In November 2020, Oregonians supported a bill to legalize psilocybin in a public referendum. A law providing for the establishment of a non-profit psilocybin and psilocin distribution system in the state formally went into effect at the beginning of the year, as a result, special clinics and cultivator clubs began to appear throughout the state. However, according to local media, a month ago, the first "official" adult psilocybin mushroom retailer opened in Portland.
Despite the fact that almost a year has passed since the official start of the reform, the state authorities have not taken up the organization of the proposed market system, therefore, so far, existing enterprises are in the gray zone of regional and national laws. Shroom House differs from them in the fact that it retails mushrooms of its own production, although, technically, this type of activity is prohibited by state law. The establishment remained hidden from the press and officials for quite some time, until recently, when one of its former employees filed a complaint with regulators that his former employer was, in fact, engaged in illegal business.
“Shroom House management misled me about the nature of the establishment, tricking me into engaging in an illegal commercial activity involving the distribution of psychoactive mushrooms. Until recently, it seemed to me that the institution had permission for this type of activity, holding a special license, however, as it turned out, it is completely illegal, ”says former employee of the store, Case Colwell, in an interview with a local TV channel.
With all the accusations from Colwell, it is worth noting that in fact, the institution operates as a closed club by invitation, and not an open store, the services of which can be used by any person. In order to become a member of this club, potential members are required to verify their identity and age, and complete a series of forms designed to establish the medical causal use of psilocybin. At the same time, a journalist from the local newspaper Willamette Week, in his article about the institution, noted that the process of obtaining a Shroom House membership card took no more than 5 minutes.
“The institution's products are intended solely for personal medical use. Use them responsibly and with care and do not share them with other people,” reads a warning on one of the forms filled out to gain access to the establishment. The store itself provides customers with a variety of psilocybin mushroom varieties, such as Knobby Tops, Penis Envy and Albino Golden Teacher, which can be purchased in different servings, from 7 grams to microdoses. According to the Willamette Week material, the purchase of 7 grams of varietal mushrooms in an institution costs, on average, 85-95 dollars.
At the moment, both regulators and representatives of the Ministry of Health of the region paid attention to the store, who also noted the technical illegality of the institution's activities, however, without taking any noticeable measures to close it. The attention in the media, on the contrary, seems to have only increased the popularity of the institution, in front of which queues have now begun to form.
“I understand that this place is sort of an illegal store and that mushrooms can’t be bought at all under the laws, but it doesn’t look like the police are trying to shut it down,” says visitor Cassie Cadance, who, in her own words, waited in line for about an hour before filling out all the forms and ending up in front of the counter.
“I have always been a supporter of the legalization of psilocybin, so I do not think that this institution is doing something criminal. Didn't we ourselves admit that psilocybin is a cure last year? In any case, I am glad that I was lucky enough to become, in a way, a part of the history of the state. After all, what if the store is still closed due to the lack of an official license?”
Representatives of public organizations also expressed concern about the work of the institution, noting that its activities could set the wrong precedent for the development of the state market, which, according to the plans of politicians, should be built on a completely non-profit basis.
“No matter how you look at it, this shop is in gross violation of all the rules of the passed law, which is quite clear that psilocybin should not be dispensed on a commercial basis,” says the head of the Healing Advocacy Foundation, Sam Chapman.
"While we have nothing against psilocybin or psilocin itself, we believe that the risk of commercialization of the market could subsequently harm the operation of the system, potentially making such products unaffordable to individuals who do not have the funds to purchase them."