Despite the growing number of studies showing that psilocybin, the active compound in magic mushrooms, can help with mental health issues like anxiety and depression, Health Canada still considers it a Schedule 2 drug, meaning that possession and cultivation is illegal. That is, unless you have an exemption from the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act (CDSA).Read more:

A Guide to the Magic Mushroom Scene in Calgary

But some psilocybin growers are staking their claim by selling mushroom spores. These spores don’t contain psilocybin and are therefore legal to possess under the CDSA. But they can’t be resold for cultivation. Buying and reselling the spores can be risky as they may lead to prosecution under Section 7.1 of the CDSA.

Harder, who runs a legal psilocybin-based psychedelic-assisted therapy program in Calgary, says he’s optimistic that changes will be made soon. He points to the growing number of reputable scientific institutions advocating for psilocybin’s reclassification and his own experience in using psychedelics for therapeutic purposes with clients nearing end-of-life.

And he’s not alone in his quest to bring a regulated mushroom market to Alberta. Several entrepreneurs in the space have launched online e-shops that sell psilocybin mushroom spores and cultivation kits. They also have partnered with the University of Calgary’s IMPACT clinical trial accelerator to help develop psilocybin-based therapies. But they’re not rushing to make their products mainstream. They’re hoping that by creating a regulated, safe and responsible market they can change public perception of the drugs.