for depression, as well as a few court decisions, and thinks it’s just a matter of time before he can grow his own medical mushies. Allison’s been bugging a bunch of bureaucrats at Health Canada for a new “section 56” exemption, just like Parker’s in ’97. So far, it’s not going so well.
Allison says he found the Parker case on Wikipedia, and went to the Ontario Court of Appeals site to get a summary of the arguments. “I went through that, hit Ctrl-F, and just started changing every mention of epilepsy to depression, and found anything that applied to marijuana also worked for LSD and other psychedelics.”
Read More: What Are the Medical Benefits of Psychedelics?
Allison thinks the very same argument will eventually force the government to let him legally grow at home. “I think it’s just a matter of when, more or less.” Given all the excitement (and caution) over psilocybin’s medicinal possibilities, I decided to call a few science and legal experts to find out if Allison’s optimism holds up to scrutiny.
When I called up Mark Haden of the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies, aka MAPS, he said weed and mushrooms are entirely different drugs, and their legalization will probably be super different, too. Haden recently put out a paper that laid out how he thinks psychedelics should be regulated in Canada, including a new agency of government-licensed trip sitters.
“The path to legalization of cannabis is completely different. The path to legalization of cannabis has been political,” he told VICE. According to Haden, because psychedelics don’t have the same widespread popularity that weed does, we’ll never see mushrooms on a ballot question in the states, or the right to micro-dose rolled into a major policy plank in Canada’s next election.
Read the full article at VICE